Mayor Michelle Wu announces grantees of latest Youth Development Fund, totaling $1.7 million
Mayor Michelle Wu today announced the recipients of $1.7 million in grants to youth development organizations through the city’s Youth Development Fund (YDF), a grant program that supports non-profit organizations to provide high quality, engaging programming for youth and young adults ages 14-24. The goal of this grant is to increase the variety of free youth programming in the City and provide a positive outlet for youth outside school hours. The selected organizations can be found here.
“The future of Boston lies in the hands of our youth and our commitment to their growth,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Through the Youth Development Fund, we are investing in community organizations focused on creating fun, safe and engaging programming for our youth, allowing for more opportunities for advancement and empowerment. We’re grateful to all our partners for their commitment to our young people in the City of Boston.”
This year’s grants prioritize programs that support Mayor Wu’s Connect, Learn, Explore: Commitment to Youth, a commitment to giving Boston youth an opportunity to explore and discover their passions. This commitment aims to increase access for youth to sports, swimming, arts, growing food and biking. This year’s YDF allocation provides $550,000 for community-based youth sports programs, $400,000 for arts programming, and $170,000 for programs that introduce youth to cooking and growing their own food.
“I’m excited that the Youth Development Fund is aligned around the Mayor’s commitment to support the healthy development for youth in key areas of growth,” said José F. Massó, Chief of Human Services. “Making investments today in skill-building for young people will make Boston stronger now and in the future.”
The 2024 YDF funds three tracks of grantees: Emerging Leader Grantees, which are generally eligible for grants up to $10,000; Uplift Grantees, which receive up to $20,000; and Sustaining Grantees up to $30,000 which are available to the largest organizations. Grantees qualify for each track based on their organizational budget.
The new approach to YDF is intended to increase opportunities for small nonprofits to grow and thrive in Boston through the Emerging Leader Learning Community. In addition to funding, the Emerging Leader grantees will receive a tailored curriculum to help advance their skills, increase their organizational capacity, and create durable connections among the cohort. The Emerging Leader cohort will be made up of 24 organizations. They will meet once a month to learn business management skills, be paired with a mentor from a larger nonprofit organization, and be given the opportunity to network with other nonprofit leaders in Boston. Successful applicants in the two other tracks of the grant may be asked to serve as panelists in the learning sessions or as mentors for the Emerging Leaders.
“We are thrilled to join the Emerging Leader Learning Community, a program that aligns perfectly with Jamad Basketball Camps' vision of growth and community power,” said Jamad Fiin, Founder of Jamad Basketball Camps. “This opportunity to collaborate and learn from fellow leaders and seasoned experts in Boston is invaluable. We look forward to this journey of shared learning and to further amplify our impact of breaking barriers in sports.”
This year’s applicant pool numbered more than 200 applications, which was narrowed through a review process that considered each program’s potential to contribute to the Mayor’s Connect, Learn, Explore initiative as well as positive youth development. The programs funded will serve all neighborhoods in the city, with a higher number available to youth in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. These investments dovetail with the City’s goal of providing high quality out of school time programming in addition to building connections with youth-serving organizations across the city.
“It’s great to see the YDF continue its long tradition of strong support and partnership with youth-serving organizations,” said Pedro Cruz, Executive Director of the Office of Youth Engagement and Advancement. “I’m excited to see that programming will be expanded in every neighborhood and that the City is working to enhance the capacity of emerging leaders in the youth space.”
This year’s YDF grantees will enhance the landscape of positive youth development opportunities that are available to young people in Boston. Research shows that positive youth development programs help youth to develop their social skills, form healthy relationships with their peers and with caring adults. YDF grantees seek to meet youth where they are - in neighborhoods and schools.
ABOUT THE HUMAN SERVICES CABINET
The Human Services cabinet oversees six departments that provide direct services to Boston residents: Boston Centers for Youth & Families, Boston Public Library, Age Strong Commission, Office of Youth Engagement & Advancement, Office of Returning Citizens and the Office of Veterans’ Services. The mission of the Human Services cabinet is to provide equitable access to high quality services, resources, and opportunities so that every Boston resident - especially those with the greatest needs - has what they need to thrive. In pursuit of this mission, the departments in the Human Services Cabinet meet residents where they are - in their homes, neighborhoods, and communities - to break down barriers to critical resources.