Young Leaders Grants

The Young Leader grant is now closed for the Spring round. Our Letters of Interest were due March 1st, and only those invited to apply by our participatory grant review process will be able to submit full applications. Please direct any questions to Audrey Irvine-Broque at [email protected]

It is the belief of the Grassroots Fund that the involvement and leadership of young adults (defined as up to 25 years old) in environmental justice community organizing is a critical component in fulfilling the Grassroots Fund’s mission of creating sustainable communities. The Young Leaders grant program seeks to support initiatives that allow young adults to design, lead, and engage a community-based effort from inception.

Grant range: $5,000 - $7,500

Young Leaders Program Eligibility Criteria:

  • Is volunteer-driven or has no more than 3 full-time paid staff (or equivalents);
  • The proposed project has an annual operating budget of $175,000 or under
  • Is doing community-based work in CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, or VT
  • Incorporate Grassroots Fund issue areas, and are young adult-led.

If your project does not fit within these guidelines, but you still believe it should be considered in this round, please email [email protected] to discuss further.

The Grassroots Fund defines young adult led projects as:

  • Efforts led by young adults between the ages of 15-25 years old;

  • Existing projects that are seeking to substantively incorporate young adults into governance and program design/delivery

Meaningful Youth Leadership

We strive to leave our definition of “youth leadership” open and flexible to the contexts in which grassroots groups work. When evaluating youth leadership within applications, we are looking for projects in which young people are in a relationship to the project that goes beyond them being recipients of service. We want to see how their ideas and input are at the forefront of the project.

Generally, we are hoping to fund youth-led work, rather than fund non-youth working for youth. But we recognize that this is a gray area, especially when considering the supportive role that non-youth can play in creating the structures for youth leadership to thrive. For some groups, this will look like a non-youth led group inviting youth to design and lead a program or project with autonomy, while others may be projects from organizations run by young people from the start. Whatever the unique process of engagement is, we are looking for applications that can clearly state how young leaders are able to lead. Challenging adultism - the cultural practices that tell us that ideas from adults are inherently better or more practical - requires allowing the ideas of youth to be expressed and explored without overbearing advisement.

In addition to these criteria, these applications will be reviewed through our participatory decision-making process according to the Grassroots Fund Guiding Values.

How to Apply

All applicants must submit a short Letter of Interest (LOI) before being invited for a full application. We do this so that projects that do not align with our guiding values or funding criteria do not spend their precious time filling out our longer application. All LOIs will be reviewed through our participatory process. 

Applications completed by young adults involved with the project are strongly encouraged, and we welcome your feedback on how to make our applications more accessible. 

Deadline(s)

  • March 1 - LOI Deadline & application reader registration deadline
  • March 15 - LOI decisions & proposal invitations sent
  • April 15 - proposal deadline (invite only)
  • May 6-24 - applicant Interviews
  • June 10-11 - grantmaking committee review meeting 
  • June 19 - decisions announced

Final Reports

2018 Young Leaders Grantees must submit a Final Report before being awarded another grant. Click here to submit a Final Report for the Young Leaders Grant.

Applications for the Young Leader grant are now closed - please check back in January 2020 for information about our next grant round.