RESOURCE

FCYO Powerful Transformations Capacity Building Initiative RFP

Introduction

The Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing is excited to release the request for proposals for a new capacity building initiative: Powerful Transformations: Strengthening, Evaluating, and Funding the Impact of Youth Organizing on Individual Young People. This project will support eight to ten well established youth organizing groups to understand, strengthen, and measure how they support young people’s social/emotional, academic, and basic needs as they organize. In addition, groups will receive training to reach new funders, especially those funders that focus on outcomes for individual young people.

This is the third year in a row that FCYO has offered a capacity building initiative for a small cohort of youth organizing groups. These initiatives are intended to help groups strengthen their skills in specific areas and draw lessons that can be shared with the larger field. Past initiatives focused on financial management and digital organizing. Participants in other FCYO grantmaking programs are eligible for this program and participation in this program will not disqualify organizations from other FCYO programs.

One of the great challenges of youth organizing is figuring out how to support young people’s holistic needs while at the same time organizing powerful campaigns. Over the last several years, youth organizing groups have increasingly incorporated programs to support their members’ basic needs and development. Research shows that youth organizing is a highly effective way to improve social and emotional, academic, and civic engagement outcomes for young people. Because of the relative lack of funding for youth organizing, groups have typically not had the resources to adequately measure or communicate these impacts.

In addition, FCYO recently conducted a research project to identify new funders that might support youth organizing and the messages most likely to reach them. This research found that there are a number of funders who care about outcomes for young people that might support youth organizing groups, but that different approaches to communicating with these funders are needed. The research project produced tools and messages that youth organizing groups can use to better communicate with these funders.

The capacity building work in Powerful Transformations will be broken into two parts. In the first part, participants will receive support to assess, strengthen, and measure how they support youth members. Participants will look at how they are already supporting the development of youth leaders, share models with each other, and assess how these practices connect to the research on youth development and social/emotional learning. Participants will then create an individualized theory of change that describes how young people benefit from participation in their program. In addition, participants will utilize an online tool to conduct pre and post surveys to assess impacts on their members. Finally, participants will learn how to use the survey data to improve programs and communicate with funders.

In the second part of the program, participants will receive support on how to reach new funders, especially those focused on outcomes for individual young people (as opposed to those focused on organizing and campaigns). Using the research from FCYO’s Shared Narrative project, participants will learn how to identify potential new funders and and how to develop messages appropriate to different types of funders, such as youth development funders and community foundations. Each organization will develop a plan to improve foundation fundraising and will receive one-on-one coaching to implement that plan.

Organizations selected for the cohort will identify two organizational leaders to participate in all cohort activities (see list of activities below). This should include one person with a leadership role in fundraising and one person with a leadership role in youth organizing and leadership development. Participation of the Executive Director or head of the youth organizing program is recommended. Participants will receive a $10,000 grant, half at the start and half upon completion of the program.

Powerful Transformations is intended for well-established youth organizing groups who have a track record for strong campaigns and an intentional youth leadership development program. Applicants should have already put some thought to how they support the holistic needs of their members. Applicants should have a strong desire to strengthen their supports for individual youth members and reach youth development and other funders not focused on or experienced with supporting youth organizing. Participants must be willing to adjust how they talk about their work to reach different types of funders.

Training Team

  • Carolyn Laub provides strategic consulting for non-profit organizations, coalitions, and foundations on strategy development, policy advocacy, strategic communications, fundraising, coalition and network development, scaling and replication, and movement building. Her consulting practice draws on her experience as a strategic and visionary social justice movement leader with extensive experience as a non-profit executive, social entrepreneur, and community organizer. Carolyn is the founder and former executive director (1998-2014) of an innovative and award-winning youth leadership social justice non-profit, Gay-Straight Alliance Network (now called Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network). As a strategist with Wonder: Strategies for Good, she helped lead FCYO’s Shared Narrative research project on funding for youth organizing.
  • Kim Sabo Flores, Ph.D., is Co-Founder and CEO of Algorhythm a company that builds solutions to ignite ongoing learning and drive impact in the nonprofit sector. Kim has been a constant “activator” throughout her professional career, making the arts, youth development, evaluation concepts and complex data both real AND functional for everyone around her. She makes evaluation processes and products both useful AND accessible for all, particularly engaging youth in the process. Kim has conducted international research and evaluation projects that have focused on youth development, civic engagement, children’s rights, post conflict, protection, international development and a variety of social issues. She has worked with organizations such as The Cricket Island Foundation, The Robert Bowne Foundation, Thrive Foundation for Youth, Target, Save the Children, and InnoNet.

Informational Webinar

Please join us for an informational webinar on March 21, at 12PM ET where we will discuss this program and answer any questions. Register here!

Goals

  • To assist youth organizing groups in understanding, strengthening, and measuring how they support young people’s social/emotional, academic, and basic needs as they organize.
  • To increase the capacity of youth organizing groups to reach new foundation funders, especially those funders that focus on outcomes for individual young people.

Participants will engage in the following activities:

  • Identify two organizational leaders to participate in all cohort activities. This should include one person with a leadership role in fundraising and one person with a leadership role in youth organizing and leadership development. Participation of the Executive Director or head of the youth organizing program is recommended.
  • Conduct an initial assessment of current youth supports, evaluation, and fundraising capacity.
  • Attend a two-day kick off training for all participants to be held June 5-6 (costs covered by FCYO, location TBD).
  • Participate in 8 web based trainings to further knowledge and share learnings among the cohort.
  • Utilize an online evaluation tool to conduct pre and post surveys for a cohort of youth leaders (participants will have access to the evaluation tool for 2 years).
  • Develop a plan to improve foundation fundraising and receive 12-15 hours of one-on-one coaching on implementation

Training topics will include:

  • Understanding the language of youth development and social and emotional learning
  • Evaluating outcomes for individual young people
  • Using data to improve programs
  • The youth organizing funding landscape
  • Communicating about youth organizing to different types of funders
  • Foundation fundraising strategies such as prospecting, storytelling, and site visits.

