The Youth Service Capacity-Building Grants (YSCG) program supports activities to strengthen the organizational infrastructure of small nonprofit organizations in the five boroughs of New York City that provide direct services to young people ages 5 to 25.
The YSCG 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 build the capacity of youth-serving nonprofit organizations that confront these challenges.
The long-term goal of the YSCG program is to help build stronger, more stable youth-serving organizations that tackle inequality in youth outcomes. These grants provide general operating support so that small nonprofits (operating budgets between $250,000 and $1 million) can determine the best way to address capacity-building needs that have been identified through a formal or informal assessment. Capacity-building needs may include: financial management, board recruitment and development, human resource management, staff training, fundraising, strategic planning, information technology, leadership development, communications, and evaluation systems. We welcome other compelling needs beyond this list. Strong proposals will make the case that addressing the capacity-building need will result in a strengthened organization that can yield stronger services for youth.
Eligible youth-serving, nonprofit organizations must meet at least one of the following criteria related to the Foundation’s focus on reducing inequality in youth outcomes:
- Currently provide direct youth services in one of the eleven community districts identified as having the highest community risk to child well-being by the Citizen’s Committee for Children
- Have well-defined existing programming tailored specifically to Mexican-descent or LGBTQ youth
- Have leaders (Executive Director or CEO) who are people of color and/or members of the LGBTQ community.
Awards are $60,000 each and provide general operating support to allow grantees the flexibility to allocate the funds for organizational capacity-building needs over a 3-year term that begins in March of the year following the application deadline.
The award provides $30,000 in the first year to get the work off the ground, $20,000 in the second year, and $10,000 in the third year. In the third year, the grantee is required to obtain new matching funding of $10,000.
The Foundation will award three new Youth Service Capacity-Building Grants annually.
In addition to grant support, grantees will participate in technical assistance activities designed to help them meet their organizational capacity-building goals. We have partnered with Community Resource Exchange to provide one-on-one support as well as learning community meetings over the three-year term of the grant. One-on-one support will allow each grantee to receive customized assistance that will help them achieve their capacity-building goal(s). The learning community 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.
Reducing Inequality Criteria
- Provide youth services in one of the eleven community districts identified as having the highest community risk to child well-being by the Citizens’ Committee for Children:
CD 1 – Mott Haven
CD 2 – Hunts Point
CD 3 – Morrisania
CD 4 – Concourse/Highbridge
CD 5 – University Heights
CD 6 – East Tremont
CD 7 – Bedford Park
CD 9 – Union Port/Soundview
CD 12- Williamsbridge
CD 5 – East New York
CD 16 – Brownsville
Organizational offices do not need to be based in one of these community districts, but the service targeted for improvement must currently operate in one of the districts. Organizations can identify the community districts in which they serve youth on the New York City Department of City Planning’s Community District Profiles webpage.
- Have well-defined programming tailored specifically to Mexican-descent youth
- Have existing well-defined programming tailored specifically to LGBTQ+ youth
Many programs serve Mexican-descent and LGBTQ+ youth, but only those organizations with programming specifically designed for these populations are eligible for priority consideration under this criterion.
- Have a leader (executive director or CEO) who is a person of color and/or is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:
- Serve youth ages 5 to 25. At least 80 percent of youth participating in the services must be in this age range.
- Have at least 80 percent of the service recipients be youth if the organization also serves adults.
- Have their own 501(c)(3) tax-exemption. If an applying organization is separately incorporated but tax-exempt through a group ruling (religious institutions), the applicant should supply the 501(c)(3) letter of the parent organization and documentation that it is part of the group.
- Have an operating budget between $250,000 and $1 million.
- Have 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.
- Have filed IRS Form 990.
What we do not support
The YSIG program only supports service improvement activities, so we do not support:
- Capital fund projects, scholarships, endowments, lobbying, real estate purchases, or awards to individuals
- Public and/or private schools
- National or international organizations
- Organizations that are based outside of the 5 boroughs of New York City
- Organizations that utilize fiscal sponsors/conduits
Applications for Youth Service Capacity-Building Grants are reviewed by a dedicated volunteer committee of Foundation staff once a year. Committee members have a diverse range of expertise, including finance, communications, and nonprofit administration. Thus, applications should be written to address an educated lay audience. If you use acronyms that may not be familiar to a lay audience, please be sure to spell them out the first time. If you use terms that are not commonly known, please provide relevant context and explanations.
Clear and compelling description of the organization’s mission and current youth services
The applicant provides a clear, compelling explanation of how the current services create positive and meaningful experiences for youth.
Compelling rationale for organizational capacity-building
- The applicant has already undertaken an initial assessment (informal or formal) to identify its organizational capacity challenge(s).
- The applicant clearly identifies one or more organizational challenges to be addressed, and explains how the challenges have adversely impacted the organizational functioning.
- The applicant demonstrates a strong understanding of their capacity challenges and the underlying causes.
Identification and strength of capacity-building plan
- The applicant clearly identifies a capacity-building project(s) and has a well-reasoned plan to implement the identified project(s). The plan effectively addresses the capacity challenge: it is targeted at the causes of the challenge, it is likely to be effective, and it is sustainable.
- The applicant describes meaningful goals and proposed activities of the plan. The plan should cover three years of activities, although not every activity must last this long.
- The applicant identifies the key staff and/or consultants to be involved in the proposed activities and identifies a capable staff member or manager to oversee the plan and track progress across the timeline.
- The applicant outlines how it will collect and use information to determine whether the capacity building project is successful.
- The applicant convincingly describes how the newly built capacity will be sustained operationally and financially.
When preparing an online application, the narrative and background information portions of the proposal must be completed in the microsoft word templates, which are provided below. You may download and complete these files and upload to the application portal when you apply, or you may download the templates from the application portal while preparing your application.