What Helps Young Adults Thrive? Funding for Innovative Projects from the Thrive Foundation

Eight organizations will soon be adding services and expanding innovative programs for positive youth development, thanks to a new infusion of $2.4 million from the Thrive Foundation. The new grantees will each receive $300,000 in unrestricted funding over the next two years to accelerate their work.

Founded in 1995 by Silicon Valley investor Bob King and his wife Dottie, the Thrive Foundation for Youth is laser-focused on helping young people during the pivotal developmental years of 10 to 18. Thrive funds programs that take a proactive approach including mentoring and engagement in community activity like sports, development of language and media skills, and paid internships. 

What was Thrive looking for most when it selected its grantees? Demonstrated impact, and the quality of their approach to reaching disadvantaged youth. Each grantee had to show the value of their programming to improve "meaningful learning experiences." All eight grantees have professional staff members who provide day-to-day mentoring and are expected to be role models for consistency, compassion, and trustworthiness. Collectively, these organizations work with approximately 15,000 young people throughout the United States.

And the grantees are:

1.The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (New York, NY):  a supportive youth development model with a focus on holistic and long-term support. BHSS also publishes curricula and collections of its members’ writings, trains educators, and advises on educational policy in NYC and nationally.

2. Colorado UpLift (Denver, CO): a training and mentorship organization that helps underserved youth with an emphasis on staff-student relationships and student peer leadership.

3. Friends of the Children (Portland, OR): a nationwide organization providing salaried professional mentoring. Friends selects the highest risk children and commits to working with those children from kindergarten to graduation, providing consistent positive support and engagement.

4. Girls Inc. of Alameda County (Oakland, CA): supports girls through guidance on healthy living, education, and positive role modeling.

5. Latin American Youth Center (Washington, D.C.) focused on a diverse youth population with mentoring to enhance social, academic, and career skills.

6. Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI) (Portland, OR) works with more than 7,500 youth and families to enhance community stability and family support through mentoring and other programs. We covered SEI here.

7. Youth Guidance (Chicago, IL): multiple school-based programs that enable at-risk youth to overcome obstacles, focus on their education and graduate with a meaningful life plan. Its Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) program provides in-school programming as well as after-school sports to develop "skills strongly correlated with reductions in violent and anti-social behavior."

8. Youth Radio (Oakland, CA):  the nation's leading syndicator of youth voices, with model programs for media and  technology education. The organization provides thousands of low-income youth with technology training, paid employment, and wraparound support services to help youth get college- or career-ready.