Five years into our Youth Fund for Social Change, we remain humbled and inspired by the many young people who are taking a stand and transforming systems that harm them and their peers. Over the past five years, we have seen young people advocate for a trauma center in their neighborhood, engage their elders to break cycles of violence, come out as “undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic,” and work to empower homeless LGBT youth, among other issues.
One of the aspects that makes the Youth Fund so powerful is that grantmaking decisions are made by a committee of young people who are themselves involved in social justice work. This year's Youth Fund Grantmaking Committee brought together four impressive activists from different communities and movements:
- Cindy Ibarra has worked with the Southwest Youth Collaborative and the Young Women's Empowerment Project, and shared her passion for restorative justice and creating safe spaces, especially for youth of color;
- David Fischer brought a critical eye towards gender and sexuality from his work with the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance;
- Veronica Morris-Moore has organized with Fearless Leading by the Youth to demand critical health services in her South Side community, and is dedicated to supporting young women organizers;
- and Razan Abu-Hashish brought her multiple identities, as well as an emphasis on how theory meets practice.
Thanks to the hard work and input of our grantmaking committee, the Board of the Crossroads Fund has chosen 21 outstanding projects and organizations to receive grants from the Youth Fund for Social Change this year.
As we look toward our next 30 years as a resource for grassroots social change groups in the Chicago area, Crossroads Fund rededicates itself to supporting the development of youth leaders, through our many youth oriented initiatives: Through our Youth Fund for Social Change; the Lisa Fittko Internship, which immerses one young person each year in all aspects of our work; our Youth Fund grantmaking committee; technical assistance trainings; and movement-building convenings all designed to meet the needs of youth organizations.
Around the world, youth-led movements are rising up to secure youth a voice in the decisions that directly affect them. We are proud to help partner in this work.
2012 YOUTH FUND FOR SOCIAL CHANGE GRANTS
A Long Walk Home's Girl/Friends Leadership Institute is an art-based, youth-led program in the North Lawndale neighborhood that allows young women to address dating, domestic and sexual violence in their communities and schools. $1,500
Affinity Community Services Leadership Institute’s Youth Summit, organized by a cohort of young LGBT African American women, builds community across Chicago and addresses issues of internalized oppression and violence. $1,500
Benton House is a direct service provider in the Bridgeport community that is launching a food justice initiative with young people to look at issues of food insecurity and encourage civic engagement. $1,500
Blocks Together's Peace Ambassadors Leadership Program trains young people to use restorative justice circles in West Humboldt Park schools as an alternative to the school to prison pipeline. $2,000
The Peer Advocate Project is a leadership development group at the Broadway Youth Center, a drop-in space for LGBT homeless and street-based youth, who are primarily youth of color. $2,000
Chicago Area Friends of SNCC This grant supported youth involvement in an intergenerational public event to celebrate the opening of the “Tell the Story” exhibit, which collects the stories of the Chicago area chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. $1,000
Chicago-New Orleans Collaboration is a group of young people from four Chicago area schools (Julian, Little Village Social Justice, Kelly and Gage Park) making their sixth annual trip to New Orleans to assist in rebuilding efforts, create relationships and learn about issues that affect both cities, like housing, gentrification, racism and the privatization of education. $1,500
Circles and Ciphers is a hip hop leadership development program for young men located in the Rogers Park neighborhood, which advocates restorative justice alternatives to incarceration. Their “Time Lords” program generates intergenerational dialogue for community healing. $1,500
Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) is an organizing project at Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), which is working to get a trauma center reopened at the University of Chicago hospital. $2,000
Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) is the youth organizing program at Korean American Resource and Cultural Center. This grant supports a pan-Asian youth cultural celebration launching a get-out-the-vote campaign for the 2012 presidential election. $1,500
Foundation for Community Change is comprised of youth leaders across three Southside, predominately African American Chicago communities. They utilize visual and performing arts to elevate youth voices about issues of violence, and to create an alternative to zero tolerance policies that silence youth. $1,500
Free Street Theater's DISTRACTED #internalrevolution play links issues affecting local youth to national and global issues like the Arab spring and youth-led revolutions around the world. $1,500
Imagine Englewood If… is organizing a youth-led campaign to create a community center in the Englewood neighborhood to counteract violence. $1,500
Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL) is organizing a series of discussions and workshops to encourage mental health professionals and institutions to address the needs of undocumented young people. $3,000
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization's youth led programs educate area youth about environmental justice issues, as well as advocating for community gardening at schools. $2,500
Nuestra Voz organizes around local and national immigration policies, while empowering undocumented students in the Western Suburbs to pursue their college education regardless of immigration status. $2,000
Ollin's Nonviolence Leadership Institute and the Little Village Youth Groups Nonviolence Network promote nonviolent resistance techniques and community-building within the Little Village neighborhood. $3,500
Pilsen Youth Equalizer Corps is a youth project at Centro Sin Fronteras that organizes around healthcare access, immigration and community violence. They publish “The Liberator” magazine which addresses these and other issues affecting youth. $2,000
The Chicago Wisdom Project creates youth-driven creative projects in various media to respond to issues of trauma experienced by youth and promote social justice. $1,500
Young Women’s Empowerment Project's Street Youth Rise Up campaign is organizing around a Bill of Rights drafted by street youth and young people affected by the sex trade and other street economies, outlining what kind of treatment they have a right to expect from institutions in their communities, including healthcare providers, social service agencies, and the police. $3,000
Youth Outlook organizes LGBTQ youth in the Western Suburbs (Naperville, Aurora, DeKalb and others) to provide community education workshops to counteract heterosexism and homophobia to promote inclusivity. $2,000