A global pandemic, systemic racial and gender oppression, growing wealth inequality, and climate change pose grave threats to a healthy democracy and livable planet. Young people, especially those most directly impacted by injustice, have critical roles to play in catalyzing social movements that can build the power to transform society.
Grounded in racial, gender, and economic justice, youth organizing is the process of engaging young people in building power for systemic change while supporting their individual and collective development.
The past few decades have been a remarkable period of growth and development for the field of youth organizing. In order to meet this moment, however, the youth organizing field will require a new level of capacity, alignment, resources, and power. This means engaging in honest ongoing organizational and movement assessments, coordinated strategies, shared practice, and shared learning in order to test what methods and infrastructures work best for building power with young people and their communities.
The GenPower Labs
We envision a society free from exploitation and oppression, in which communities support the full human development of all people based on principles of equity, democracy, and ecological stewardship. FCYO is driven to help the youth organizing field develop its leadership capacity for the powerful social movements required to actualize this vision.
Over the last two years, FCYO has worked closely with youth organizing groups from across the country to assess how to build the capacities needed to meet this moment. Through the Pipelines to Power project we supported 16 groups to experiment with new approaches for building power. Through the Youth Power Lab, we developed a shared assessment of key growth edges for youth organizing and supported over 40 groups to engage in organizational assessments and collective political education.
Critical to our approach is our Power to Win Framework. It states that to win liberation, our movements must achieve the power to transform economic and social conditions for our communities and society as a whole. This means gaining positions within key decision-making bodies while also having the ability to apply pressure from the outside to hold them accountable. To do this youth organizing must build bases at significant scale, develop broad strategic alliances, and elevate public narratives that promote our vision of social justice and true democracy.
The GenPower Labs is FCYO’s response to the charges we face at this moment. As the core of our new program, the GenPower Labs is a three tiered strategic grantmaking and capacity building initiative designed to build a more powerful, strategic, and aligned youth organizing field with the capacities to address the challenges of this moment. Our goal is to support a robust youth organizing ecosystem in which groups share a common long-term strategic orientation and interdependent programming while operating at different scales, with diverse constituencies, and utilizing approaches most appropriate for their particular conditions. The GenPower Labs will support groups to align their organizing strategies and base building and leadership development models with a long-term agenda that shifts policies, systems, and culture to transform material conditions for working class communities of color.
With multiple entry points and a structured ladder of engagement, our approach will create opportunities to engage a wide range of organizations while also developing a core of groups that can initiate a new level of coordination and shared strategy. Each tier of the GenPower Labs will include grantmaking, a dynamic peer learning community, strategic education, and capacity building support. Groups interested in applying should ensure that they are committed to participation in the full program:
Tier 1: Organizing to Win Lab
Tier 2: The Level Up Lab
- Tier 3: The Praxis for Power Lab
Calling on years of lessons from partnership in the youth organizing field, FCYO is excited to introduce the Power to Win Framework! Developed through extensive collaboration and refinement with our partners, this Framework serves as a guiding light for the youth organizing field and movement leaders, leading us towards transformative justice.
Check out the recap of the Organizing to Win Lab Informational Webinar