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Collective Youth Leadership Development

While there are many ways to develop youth leadership, the Perrin Family Foundation supports efforts where youth and adults work together in authentic partnerships, where the development of individual leadership skills is balanced by a commitment to collective voice and shared leadership, and where youth are encouraged to engage with their broader community as they explore and investigate their own community challenges.  This approach to leadership development builds young people’s critical thinking skills and interest in creating community change, creates communities that respect and value young people’s leadership, and paves the way for youth-led social change.

The Perrin Family Foundation does not accepting unsolicited Letters of Inquiry for the Collective Youth Leadership Development grant program. However, if your program embraces an authentic collective youth leadership approach and your program plans to engage in sustained youth organizing work in the near future, please send us an email at so we can include your group in future training opportunities. 

Youth Led Social Change

The Perrin Family Foundation understands youth-led social change as a long-term process that builds the confidence, knowledge, skills, and collective leadership of young people while addressing the root causes of injustice and inequity in their lives and communities.  Youth-led social change organizations equip youth with tools and strategies to take action in order to ensure that communities provide equitable access to the resources and opportunities necessary to support young people’s well-being.  We are particularly interested in supporting youth organizing, which is a proven and effective strategy for creating transformative change in both individuals and communities.  Youth organizing is not simply about mobilizing large numbers of youth to take public action, it is a process that helps young people engage in reflection, develop thoughtful, well-rounded analysis, gain research skills, and learn how to build meaningful relationships with others in pursuit of a common goal.  Organizations interested in submitting a Youth Led Social Change proposal can learn more about how to do so here.

Intermediary Supports

The Perrin Family Foundation recognizes that supporting collective youth leadership and youth led social change in Connecticut also requires supporting organizations that can offer training, expertise and guidance in how to build environments that truly support and engage youth as leaders of social change efforts. To this end, we will consider support to organizations that are directly engaged in providing the following supportive learning opportunities to our partners: developing social emotional support systems for youth leaders; creating environments for important conversations around societal inequities; utilizing the arts to bring about personal and social transformation of youth as they go about the work of creating social change; and building knowledge and skills on how to approach the various steps of youth organizing.  Funding in this program category is by invitation only.


Successful applicants in all these categories must be committed to:

Youth-Adult Partnerships

Rather than seeing youth as passive recipients of services, organizations must create opportunities for youth to work in partnership with adults to take on authentic, meaningful decision-making roles in the programs and organizations in which they participate.  Youth voices are valued, respected, and acted upon.

Leadership Development

Organizations must have a thoughtful and intentional process for developing young people’s leadership capacity.  Rather than focusing solely on individual skill-building, the leadership development model should actively work to develop the shared, collective leadership of a group of young people over a sustained period of time, and encourage young people to take an active role in supporting the leadership development of their fellow participants.

Community Impact

Organizations must seek to impact not just individual youth, but a broader community.  Organizations should actively work to eliminate the invisible boundaries between nonprofit organizations and the communities in which they exist by encouraging and supporting young people to explore, discuss, investigate and address the realities of their lives, experiences and the communities in which they live.


PFF Partner Self Assessment