Building Leadership and Organizing Capacity (BLOC)

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Launched in the fall of 2013, the BLOC Initiative is a three-year, cohort-based capacity building and grant making program designed to build the research, analysis, campaign development and organizing capacity of youth-led social change groups in Connecticut.

How does BLOC work?

PFF’s recent field scan on youth-led social change in Connecticut documented multiple obstacles faced by those engaging youth in social change work around the state. PFF’s BLOC initiative seeks to directly respond to these challenges by:

  • Creating a learning community among youth and practitioners where they can share their expertise and learn from others while building trust, respect, and a sense of belonging to a broader youth-led social change movement in Connecticut.
  • Pairing BLOC partner organizations with experts in the field of youth-led social change and community organizing so they can participate in hands-on, experiential learning opportunities where they will develop the research and organizing skills necessary for sustained youth leadership development and the implementation of long-range strategic change campaigns.
  • Helping BLOC partners ensure their institutional culture, practices, and policies create an organizational environment conducive to youth-led social change.
  • Providing BLOC partner organizations with multiyear general operating grants to support their efforts to deepen and strengthen their youth-led social change efforts.

BLOC organizations participate in monthly workshops, two retreats a year, and received individualized technical assistance and support from the BLOC mentor team.

Who participates in BLOC?

The first BLOC cohort is engaging approximately 25 individuals from five organizations across the state of Connecticut. The cohort brings together youth and adults in a shared learning environment and across issues areas. Organizations receive support from a team of BLOC mentors who have deep experience in youth development, youth action research, and community organizing. Current BLOC organizations include:

What do BLOC members gain?

On a statewide level, the long-term goal of BLOC is to develop strong and effective leadership and youth organizing groups engaged in campaigns that address root causes of injustice and inequity in their communities. On a cohort and organizational level, PFF expects that BLOC partner organizations will:

  • Increase the meaningful inclusion of youth in leadership or decision-making roles in their organizations.
  • Gain tools and skills related to research and organizing that will enhance their ability to develop and implement effective youth organizing campaigns that lead to concrete and lasting change around the issues that youth have identified.
  • Build collaborative relationships and partnerships with others committed to building a movement for youth-led social change in Connecticut.