The William T. Grant Foundation's Youth Service Improvement Grants (YSIG) program supports activities aimed at improving the quality of direct services for young people between the ages of 5 and 25 in the five boroughs of New York City. The goal is to strengthen existing services by helping youth-serving nonprofit organizations address challenges or remedy problems at the point of service, where staff and youth interact.
The YSIG program is aligned with the foundation’s broader focus on reducing inequality in youth outcomes. Inequality in New York City is multifaceted, reflected in racial and economic segregation across boroughs and neighborhoods, in inadequate services for Mexican-descent youth and LGBTQ youth, and in a lack of racial, ethnic, gender identity, and sexual-orientation diversity among executive directors and CEOs of youth-serving organizations. We seek to improve the programming of youth-serving nonprofit organizations that confront these challenges.
Applicants should describe their organization’s mission and the current youth programming that they propose to improve. The application should clearly describe a challenge or problem at the program’s point of service, outline how the organization identified the problem, and explain how the problem adversely affects the experiences or outcomes of youth participants. Next, the application should propose a specific, standalone improvement plan to address the issue, improve the targeted programming, and yield a positive effect on participants’ experiences. Strong proposals will make the case that the quality of youth services would improve if the issue were resolved, and will clearly describe a feasible, sustainable, and appropriate improvement. Examples of problem areas for improvement include inadequate curriculum, gaps in the service skills of frontline staff, or a limitation in current services that adversely affects participants’ experiences. Beyond these examples, we welcome other compelling needs for service improvement.
Awards are $25,000 each and will support projects lasting one year, starting September 1, 2021. Although the foundation is prepared to fully fund projects of $25,000, it is also willing to co-fund larger improvement efforts with other funders. Regardless of the size of the budget for the improvement project, the foundation encourages applicants to commit some of their own resources through in-kind support or the use of unrestricted funds. The foundation views this action as an indication of organizational commitment to the improvement project.
The foundation will award up to six new Youth Service Improvement Grants annually.
In addition to providing grant support, grantees will participate in technical assistance activities designed to help them meet their improvement project goals. The technical assistance provider will provide one-on-one support as well as learning community cohort meetings over the term of the grant. One-on-one support will allow each grantee to receive customized assistance that will help them work toward the successful implementation of the improvement project. The learning community cohort meetings will focus on peer-based learning and coaching, allowing grantees to discuss challenges, seek advice from peers and colleagues, and collaborate across projects in a supportive space.
All YSIG applicants must be youth-serving nonprofit organizations based in one of the five boroughs of New York City whose staff have direct programmatic contact with youth at the point of service. Applicants also must be tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; have an operating budget between $250,000 and $5 million (if the organization serves youth only), or less than $20 million if the organization serves youth and other populations; have its most recent financial statements reviewed by an auditor, per New York State law requirement (if the organization’s annual budget is under $750,000, then certified public accountant’s reviewed financial statements are required); and have filed IRS Form 990.
The program only supports improvement activities at the point of service for youth. Organizations previously funded under the YSIG program cannot apply again for at least eighteen months after the end of their award.
For additonal details, see the William T. Grant Foundation website.