FCYO's Youth Community Organizing Resource Exchange (Youth CORE) is a set of activities that aim to help build a stronger and more stable youth organizing field in the U.S. Launched in 2015, Youth CORE’s activities bring together a large number of youth organizers from across the country to share learnings, build relationships, and develop common strategy. These learning opportunities bring together established organizations, newer organizations, informal organizations, and emerging individual leaders. In addition, while maintaining a focus on youth organizing groups working with high school and middle school aged young people, Youth CORE supports connections between diverse forms of youth organizing such as organizations working with high school age young people and those organizing young adults.
Youth CORE activities are aimed at a wide cross section of the field, will include both peer sharing and outside expert presentations, and will focus three primary issues:
- Building strong and sustainable organizations (financial management, board development, fundraising)
- Supporting lifelong leaders (providing holistic services, supporting alumni transitions, and tracking youth outcomes)
- Building and expanding power (voter engagement, building coalitions, addressing scale, alliances with adult organizations)
FCYO is the only national intermediary directly focused on building resources for the field of youth organizing, and has operated since 2000 as a grantmaker, funder advocate, and a sponsor of research, all focused on supporting youth organizing groups around the country. In a statement released by FCYO in early 2015, Executive Director Eric Braxton outlined the impetus for the Youth CORE project:
“In 2014 we saw young people rising to challenge injustice in ways we could not have predicted. This included massive protests against police brutality in Ferguson, MO, New York, and beyond; continued pressure from undocumented young people for real immigration reform; a host of victories addressing racial disparities in school discipline; and young people leading the People’s Climate March in New York. It is essential that there are structures to support the ongoing engagement and the growing power of these young activists, and opportunities to bring them together to learn from each other and create shared strategy.”
In 2015, FCYO formed a representative Action Team comprised of members from the youth organizing field, to provide strategic and responsive direction over Youth CORE. This team current consists of representatives from national youth organizing networks and key local organizations.
In order to engage a large number of groups in an ongoing way, FCYO’s Youth CORE strategy will partner with other social justice intermediaries and use the following approaches:
- Mapping The Youth Organizing Field: FCYO has developed an online Youth Organizing Landscape Map that offers funders, youth organiziers and the general public a searchable database of the field of youth organizing.
- Field Wide Convenings: Youth CORE annual convenings will bring together a wide cross section of the youth organizing field with tracks designed for high school aged youth organizing and groups working with older young people as well as established and newer organizations.
- Webinars: FCYO will offer six webinars each year, focusing on topics relating to organizational development, supporting the holistic needs of young people, and building youth movement power. FCYO’s first session will focus on the release of our Leadership Pipeline Toolkit, which offers important lessons for building and strengthening organizational leadership development programs.
- Learning & Exchange Fund: Starting in 2017, FCYO will provide mini-grants to youth organizing groups in support of individual and multi-group collaborative projects that have a clear learning goal.
FCYO has also engaged with our Board of Advisors, as well as a larger group of funders currently engaged in supporting youth organizing around the country on developing the Youth CORE initiative.
On January 12, 2017, FCYO held an informational webinar on our open Learning & Exchange Fund initiative, which provides support for organizational learning and relationship building among youth organizing groups across the country. This webinar discussed the goals of the fund, and how to apply to the initiative.
On November 15, 2016, the Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) held the tenth webinar as part of our Youth Community Organizing Resource Exchange (Youth CORE), a set of projects that seeks to build a more powerful and well-connected youth organizing field. This webinar is titled Invest/Divest:A Post Election Strategy to End Mass Incarceration and Fund Our Vision.
On September 29th, 2016 FCYO held the ninth Youth CORE webinar in partnership with the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT). This webinar featured panelists from the Philadelphia Student Union, Survivors Organizing for Liberation and Casa de Paz & Volleyball Internacional discussing reducing reliance on foundation funding and building independent financial power.
On June 23, 2016 FCYO held its 8th Youth CORE webinar as part of our Youth Community Organizing Resource Exchange (Youth CORE), a set of projects that seeks to build a more powerful and well-connected youth organizing field. This webinar examined how organizers are using digital tools - text messaging, social media, email and the web - to reach young people and their adult allies, bring them into a campaign and move them to action.
In March of 2016, FCYO held the seventh webinar as part of our Youth Community Organizing Resource Exchange (Youth CORE), a set of projects that seeks to build a more powerful and well-connected youth organizing field. This webinar focused on Strategies to Unlock Foundation Funding for Youth Organizing
In January of 2016, FCYO held the fifth webinar as part of our Youth Community Organizing Resource Exchange (Youth CORE), a set of projects that seeks to build a more powerful and well-connected youth organizing field. This webinar focused on Healing, Support, and Transformation: Supporting Young People's Needs While Organizing.