FCYO Leadership News

POSTED: 3.31.2023
A Note from Eric Braxton

Dear friends and colleagues,

With a mixture of excitement and sadness, I am writing to let you know that I am transitioning out of my role as Co-Executive Director of FCYO. I have been involved with FCYO as a grantee, board member, consultant, and staff person for over twenty years. This organization means so much to me and I am deeply grateful for the many ways FCYO has supported my growth and development. It is now time for me to figure out my next contributions to movement building. 

I first got involved with FCYO as a grantee when I was at the Philadelphia Student Union. I remember the early national convenings as the first place where we got to meet other youth organizers from across the country, share tools and lessons, and realize that we were part of something much bigger than ourselves. I joined the board in 2001 and learned so much from the opportunity to engage with funders and organizers around building a strong field together. In 2011 I joined the staff and a year and a half later I became the director during a time when funding for youth organizing was disappearing and we thought the organization might have to close.

By 2015 the tides began to turn as funders recognized powerful organizing led by young people of color from across the country including the Movement for Black Lives, the undocumented youth movement, and organizing against the school-to-prison pipeline. We at FCYO were fortunate to be connected to some of this work and to help funders learn how to support it. After this, FCYO began to grow again and I am proud of the work we have done with funders and organizers to build support for young people on the forefront of social justice movements. 

I have been fortunate to get to watch the growth and evolution of youth organizing over the last twenty years. I am struck by both how far we have come and the magnitude of the tasks before us now. Our last Field Scan recognized 319 youth organizing groups across the country. We have seen young people win important victories for their communities and young leaders move on to critical movement roles. 

At the same time, I am conscious that conditions in many communities continue to get worse and we face unparalleled threats to our people and planet. Young people have an essential role to play in building the movements that can address these conditions, but meeting this moment will require all of us to level up. Organizing groups will have to engage in bold experiments to build a new level of power. Funders will have to take risks to get resources to those organizing for transformative change. The spirit of FCYO has always been about funders and organizers engaging in deep partnership to support transformative change. Now is a time when we need that more than ever.  

No one is better prepared to lead FCYO in times like these than Mónica Córdova who will now serve as Executive Director. Our last year and half of being co-directors has been an honor and a privilege. At FCYO we aspire to conduct our work with both joy and rigor. Mónica exemplifies these qualities with everything she does.  

I won’t be disappearing from the FCYO family. I am pleased to be moving into the role of Senior Advisor, which will allow me to continue to support FCYO’s work as I explore my next contributions to movement building. 

Leaving this role was never going to be easy, but I feel confident that FCYO is in an excellent place with a solid financial position, a strong staff, a host of new board members, and critically Mónica’s leadership. FCYO’s work over the coming years is more important than ever. I look forward to finding ways to support that and collaborate as I take the next steps in my journey. Thank you for all the support you offered to me and to FCYO. I am honored to consider you comrades in our ongoing struggle for a world that supports all of our full humanity.

With gratitude,
Eric Braxton

A Note from our Executive Committee

Dear FCYO Community,

As members of FCYO’s Board Executive Committee, we are writing to share exciting news about our leadership transition. For nearly two years Eric Braxton and Mónica Córdova have served as the Co-Executive Directors FCYO. During this time our organization has grown and thrived. 

Eric is moving on after more than twenty years in the FCYO family. Under Eric’s leadership, FCYO has grown from a staff of three to a team of eleven; from an organization subsidizing its operations with reserve funds, to an organization poised to distribute tens of millions of dollars to the youth organizing field. He has been a resolute voice for the power and possibility of youth organizing. He is transitioning out of FCYO with the organization the strongest it’s been in its history, and with youth organizing infrastructure across the country more aligned, connected and powerful than it’s ever been. Eric, FCYO is immensely fortunate to have had the benefit of your vision, leadership and commitment, and we are deeply thankful for all that you have given to the organization and to the field. 
After meeting with Eric and Mónica and getting feedback from our full board, we are thrilled to announce that Mónica Córdova will now serve as the Executive Director of FCYO.
Over the past 15 years, Monica has been engaged with FCYO in a range of roles - from grantee and practitioner board member to program staff and Co-Director.  As a product of the youth organizing leadership pipeline herself, Mónica has unique expertise on the role of young people in social justice movements.  She has been pivotal in FCYO’s groundbreaking growth, is deeply trusted by staff, Board and the field partners, and is well-poised to carry on as Executive Director as FCYO as it pursues the dynamic and ambitious work ahead. 

Mónica will share more soon about her vision and plans for FCYO. In the meantime, please join us in thanking Eric and welcoming Mónica’s leadership. Leadership transitions are an essential part of building healthy leaderful movements. They are a time to reflect and to celebrate. Please join us in marking this moment as we continue the work to support young people in advancing justice. 

James Lopez, Executive Director, Power U Center for Social Change
Albert Maldonado, Senior Program Manager, The California Endowment 
Laura McCargar, President, Perrin Family Foundation