Request for Proposals
Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative

The Southern California Youth Organizing Funder Collaborative is comprised of the Annenberg Foundation, California Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, The California Endowment and the Weingart Foundation.

OVERVIEW

The Southern California Youth Organizing Funder Collaborative invites nonprofit organizations
to submit proposals aligned with this capacity building initiative.

INITIATIVE GOAL: Strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of 501(c)(3) organizations engaged in youth organizing to increase the number of young people of color leading social justice grassroots campaigns, especially from communities most impacted by racial, economic and social injustice in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

DEADLINE AND SUBMISSION PROCESS: Applications must be submitted online via the Weingart Foundation website by 5 p.m. PST, Tuesday, December 18, 2018. To apply you must first establish a Weingart Foundation user account if you do not already have one. To apply, please click here.

INFORMATIONAL WEBINAR: We held informational webinars about this RFP on Nov. 13 and 15. If you were not able to attend, we highly recommend you view the recording of the webinar before applying.

FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT: Grant awards will be announced by Friday, March 29, 2019.

INITIATIVE COMPONENTS: The three-year initiative will combine three years of Unrestricted Operating Support grants, a peer grantee learning community, and a co-funder learning collaborative.

GRANT AWARDS: Grants will range between $75,000 and $175,000 for the three-year period. This is a competitive grant program, which means not all qualifying and meritorious proposals will be funded.

For questions about the Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative and this RFP, please contact Karren Lane, program officer, at (213) 688-6306 or klane@weingartfnd.org. For technical questions related to our online application, please contact Angela Carr, grants manager, at (213) 688-6314 or acarr@weingartfnd.org.

Background

In 2017, the Weingart Foundation brought together nearly 200 leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropic, public and business sectors to collectively work together to advance racial, social and economic equity in Southern California. A key action item from the Equity Convening was the need to strengthen the leadership pipeline of individuals leading equity work. Youth organizing was specifically identified as a proven leadership development strategy in highly marginalized communities. Investing in youth organizing also leads to policy changes that advance social justice. In addition, youth organizing groups increase members’ college enrollment and persistence; they also have lasting effects on members’ commitments to building greater civic participation within their families and community.

Yet to effectively engage young people who are most affected by social injustices requires that youth organizing groups devote significant resources to members’ leadership development during the course of campaigns, all while also attending to their developmental needs. As such, the number of young people prepared to assume leadership roles in campaigns remains fairly limited.

For these reasons, the Weingart Foundation engaged Dr. Veronica Terriquez from UC Santa Cruz, a leading researcher in youth organizing, to assess both needs and opportunities to grow the youth leadership pipeline in Southern California. Dr. Terriquez interviewed 18 key youth organizing groups in Southern California and found that these organizations offer a range of comprehensive programming to prepare social justice youth leaders. However, because their capacity is stretched, they are unable to meet the current and growing demand of youth interested in this work. Organizations shared that in order to train and support more youth leaders to lead grassroots organizing campaigns, they would need support to do the following:

  1. Build organizational capacity in key areas – staffing, transportation, space and technology;
  2. Strengthen and expand comprehensive programming to fully develop leaders;
  3. Expand regional and summer programming;
  4. Strengthen organizational capacity to continue engaging youth leaders beyond targeted programming; and
  5. Support the creation and expansion of youth organizing networks.

Based on these findings, Dr. Terriquez recommended that funders support existing youth organizing organizations with flexible, multi-year, unrestricted support to allow each organization to prioritize funding to their greatest needs. Subsequently, the Weingart Foundation convened a number of foundations to share Dr. Terriquez’s findings and recommendations. This resulted in the creation of a pooled fund in support of the Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative.

Initiative Components

The three-year Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative will combine three years of Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) grants, a peer grantee learning community and a learning collaborative for funders.

The Funder Collaborative will use the Weingart Foundation’s multi-year UOS program, which is specifically designed to support a range of infrastructure and programmatic capacity needs. It provides organizations with flexible dollars that they are able to prioritize to their greatest needs. UOS can be used, for example, to underwrite administrative infrastructure, build or strengthen organizational capacity, and/or to maintain core programs and essential staff. Also, multi-year funding provides organizations with greater stability of resources that allow them to achieve their goals.

