Mayor Murray announced the Youth Opportunity Fund, a $145,000 fund which will provide flexible mini-grants to support agencies that are providing positive youth development activities for young people. Community organizations, groups, and businesses are encouraged to apply to the grants program.
The Youth Opportunity Fund is connected to the City’s Youth Opportunity Initiative which is focused on ensuring that all youth in Seattle have access to the opportunities and resources needed to allow them to thrive and successfully become an adult. Key elements toward achieving this goal include education, employment, safety, health, and positive connections. The premise of the Fund is that positive youth development is an important antidote to negative or harmful behavior which can too often result in young people being unsafe or involved in the criminal justice system.
Farhiya Mohamed, Executive Director of Somali Family Safety Taskforce, explains the positive impact of the funding the Taskforce received from the City of Seattle Summer Opportunity Fund in 2016: “We brought local community members of African background to mentor these young men and to do capacity building for leadership and empowerment…Despite start-up challenges, the project was a great success. At our celebration party, the young men gave testimonies for how the project helped them. For example, one of our young men, who was a student drop out, went back to school to complete his GED and is now in a community college doing his AA.”
To be eligible, projects should begin by September 1 and end by November 30, 2017. Project requests should range from $5,000-15,000. The application deadline is Tuesday, June 20 at 5 p.m. A pre-proposal information session and workshop will be held to discuss the funding opportunity and learn more about the process for review, approval, and contracting. In addition, individual help sessions will be available by appointment. For details, along with the application, visit the Youth Opportunity Fund website.
This Fund is a key piece of the Summer of Opportunity and Safety, a City-led effort to expand summer programming for youth through grant-funded programs, Seattle Parks Department activities and youth jobs. These programs help connect youth to opportunities across the city, focusing attention on positive activity that itself is a strong violence prevention measure. Additionally, the City is unveiling a new portal, www.Seattle.gov/youth-opportunity, where those looking for summer activities can find places to apply or drop-in programs throughout the summer.
The Youth Opportunity Fund is administered by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Human Services Department. For information, guidelines, and the application, please visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/youth-opportunity-fund.