The foundation established the program more than a decade ago to help organizations strengthen their own youth programs by addressing issues or problems at the point of service, where staff and youth interact. Since 2007, the program has awarded a hundred and forty-five grants totaling more than $3.5 million in support of nonprofit organizations serving young people in neighborhoods across the city.
In 2018, as part of the ongoing evolution of that work, the foundation initiated a program assessment focused on the landscape of youth inequality in New York City, out of which three major themes emerged: the geography of inequality in the city is stark, with poverty rates well over 40 percent in some neighborhoods and too little philanthropic funding directed to those communities; a purely place-based approach to grantmaking runs the risk of neglecting underserved communities that are geographically dispersed; and the notable lack of racial, ethnic, gender identity, and sexual-orientation diversity among executive directors and CEOs of youth-serving organizations.
The redesigned program hopes to capitalize on these findings by aligning its priorities more closely with the foundation's broader focus on reducing inequality in youth outcomes. To that end, the foundation will award grants to organizations that provide direct services to youth in ten community districts identified as having the highest risks to child well-being by the Citizens' Committee for Children and will tailor its existing programming for LGBTQ youth or those of Mexican descent, or to organizations led by people of color or LGBTQ individuals.