In Connecticut, youth-led social change remains a field primed to grow in breadth, depth, reach and power. Prior to adopting our mission focus on youth-led social change, PFF engaged in a year-long listening and learning process resulting in the publication A New Role for CT Youth: Leaders of Social Change. Through conversations with practitioners and foundations, the scan identified multiple obstacles, barriers and opportunities facing the field.
Our field building strategy aims to address these challenges by:
1. Engaging in educational outreach and communications to raise awareness about the practice, benefits, and impacts of youth-led social change.
2. Deepening the capacity of youth organizing groups and strengthening the social change and community organizing infrastructure necessary for ensuring those working in the field are connected, in meaningful relationship with each other, and developing innovative and intersectional
strategies for advancing change.
3. Developing partnerships with local and national funders to co-invest in a movement for youth-led social change in Connecticut, and advancing philanthropic practices that create a funding culture and climate more responsive to community leadership and conducive for social justice.
Examples of funder partnerships and philanthropic field connections include:
- Hosting briefings that create opportunities for CT-based funders to learn from other foundations across the country that embrace youth-led change as a critical strategy in pursuit of their broader missions.
- Founding and convening Supporting Organizing Work CT (SOW-CT), a network of local and regional funders interested in identifying areas and opportunities of alignment, partnership, and collaboration in service of strengthening the organizing field across CT and creating space for funders to reflect on how the dynamics of race, class, power and privilege interface with foundations’ desire and efforts to nurture social change.
- Engaging as an active member of the CT Council for Philanthropy, including serving as a tri-chair of the Program Officer Network.
- Serving on the Board of the Funders’ Collaborative for Youth Organizing, a national collaborative dedicated to increasing 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.
- Active membership in affinity groups such as Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, and the National Center for Family Philanthropy.