Giving Compass' Take:

• PACE’s report, “Youth Civic Engagement for Health Equity and Community Safety," examines the prominent effect of youth voice and how youth civic engagement can create healthier communities. 

• How are you supporting youth civic participation in your community? Does your philanthropy engage young people?

• Read about how to encourage youth civic engagement through the arts.

“The children are our future.”

This is possibly the most over used, yet under acted upon sentiment in American life. If we truly believe children are the future, then surely it behooves us to take seriously the concerns, observations, and ideas that activate our youth and keep them engaged in public life.

Yet, more often than not, communities — and more specifically, those with power and privilege, such as policymakers and philanthropy — do not take youth voices seriously relative to public space, community safety, health, and even education.

PACE’s new report: “Youth Civic Engagement for Health Equity and Community Safety: How Funders Can Embrace the Power of Young People to Advance Healthier, Safer Communities for All,” makes the case for the importance of youth as partners in community health and safety efforts, and outlines how youth voice can be mobilized effectively.

The report also makes a case for why funders should embrace investments in youth civic engagement. We could not agree more. Our own experience in funding youth civic engagement work certainly supports the findings from this report.

Funding strategies with long lead times, including the social determinants of health, are increasingly common. Both the Greater Clark Foundation and the Kansas Health Foundation utilize these strategies. In our experience, for these funders, investing in youth civic engagement can be a particularly effective strategy. Investments in youth yield positive returns over a longer period and on a more consistent basis because young people master the tools of effective democratic practice earlier and can deploy these tools over a longer lifespan.

This report is an important first step in documenting the role youth civic engagement must play in ensuring equitable health and safety outcomes in our communities.

Read the full article about funding youth civic engagement by Jen Algire and Elina Alterman at Medium.