Giving Compass’ Take:
• To promote youth organizing, funders should consider supporting youth leadership and invest in their movements for social change.
• Research shows that this type of organizing spawns social change in communities and promotes healthy development of young people. Why would funding youth-led movements be problematic when there are clear benefits? Will we see more funding for student-driven initiatives now that they are so prevalent in the social sector?
• Read about how women’s funds are helping to support and invest in youth leadership.
In the months since the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, the response of youth activists has captured the attention of the nation. What has largely gone unnoticed, however, is that across the country a dynamic youth-organizing field has emerged.
New research demonstrates that not only does youth organizing result in concrete policy changes, it also promotes positive academic, social/emotional, and civic engagement outcomes.
As a new generation demonstrates its willingness to take on some of our toughest issues, the need for investment in the leadership of young people, especially those most impacted by injustice, has never been more important.
According to the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing’s National Youth Organizing Landscape Map, there are more than two hundred youth organizing groups across the country, the majority of them focused on middle and high school students of color. These groups support the development of young leaders and organize campaigns to address inequity in their communities.
A new report summarizing the findings of multiple studies suggests that not only does this kind of organizing drive positive change in communities, it is also one the best ways to support the healthy development of young people. Contrary to the common misconception of organizing as rabble-rousing, researchers found that organizing engages young people in a cycle of research, preparation, action, and reflection while providing them with many opportunities to develop critical thinking skills.
Despite the many benefits of youth organizing, less than one percent of the money invested in youth development goes to organizing. This must change. Engaging young people in organizing is a three-for-one investment: it creates real change in communities, supports young people’s healthy development, and trains the next generation of community leaders.
Read the full article about investing in youth leadership by Eric Braxton at PhilanTopic
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