Pilipino Workers Center

What We Are Learning

Youth Organizing

Recap of the Southern California Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative

The Southern California Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative (Y.O.C.B.I.) is a three-year collaboration between the Weingart Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the California Community Foundation, the Liberty Hill Foundation, and The California Endowment, as well as aligned funders including the W.M. Keck Foundation, to strengthen youth organizing across the region. The goal of the initiative centered on strengthening the effectiveness of youth organizing groups advancing racial, social, and economic justice.

The initiative was informed by the collective conversation during the 2017 Equity Convening, feedback from nonprofit and philanthropic partners, and research from Dr. Veronica Terriquez around the critical role that youth as organizers play in advancing social justice movements.

In 2019, funders came together to form the Southern California Youth Organizing Funder Collaborative and pooled resources to provide over $4.1 million in multi-year, unrestricted grants to 26 nonprofit partners across Southern CA.

Through the initiative, youth organizing partners were able to:

  • Grow their base of youth membership;
  • Increase the number of youth receiving formal leadership development;
  • Hire necessary staff to develop the capacity of youth organizers in their communities;
  • Develop high-impact relationships with community-based or grassroots allies, strengthening their networks and collaborations; and
  • Integrate innovative healing justice models into the work.

The Initiative also created a Peer Learning Community where partners could come together to share best practices and ideas. Youth Organize! California, also known as YO! Cali, facilitated the Peer Learning Community that served as a hub of a multi-issue movement for transformation, liberation, healing, collective power, and justice.

We’ve compiled this short video that includes youth leaders speaking about the initiatives, what inspired them, and why investing in youth organizers matters. Participating nonprofit partners of the Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative have been incredibly strategic, nimble and resilient as they responded to the pandemic and uplifted impacted communities of color. We invite you to read the Y.O.C.B.I. evaluation report to learn more about what we’ve learned through this three-year initiative:

Working together, grassroots organizations and funders have an opportunity to build a resilient, multi-racial, cross-regional youth movement that can lead the way for us all.

Additional resources for organizations exploring youth organizing programming: