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The Youth Engagement Fund (YEF) is the only donor collaborative in the United States created to increase the civic participation and electoral power of young people and has been dedicated to doing so for over a decade. We are uniquely positioned to catalyze and facilitate greater philanthropic investment in building political participation and civic activism among young people, their networks, and communities to accelerate progressive social change. In 2018, YEF committed to a vision that builds the voice and agency of youth of color and marginalized young people to advance democratic governance and generate a culture of year-round civic engagement. YEF’s grantmaking principles lead through a philanthropic leadership model that: 1) demonstrates commitment to racial equity; 2) supports the advancement and power building of marginalized youth, especially youth of color and their communities; 3) adds value to building local infrastructure in geographic areas with the largest and growing numbers of communities of color; and 4) expands resources for youth focused efforts that create vehicles for youth and communities of color to lead and become life-long civic participants through issues that are important to them.
YEF invests in state-based youth-focused social justice organizations –mainly in the South and Southwest –that engage youth of color and marginalized young people in civic engagement, including non-partisan voter engagement, issue and electoral campaigns. To build, grow and catalyze resources, infrastructure, and leadership in the youth civic engagement sector, YEF provides monetary grants, serves as a connector and convener, and supports access to technical assistance to ensure youth focused groups are equipped with the tools, relationships, and structures necessary for success. YEF brings together diverse donors both institutional and individual, working across issues, and in varied regions, to enable collaborative grantmaking towards the common goals of a more reflective and inclusive democracy.
Read the Chronicle of Philanthropy op-ed by Executive Director of the Youth Engagement Fund, Alejandra Ruiz and President of the E. Hazen Foundation, Lori Bezahler on how youth organizing is playing a key role in transforming the electorate in battleground states like Arizona, Georgia, and Florida; and the opportunity for philanthropy to center youth of color in transforming our democracy. 10/20/2020