~Ananda (Don Fisher Keystone The Crew)
Last week, youth grantmakers in YLI’s Building Leaders in Innovative New Giving (B.L.I.N.G.) program hosted their Spring Grantee Kickoff, celebrating with great fanfare the 13 youth projects that received funding. Altogether, they distributed $65,000 to address a multitude of social justice issues that effect youth in San Francisco, such as sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, homelessness, and more. A list of funded projects can be found below.
Standing before a packed room of youth from across the city, grantees received giant checks and had a chance to talk about the issues they care about, and how their projects will address these issues. “Everyone here has noticed the homeless crisis but most of the time we just walk by…we don’t really realize the suffering that is happening to these people,” said William of Off Forecast. “The point of our documentary is to bring light to the suffering, the real stories and human sense to the lives that these people live.”
The grant process begins with a call for proposals that reaches youth, parents/caretakers, educators, and youth programs across San Francisco. With the support of an adult ally, youth groups develop a proposal and budget for a project that they hope to implement with the requested funds.
Proposals undergo a rigorous review process – one that provides support and mentorship for applicants along the way. Applicants can take advantage of an early-bird deadline to receive feedback before final submission. Top candidates are then invited for an interview to make a case for their projects. A key criteria for successful grant applications is that projects demonstrate youth leadership from conception to implementation. For Amadeos and his team at MyPath Advocates & Innovators, that meant adjusting their project to center youth decision-making: “Now, young people are going to be able to facilitate more, they’re going to be in the planning of our projects.”
Punctuated by laughter and applause, the Kickoff served not only to celebrate the youths’ visionary projects. According to Amadeos, the evening represented an important way for blossoming youth leaders to share their ideas, network, and support each other’s work: “Thank you for the opportunity for us to be here amidst so many different organizations that are making changes in our community.”
SPACE 4 US
This youth-led project addresses “Economic Inequality” by creating a workshop for underprivileged youth in San Francisco that provides access to cultural capital and professionals that will aid them in career exploration. Through their project they hope to provide equal opportunities for career exploration in low-income communities.
Sponsored by: Stonestown Family YMCA
DRAGON BOAT – Youth Leadership Council
This youth-led project addresses “Economic Inequality” by subsidizing costs for youth who want to participate in the amazing sport, Dragon Boat. Through their project they hope to raise awareness for their sport, eliminate economic burdens for low-income youth, and build community.
Sponsored by: The California Dragon Boat Association
VOTER PRE-REGISTRATION – San Francisco Youth Commission
This youth-led project addresses “Ageism & Voting” by conducting pre-registration events for youth, 16-17 years of age, throughout San Francisco. Through their project they hope to increase youth voice in the political realm and promote more accurate representation in our nation’s government.
Sponsored by: Coleman Advocates for Youth
JUSTICE POP-UP SHOP – Youth Advisory Board
This youth-led project addresses a multitude of social justice issues such as “Sexism, Racism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Ageism,” and more by creating and selling original merchandise such as clothing, stickers, and posters that have meaningful messages touching on social justice issues. Through their project they hope to increase youth art expression in addition to creating safer spaces for discussing the societal dangers youth face everyday.
Sponsored by: Youth Art Exchange/Tides Center
CITY CYPHERS – The DJ Project
This youth-led project addresses “Art & Activism” by hosting an open mic and cypher series for youth in the mission, where youth will perform pieces on their experiences. Through their project they hope to increase youth access to artistic and cultural spaces specifically related to music.
Sponsored by: Horizons Unlimited, Inc.
YOUTH YOU-NITY – Youth Advisory Council
This youth-led project addresses “Artivism & Culture” by hosting a pop-up shop that provides local San Francisco youth artists an opportunity to promote and sell their artistic creations. Through their project they hope to increase marginalized SF communities’ access to art expression.
Sponsored by: Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach
TEACHING UNDERSTANDING AND REPRESENTING ARABS THROUGH HISTORY (T.U.R.A.T.H) – AYO! (Arab Youth Organizing)
This youth-led project addresses “Racism and Economic Inequality” by administering surveys to non-Arab and non-Muslim students, staff, and faculty to gather their perceptions about Arab and Muslim folx. Through their project they hope to reveal racism against Arabs and Islamophobia and gather evidence that will force SFUSD to create systems that will promote better experiences for Arab and Muslim youth.
Sponsored by: Arab Resource and Organizing Center
POWER YOUTH MOVEMENT CONFERENCE – CHALK (Communities in Harmony Advocating for Learning and Kids)
This youth-led project addresses a plethora of social justice issues such as “Sexism, Racism, Economic Inequality, Mass Incarceration, School to Prison Pipeline, Transphobia, Homophobia, Homelessness,” by hosting a Power Youth Movement Conference where youth will exchange narratives, access resources, and engage community activists, organizers, and many other leaders. Through their project they hope to give youth new opportunities to overcome oppression, trauma, and violence.
Sponsored by: Bay Area Community Resources
HOMELESS OUTREACH – Keystone: The Crew
This youth-led project addresses “Homelessness, Economic Inequality, and Environmental Justice” by creating and participating in a variety of service projects that will provide resources to people without homes. Through their project they hope to foster community with people who do not have homes and educate youth to eliminate negative stereotypes about people without homes.
Sponsored by: Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco
ALAS DE ESPERANZA – Latinx Student Union
This youth-led project addresses “Racism, Environmental Justice, Health Inequality, and Immigrant Youth Organizing” by creating 3 Cram Jam sessions for Spanish-speaking students and teachers that will allow these youth to catch up on missing assignments and prepare for final exams. Through their project they hope to bridge educational gaps for Spanish-speaking youth in the non-immersion school, John O’Connell High School.
Sponsored by: Good Samaratian Family Resource Center
SUMMER ORGANIZING BOOTCAMP: THE FIGHT FOR FINANCIAL INCLUSION – MyPath Advocates and Innovators
This youth-led project addresses “Economic Inequality and Adultism” by engaging youth in education about economic systemic oppression, in addition to learning basic skills about financial freedom. Through their project they hope to gain the skills to advocate for their communities and build wealth in their families who have been oppressed by unfair economic policies.
Sponsored by: MyPath
VOICELESS – Off Forecast
This youth-led project addresses “Homelessness” by creating a high quality film that will provide those without homes a platform to express their experiences with homelessness. Through their project they hope to give a voice to people without homes, educate people about the realities of homelessness, and dispel negative stereotypes and unfair judgement.
Sponsored by: Futurama
IGNITE OPEN MIC – YOHANA (Youth Organizing Home and Neighborhood Action)
This youth-led project addresses “Racism, Economic Inequality, Legal Inequality, and Mental Health” by hosting two open mic events that will give youth a platform to perform pieces that address these issues. Through their project they hope to educate, spread awareness, and empower young people to express their experiences with inequity.
Sponsored by: Filipino-American Development Foundation