Outcomes for participating organizations:

  • Deeper understanding of youth development and social and emotional learning language and their connections to youth organizing activities and outcomes
  • An individualized research-based logic model articulating how young people benefit from participation in your organization
  • Increased capacity to evaluate outcomes for individual young people and a research validated evaluation using the YD iLearning System tools.
  • Increased capacity to use data to drive staff development, program improvements and effective communication with donors and funders.
  • A strategic fundraising plan to identify and target new foundation funders
  • Increased capacity to articulate program impact (including both individual and community level impacts and utilizing proposals, meetings, site visits, and more) to different kinds of funders with a specific focus on youth development funders

Criteria:

  • Have a well established youth organizing program that engages low-income young people and young people of color ages 13-18 in campaigns to address root causes of inequity
  • Have a strong track record of successful campaigns and developing the leadership of young people Have an intentional leadership development program for youth leaders
  • Have already put some thought to how to support the social/emotional, academic, and basic needs of youth leaders
  • Have the ability and desire to strengthen supports for individual young people and adjust how you describe your work to different types of foundation funders including funders who do not fund organizing
  • Have the ability and desire to participate in all cohort activities
  • Have at least two full time staff or the equivalent

Timeline:

  • March 10, 2017 - Release RFP
  • April 3, 2017 - Proposals Due
  • April 28, 2017 - Cohort selected
  • May, 2017 - Conduct final youth survey
  • June 5-6, 2017 - Kick-off Training
  • June, 2017 - Webinars and coaching begin
  • October, 2017 - Conduct baseline youth survey
  • June, 2018 - Close

RFP Process

Step 1: Youth Organizing Landscape Map Profile

Please complete your organizational profile on the FCYO Youth Organizing Landscape Map.. If you already have a profile, please make sure it is complete and up to date! This profile is the first step in any application for FCYO programs; so keeping this profile maintained will save you work on the long run. This site will also help us share information about the great work that youth organizers are doing with funders and the wider community. For any questions or concerns around your map profile, please contact Will Buford (will@fcyo.org)

Step 2: Cover Page

Create a cover page with all of the following information:

  • Organization Name
  • Name of Fiscal Sponsor (if applicable)
  • Address
  • Contact Person Name
  • Contact Person Phone
  • Contact Person Email
  • Organizational Budget ($X,XXXX)
  • Age of young people involved (check all that apply):
    • 13-18
    • 18-25
    • 25-30
  • Can you commit to sending two staff people to the initial training June 5-6 (location TBD, costs covered by FCYO)?
  • A one paragraph summary of your proposal

Step 3: Narrative

Please complete a narrative answering all of the following questions below. Please include the question prompts. Do not exceed three pages.

  1. How do you currently support the leadership and holistic development of your members? Describe your leadership development program and any other services or supports you offer to your members. If you do offer supports do you do it internally or through partnerships with other organizations? How many young people are involved?
  2. How do you currently measure or evaluate the impact of your work on your members? Do you do a formal evaluation? Do they complete any kind of survey?
  3. How is your youth organizing program currently funded? How much of your funding comes from organizing funders, issue based funders, youth development funders, community foundations, etc…? What has been your experience (successes and failures) reaching out to youth development and other funders not focused on organizing?
  4. Who specifically from your organization would participate in this program? What do you want to get out of it and how would this strengthen your organization?

Step 4: Attachments:

  • 501(c)3 determination letter
  • List of Board of Directors
  • Organizational budget for the current year (be sure to include a list of all foundation funders giving $5K or more)
  • Most recent financial statements (audited if possible)

Submitting Your Proposal by April 3, 2017 at 8pm ET.

All documents should be in PDF format. Please name files as follows ORG NAME.NARRATIVE.pdf. For attachments, please use the same naming criteria: ORG NAME.BUDGET.pdf. Please complete the following steps; if you have any questions or concerns, please email grants@fcyo.org.

  1. Create one compressed or zipped folder that includes all your final documents (step 2-4).
  2. Upload this compressed/zipped folder through a secure Dropbox link found here.
  3. Email your Cover Letter (only please) as final confirmation to grants@fcyo.org including "Powerful Transformations Confirmation" in the subject line

Submission of a proposal does not guarantee approval of and receiving a grant. All applications will be reviewed by FCYO and we unfortunately have a limited amount of funds for this project. You will be notified on or about April 28, 2017 regarding our decision concerning your grant application.

About FCYO

Founded in 2000, the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) is a dynamic collective of social justice funders and youth organizing practitioners dedicated to advancing youth organizing as a strategy for youth development and social change. FCYO’s mission is to increase resources to the field of youth organizing and promote the leadership of low-income young people and young people of color in social justice organizing. Our work is focused on the following program areas:

  • Strategic Grantmaking & Capacity Building: to strengthen the organizational capacity, sustainability, power, and efficacy of youth organizing groups
  • Infrastructure Development: to build a more connected youth organizing field with shared strategies to engage more young people, expand power, and address pressing issues
  • Funder Advocacy and Communications: to build an aligned and growing base of funders committed to youth organizing and to expand the base of knowledge about this work.