The Foundation currently focuses its discretionary grantmaking on youth development through our Community Impact Fund. The annual competitive grant cycle, which includes a multi-generational approach, invites proposals from organizations serving at-risk youth and/or their caregivers or capacity building programs.
The Youth Development Initiative was driven by a 2015 community needs assessment which encompassed several exercises in data collection and analysis, and still guides the Foundation's discretionary grantmaking today.
This assessment provided useful insights with several priorities and themes emerging:
- While participants are largely content within their communities, it was evident that needs exist across the region and that more could be done to help children, the elderly and families living at the margin.
- The data reflects communities having greater poverty, less education, and possessing more at-risk characteristics as compared to the state average. The challenges are exacerbated when income and educational data are removed for the census tracks representing the Golden Isles.
- Participants identified the need for integrated educational and workforce development services for at-risk youth and their families or guardians, specifically with regards to soft skills, financial literacy and workforce education.
- Participants underscored the importance of information and referral services, along with transportation, to assist residents in accessing the services and jobs which are available.
- Through data and interviews, the need for economic development to provide jobs and improve the status of young people and families is clear and consistent.