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Youth Development Fund Grant Opportunity Open for Applications

The City of Boston will invest $1.5 million into community-based youth programming; take steps to immediately provide engaging activities and spaces for Boston’s young people


Mayor Michelle Wu and the City of Boston’s Human Services Cabinet announced applications are now open for the 2024 Youth Development Fund (YDF), a grant program to support non-profit organizations that 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 during out-of-school time. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on September 22, 2023. Additionally, to complement this work more immediately, the City of Boston will host weekend events throughout September starting this weekend for teens and young people with the goal of creating fun, safe, and exciting spaces for them to go. The City is connecting with parents of young people to ensure they know resources are available to engage their teens.

"Boston’s nonprofits work tirelessly to serve Boston’s youth, and they deserve the support they need to carry out their missions,” Mayor Michelle Wu said. “I’m thrilled to announce that we have opened applications for the 2024 Youth Development Fund and look forward to partnering with organizations that help all of our young people connect, learn and explore in the City.” 

“This grant program is a great opportunity for the city to partner with our youth-serving organizations to ensure that young people in Boston have fun, engaging programming available to them year-round,” said José F. Massó, Chief of Human Services . “We have seen excellent results from the YDF in past years and this year we are looking to add a capacity-building component for emerging nonprofit organizations that would benefit from this added support.”

The City of Boston is looking to support organizations through three grants with the goal of helping to support both larger organizations and build capacity for smaller organizations:

Emerging Leader Grants

The Emerging Leader Grant will support organizations that have an annual operating budget of $75,000 or less  and all awards will come with technical assistance and capacity building to help smaller organizations develop the skills needed to grow the program. These grantees will also be partnered with a mentor organization that can provide coaching in non-profit leadership. 

Uplift Grants

The Uplift Grants will be given to medium-size youth serving organizations - those with budgets between $76,000 and $200,000. Grants in this category will be a maximum of $20,000. Uplift grant recipients will be invited to join the Emerging Leader grantees in professional development training opportunities. 

Sustaining Grants

Sustaining Grants  will be given to larger youth serving nonprofits with a proven track record of success in delivering high quality youth development programs. Grantees in this category will receive up to $30,000 and will be asked to participate as mentors for the Emerging Leader track recipients.   

This year, the Youth Development Fund grants focus on five categories of programming that are consistent with Mayor Wu’s Connect, Learn, Explore commitment to providing opportunities for youth to explore and discover their passions. Organizations that present programming in the following areas will be prioritized: 

  • Sports, including swimming and biking
  • Gardening, urban farming, and culinary arts 
  • Arts, including both visual and performing arts 
  • Entrepreneurship and financial literacy

In FY23, the YDF supported 57 grantees, including programming in every neighborhood that spanned sports, arts, academic support, after school programming, and entrepreneurship. Collectively, the 2023 YDF grantees served approximately 7,500 youth across Boston. 

"Through the utilization of the City of Boston's Youth Development Fund, we have significantly extended our impact,” said Ruth Rollins, Executive Director of We Are Better Together Warren Daniel Hairston Project. “Our efforts have led to the augmentation of support for young girls, achieved through upgraded programming and trauma-informed care, alongside our collaborative work with their caregivers. We remain resolute in our dedication to fostering the potential of our youth; they personify the transformative change we ardently strive to accomplish.”


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.

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