Caring for Denver Foundation believes that youth themselves should be at the forefront of decision-making on the issues that impact their lives. That’s why they started the Caring for Denver Youth Advisors program.
A group of 11 young people from around the Denver area are spending 6 months together learning about grantmaking and advising on the Foundation’s $9 million pool of funding for their youth funding area.
YouthRoots, a Colorado-based youth philanthropy nonprofit, was selected to run the Caring for Denver Youth Advisors program.
The program guides students through a youth-led needs assessment process focusing on the umbrella issues of mental health and substance misuse. The group has identified “mental health counseling” and “mental health resources in schools” as the top needs in the community.
Youth Advisors will influence Caring for Denver Foundation’s grantmaking under the youth funding area in three distinct ways: 1) Providing grant recommendations on nonprofit applications impacting students, 2) Directing $10,000 to applicants that provide mental health counseling and/or provide more resources and support in schools, and 3) Sharing thoughts related to their needs assessment to inform future grantmaking.
Caring for Denver Foundation was created in November 2018 when Denver residents passed a ballot initiative directing 25 cents for every $100 spent to mental health and substance misuse needs in the city. The foundation has involved youth reviewers in the past and is formalizing this process through the Youth Advisors program partnership with YouthRoots.
Communities, foundations, and other organizations looking to incorporate youth voice into the grantmaking process can contact YouthRoots at email@example.com to learn more about youth philanthropy programming.