Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing

Questions were answered by Supriya Pillai, Executive Director of Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing.

What part of your organization involves young people? In what capacity?

The mission of the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) is to substantially increase the philanthropic investment in and strengthen the organizational capacities of youth organizing groups across the country.  Youth organizing is an innovative youth development strategic that trains young people in community organizing and builds their individual and collective power to create systemic change.  FCYO is a national funding intermediary that builds traction for the field of youth organizing that consists of approximately 160 organizations across the county.  Youth organizing, as our constituency defines it, works with low-income youth of color at the high school age or younger.

Why should young philanthropists become a part of your network/engaged with your organization?

The field of youth organizing is a powerful engine to create a more robust democracy, not only inclusive of the voices of those most affected by social inequity but led by them.  Young philanthropists, by virtue of their age and as a constituency that cares about civic engagement and real change, will find that their values reflected in the field of youth organizing.  Furthermore, we see building funder traction to support this vibrant field as an organizing strategy in and of itself.  It will take long-term support—we are still realizing the gains of the civil rights movement and many of our organizing groups feel we have a long way to go.  Young philanthropists can have the opportunity to grow with this movement over time, anchoring and supporting it for the long haul.

Furthermore, if a young philanthropist becomes a part of the FCYO Board, we are a unique space in that we are a blend of practitioners from the field and program officers and foundation executives working together to inform the work of FCYO and build resources for youth organizing.  The FCYO space is one in which stakeholders at the table have a hands on approach to ethical grantmaking, deep theoretical development and funding alongside movement.

What distinguishes you from other young philanthropy support groups?

First of all our subject matter is distinct; FCYO is the only national intermediary dedicated to building the field of youth organizing.  Our constituency is entirely young people of color from low income communities at the high school age engaged in community organizing.  Our board itself consists of primarily 20-40 year olds, primarily of color, and a blend of practitioners and funders.

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