This article examines the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan’s launch of a broad-based, multilayered strategy to promote youth leadership in the region, and showcases what can be accomplished when foundations invest in such strategies.
In partnership with the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, the foundation helped develop comprehensive programs aimed at building the capacity of youth-serving organizations to engage youth as leaders, support a youth-driven research assessment and social-justice project, and provide funds for youth-run efforts aimed at strengthening the region’s schools and communities.
As a result of the initiative, young people were empowered, organizations strengthened, networks developed, and the promise of youth leadership was demonstrated to the region. Although the full impact of the initiative may take longer to be understood, its success can be seen in the ways the region’s young people and organizations, and the foundation itself, now incorporate youth leadership.
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Richards-Schuster, K., & Brisson, K. G. (2016). Strengthening Youth Leadership in a Metropolitan Region: Examining Lessons From a Multiyear Community Foundation Initiative. The Foundation Review, 8(3). https://doi.org/10.9707/1944-5660.1310