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Youth First Initiative — General Support (2017)

State campaign leaders and Youth First staff on a site visit to Roca and other community-based programs in October 2017. (Photo courtesy of Youth First)
Organization Name 
Award Date 
Grant Amount 
For general support.
Topic (focus area) 

Published: December 2017
Grant investigator: Chloe Cockburn

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigator. Youth First staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended a grant of $250,000 to the Youth First Initiative (Youth First) for general support. Youth First is undertaking a coordinated national advocacy campaign with the ultimate goals of completely ending youth incarceration, closing youth prisons, and redirecting young people to community-based programs. Youth First is a project of New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

This funding represents a renewal of our $250,000 grant to Youth First in 2016. Since that time, Youth First’s campaign has contributed to the successful closure of two prisons and built pressure toward closing two more. Youth First plans to use this new funding to support its Youth Leaders Network, which will provide training, organizing, and leadership development for young people.

Our Program Officer for Criminal Justice Reform, Chloe Cockburn, considers Youth First’s Executive Director, Liz Ryan, an exceptionally talented advocate with the strategic capacity and drive to make its vision a reality. While Chloe has chosen not to prioritize work on youth incarceration, she believes the work of Youth First is so strong that another grant was warranted.

This is a discretionary grant, and falls within our focus area of criminal justice reform.