In addition to grants, we also recognize that peer-learning communities build knowledge, resources, and relationships that help strengthen individual organizations and that can lead to collective goals and action. Lastly, building an intentional funder learning group will facilitate real-time and continuous learning among partnering foundations that will allow for necessary adaptations to better support the Initiative and build awareness and additional support for youth organizing work.

Guiding Principles & Goals

Guiding Principles

  • Youth organizing is a proven leadership development strategy in highly marginalized communities.
  • Young leaders of color rooted in the communities they serve are among the best agents for lasting change and should lead the way in addressing inequity and transformative change.
  • Fundamental elements of transformative youth organizing include all of the following:
    • Systems change campaigns,
    • Leadership development,
    • Personal growth and transformation,
    • Civic engagement,
    • Base building, and
    • Movement building.
  • Strengthening the capacity of nonprofits rooted in communities will change the dynamics of inequity and expand opportunities.

Goals

  • Strengthen the capacity of youth organizing groups advancing racial, social and economic justice in Southern California.
  • Increase the number of young people of color leading social justice grassroots campaigns, especially from communities most impacted by racial, economic and social injustice.
  • Strengthen the network of youth organizing groups in Southern California.
  • Increase awareness of the comprehensive impact of youth organizing among funders.
  • Increase the level of funding from philanthropy to youth organizing groups.

Applicant Eligibility & Review Criteria

Applicant Eligibility

  • A nonprofit organization that as part of its core mission has a track record of training young people of color to lead social justice grassroots campaigns that create meaningful institutional and/or policy change in communities most impacted by racial, social and economic injustice. Organizations can be youth-focused, multi-generational and/or multi-issue.
  • Organization’s youth organizing includes all of the following elements:
    • Systems change campaigns,
    • Leadership development,
    • Personal growth and transformation,
    • Civic engagement,
    • Base building, and
    • Movement building.
  • 501(c)(3) status or fiscal sponsorship
  • Operates in one or more of the following counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and/or Ventura
  • Independent review or audit of organizational financials
  • New applicants, as well as current grantees, of individual funding partners are eligible to apply

Review Criteria

The Funder Collaborative recognizes that capacity needs may differ depending on where a nonprofit is in its organizational lifecycle. In addition, many organizing groups working in our most marginalized communities are small and have long been under-resourced. There is a need to build the capacity of these organizations in order to expand the number of youth that receive comprehensive training to lead grassroots organizing campaigns. Therefore, this Initiative is committed to supporting organizations at different budget sizes, levels of capacity, and infrastructure.

Successful applicants will excel in the following review criteria:

  • As part of its core mission, organization has a track record of training young people of color to lead social justice grassroots campaigns that create meaningful institutional and/or policy change in communities most impacted by racial, social and economic injustice;
  • Organization’s youth organizing includes all of the following elements:
    • Systems change campaigns,
    • Leadership development,
    • Personal growth and transformation,
    • Civic engagement,
    • Base building, and
    • Movement building.
  • Can outline a plan for how additional resources would strengthen the organization’s capacity to expand the number of young people of color it trains and supports to lead campaigns;
  • Operates as part of a larger ecosystem, engaging in meaningful partnerships, collaborations, coalitions, or networks to leverage resources and increase the impact of their work to advance shared community goals;
  • Programs, services and core activities are culturally and linguistically responsive to the needs of those served;
  • Meaningfully engages clients, constituents and individuals most impacted by inequities to inform the organization’s work and decision making;
  • Demonstrates a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in its governance, staffing, organizational practices and collaborative relationships;

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online via the Weingart Foundation website by 5 p.m. PST, Tuesday, December 18, 2018. Applicants must first establish a Weingart Foundation user account if they do not already have one, and are strongly encouraged to read through the entire application before beginning the proposal submission process. All proposals must be submitted online. To see a PDF of the application questions, click here.

INFORMATIONAL WEBINAR: We held informational webinars about this RFP on Nov. 13 and 15. If you were not able to attend, we highly recommend you view the recording of the webinar before applying.

For questions about the Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative and this RFP, please contact Karren Lane, program officer, at (213) 688-6306 or klane@weingartfnd.org. For technical questions related to our online application, please contact Angela Carr, grants manager, at (213) 688-6314 or acarr@weingartfnd.org.