YLI 25 Celebrates 102 Policy Wins and 86,000 Youth Served

Our History

Dear YLI Community,

Thank you so much for joining us at our gala YLI 25 on September 22, 2016 to celebrate our 25 years of youth leading and creating social change. This was our biggest fundraiser in the organization’s history with over $125,000 raised, and I am deeply humbled that all of you have chosen to invest in our youth leaders. Nearly 300 of you joined us for the celebration, including 90 youth who traveled from as far away as Fresno. We gathered in the beautiful SOMArts building, a building dedicated to community organizations and cultural production in San Francisco. Thank you to these youth who showcased their strategies for making social change. Youth led stations about youth adult partnerships, community research and assessment methods, coalition efforts to pass policies, and envisioning a community that invests in youth.

Youth led a live research project at the event, interviewing guests about youth engagement in their communities. I’m excited to release some of the results of the youth-led participatory action research that was conducted at our event:

  • 84% of our guests are members of organizations that provide opportunities for youth to serve in leadership roles.
  • 72% of respondents think young people should be engaged as equal partners when developing policies for issues that affect them.
  • The word cloud below shows the social issues that matter most for the attendees of YLI 25:


At our gala, I was honored to share the stage with the phenomenal youth leaders, Yvette Flores and Michelle Gonzalez. Michelle, the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ rising Youth Philanthropist of the Year, shared with us:
“I am motivated to give to my community because I have seen the issues first hand. I know that especially where I live, in the Mission in San Francisco, young people don’t have as much support as they could use to thrive. Youth need to be leaders in our communities. Youth have the ideas that impact the most change.”

– Michelle Gonzalez, Youth Philanthropist of San Francisco’s BLING program

Michelle powerfully shares the magic of our work: we partner with young people in their own communities, to be able to stay in their communities, and to be part of building the communities they want to see. And thanks to you, we launched YLI’s Youth Fund with $42,000 that will go directly to our youth so they can develop the campaigns they feel most passionate about. 🎉THANK YOU🎉!

And now for more fun! Check out our YLI 25 Photo Album for more photos of the event and especially more hilarity from our YLI 25 photobooth.
YLI Founder Maureen Sedonaen with YLI CEO Jonathan Marker
Again, it was great to see so many of you at YLI 25. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have further thoughts on how to support the work of our youth, or questions about how to get involved.

Thank you for all that you do.

In community,

Jon Marker
Youth Leadership Institute








YLI 25 Photoboothyli-7-of-127-1




















Check out more photos in the YLI 25 Photo Album and especially our YLI 25 photobooth!