The 2023 competition is now closed. Dates and details for the next competition will be published in spring 2024.

Meet with Program Staff

Virtual Office Hour: Youth Service Capacity-Building Grants

Are you considering applying for a Youth Service Capacity-Building Grant? Join a one-hour open conversation with program staff to learn more about the application requirements, eligibility criteria, and review process: August 8, 2:00 PM ET.

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Resources for Applicants


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 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
  • 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.


  • 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 on March 1, 2024.
  • 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. We invite organizations to leverage the Foundation’s award to obtain new funding partners.
  • The Foundation aims to award three new Youth Service Capacity-Building Grants annually.

Post Award

In addition to grant support, grantees participate in technical assistance activities designed to help them meet their organizational capacity-building goals. We have partnered with Community Resource Exchange to provide free 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.



The YSCG program awards grants only to youth-serving community-based nonprofit organizations in any of the five boroughs of New York City whose staff have direct programmatic contact with youth at the point of service. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a youth serving community-based nonprofit organization in any of New York City’s five boroughs
  • Have direct contact with youth at the point of service
  • Meet at least one of the reducing inequality criteria
  • Meet all organizational criteria.

Organizations previously funded under either of the Foundation’s Youth Service Grant programs cannot apply again for at least 18 months after the end of their award.

Reducing Inequality Criteria

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.

Eligible youth-serving, nonprofit organizations must meet one of the following criteria related to the Foundation’s focus on reducing inequality in youth outcomes:

1. Currently 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 organizations must currently provide youth programming in one of the districts. Organizations can identify their community districts on the New York City Department of City Planning’s Community District Profiles webpage.

2. Have existing well-defined programming tailored specifically to Mexican-descent youth or 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 consideration under this criterion.

3. Have leaders (executive directors or CEOs) who are people of color and/or members of the LGBTQ community.

Organizational Criteria

Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:
  1. Serve youth ages 5 to 25.
    At least 80 percent of youth participating in services must be in this age range. If the organization also serves adults, at least 80 percent of the service recipients must be youth ages 5-25. The applicant’s staff must have direct contact with youth at the point of service.
  2. Have their own 501(c)(3) tax-exemption or operate under a fiscal sponsor that is a registered 501(c)(3).
    Confirmation of fiscal sponsorship agreement is required. 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.
  3. The applying organization (not the fiscal sponsor) must have an operating budget between $250,000 and $1 million.
    If the applying organization serves youth and other populations, its operating budget must be less than $20 million and its youth services budget must be between $250,000 and $1 million.
  4. Have audited financial statements or certified financial statements from the applying organization or from the fiscal sponsor if the organization is operating under fiscal sponsorship.
  5. Have a 990 for the applying organization (or explain your exemption). Or, if operating under fiscal sponsorship, the fiscal sponsor must have a 990.

What we do not support

The YSCG program does 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

Selection Criteria

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.

Grantees will be reviewed against the following criteria:

  • The applicant provides a clear, convincing explanation of how the current services create positive and meaningful experiences for youth.
  • 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 problems have adversely impacted organizational functioning.
  • The applicant demonstrates a strong understanding of their capacity challenges and the underlying causes.
  • 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 in 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 three-year 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.

Proposals are due by September 20, 2023, 3:00 PM ET, for decisions in March 2024.

For complete instructions on preparing and submitting a proposal, download the 2023 Application Guide in English or Spanish.