Supporting Youth Organizing: A Tale of Unexpected Insights


In August 2016, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) commissioned Algorhythm to conduct an evaluation of eight (out of the twelve they were funding at the time) Amplifying Student Voice and Leadership (ASVL) grantees so they could learn more about their efforts supporting youth organizing work over a five-year period. Through this study, we have gained three key insights, many unexpected, that might support other grantmakers as they consider how to support youth-led social change initiatives.

Thanks to the Algorhythm study—and several other simultaneous studies it commissioned, in which racial equity emerged as a core theme—NMEF is realizing that it will need to address equity more directly, specifically when it comes to supporting youth organizing work. We have developed this issue brief for funders who support youth organizing groups or those considering doing so, and we hope the insights shared can help any donor trying to develop effective youth-adult partnerships.

Supporting youth organizations means creating space for youth to name and advance their own agendas.