Giving Compass' Take:

• Brandon Carey provides examples of how young people are directing social movements that lead to meaningful advocacy efforts and concrete policy changes.

• How can donors best support youth-led movements and build on advocacy progress? What group or groups are you ready to support right now? 

• Read about how philanthropy can help strengthen advocacy and policy.

Community- and youth-led advocacy are such effective and useful ways for people to advance the change they want that Teen Vogue recently increased editorial focus on advocacy and activism. In fact, the teen-focused magazine recently published an editorial that catalogued the experience of Yesenia Jimenez, a college student in California who regularly experienced food insecurity. As a student, she became involved with a group on campus that lobbied for undocumented people’s rights.

Independent Sector member, the YMCA of the USA, understands the power that exists in training youth people to get more involved in using their voice for policy change. Through its Youth and Government program the Y provides students with the opportunity to represent and serve their communities through model government, leadership and professional development, advocacy, and service learning, according to Neal Denton, senior vice president and government affairs officer at YMCA of the USA.

“One of the misperceptions that we work to overcome, is that advocacy or lobbying are detrimental to the civic process,” Denton said. “We emphasize with our students how important it is that every cause or interest, no matter how big or small, has a way to educate policymakers. The act of advocacy isn’t a job reserved for those with influence, but it’s an important, and often frustrating, form of education.”

Read the full article about advocacy through youth-led movements by Brandon Carey at Independent Sector.