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.