Funding And Grant Resources For Nonprofits Focused On Youth Programs

Maddie Zeigler, M.Ed.September 14, 2021

grant funding for youth programs

For nonprofits whose target audience is primarily underserved youth, the task of finding funding shouldn’t be difficult. Many foundations focus much of their philanthropy work on youth empowerment—and for good reason. The youth will eventually be the citizens and leaders of tomorrow and ultimately make invaluable contributions to their families, economic growth, peace building, and sustainable development for all of our communities.

The foundations on this list are just a few of the many that understand the importance that youth empowerment plays in helping young people from all backgrounds grow and excel during this critical stage of their life.

See if any of the funders serve your community and if you qualify for funding. If your nonprofit serves other areas, check out the other funder lists I recently wrote, including ones on Education, Arts & Culture, and Environment & Conservation.

Grant Research Tip: While there are more than 100,000 potential grant funders across the United States, they typically are very specific in what they fund and where they fund. For that reason, your organization and its activities will not be of interest to most of the funders out there. 

Your job is to find those grantmakers who ARE interested in what you do. Visit Grantli to learn how I do my grant research and exactly how you can find the funders that align with your own organization.

Funding Priority: Youth Programs

Global Fund for Children

The Global Fund for Children engages young people who are also the least likely to have access to mainstream education and training, including girls, refugees, young people with disabilities, and youth engaged in hazardous work. They prioritize programs that advance young people’s political and civil participation and rights, that amplify youth voices, increase their decision-making powers, and raise awareness of their rights and needs, and that empower young people to educate and inspire their peers to act.

Areas served: Worldwide

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. They accept applications at any time. There are no deadlines or specific grantmaking cycles.

Areas served: Mexico, Haiti, US (priority: Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New Orleans)

National Park Trust

The National Park Trust, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, is offering the Every Kid Outdoors Transportation Grants Program, which will support the transportation and activity needs of nonprofit organizations and schools across the United States that are connecting elementary school-aged youth to public lands. Grants up to $5,000 will be provided to schools and organizations looking for the funding needed to connect kids in their community to local public lands and waters through a positive and impactful outdoor experience.

Areas served: US

Allstate Foundation

The Allstate Foundation works to empower youth to succeed at school, in their communities, and in life, and is committed to fostering their ability to become equitable and inclusive leaders and establish healthy personal relationships that are free of violence. The Foundation’s current funding opportunity will grant $3 million across two focus areas: The Relationship Violence Prevention Programs & Inclusive Leadership Programs for Youth and Educators. Learn more on their website.

Areas served: US

Kars4Kids Foundation

The Kars4Kids Small Grant Program’s mission is to support the development of youth into productive and engaged members of society. They accept submissions from any United States-based, IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations focused on work that benefits America’s children. Grants typically range from $500-$2,000, depending on such factors as mission alignment and availability of funds.

Areas served: US

Good Sports

Good Sports creates opportunities in sports and physical activity for kids through donations of brand new sports equipment, apparel, and footwear. Their goal is to help youth-serving programs increase the total number of youth participants, enhance the experience for all young people involved, and create new opportunities in physical activity for the kids they serve. They accept applications on a rolling basis.

Areas served: US

Lucile Packard Foundation For Children’s Health

The Lucile Packard Foundation invests in programs and projects that contribute to improving systems of care for children with special health care needs and their families. They pursue systems change through three focus areas: care coordination, family engagement, and systems and standards. They give priority to programs and projects that can affect a large number of children and families, build on existing knowledge, and have the potential for sustainability and replicability.

Areas served: US

Ben & Jerry’s Foundation

The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation supports grassroots groups throughout the United States and its territories that organize for racial equity and social and environmental justice. But specifically in Vermont, through their Community Action Team Program they fund organizations that address basic human needs (such as food, housing, health, elder and childcare) within Vermont’s under-served populations, including elders, youth, low-income and communities of color.

Areas served: Vermont

Daniels Fund

The Daniels Fund focuses on supporting highly effective and ethical nonprofit organizations that achieve significant results in the community. They support character-building programs that help youth become confident, patriotic, and independent. 

Areas served: Colorado, Wyoming

Highland Street Foundation

The Highland Street Foundation is committed to addressing the most pressing needs and concerns for children and families in Massachusetts and California. They provide access and opportunities in education, housing, mentorship, health care, environment, and the arts. While they do not accept unsolicited requests for funding, they will accept a letter of inquiry from organizations that align with their priorities.

Areas served: Massachusetts, California

WHAS Crusade for Children

The WHAS Crusade for Children makes life better for children with special needs by inspiring generosity with their community partners. Established in 1954 by WHAS-TV, WHAS raises money for agencies, schools, and hospitals to better the lives of special needs children. Together they provide resources to impact all children with special needs.

Areas served: Kentucky, southern Indiana

Cleveland Foundation

The Cleveland Foundation is the community foundation serving Greater Cleveland, including Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties. It is made up of more than 1,300 funds representing individuals, families, organizations, and corporations. Its mission is to enhance the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland, now and for generations to come.

Areas served: Cleveland/Ohio

The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation invests in a broad range of nonprofit organizations working to strengthen and improve their community. Grant funds are made available across a variety of categories, based on donor intent and the guidance of our Governing Committee. Their Fund for Targeted Needs supports a wide variety of donor interests, including health, animal welfare, community improvement, conservation, youth development, substance abuse, special populations, and more.

Areas served: Columbus/Ohio

Robin Hood

Robin Hood is New York City’s largest poverty-fighting organization. For over thirty years, they’ve been finding, fueling, and creating the most impactful and scalable solutions to lift families out of poverty in New York City. They partner with more than 250 nonprofits to provide food, housing, education, legal services, workforce development, and more to New Yorkers living in poverty across all five boroughs.

Areas served: New York City

The Skillman Foundation

Through grantmaking and relationship building, the Skillman Foundation leverages networks of champions that share a vision of equity in school and outside of it, where all kids have access to the support they need to thrive. They believe that by “placing children at the center of this movement, their well-being becomes the focus of their collective work, and with it comes higher achieving students, highly-engaged young people, and a brighter future for Detroit.” Check out their current funding opportunities.

Areas served: Detroit/Michigan

The Dallas Foundation

The Dallas Foundation hosts a wide variety of funds established by donors—individuals, families, corporations, and organizations—all with a broad range of interests. Check out their funding opportunities including their funds focused on children and families.

Areas served: Dallas/Texas

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