GTCF Youth Philanthropy Board Takes the Lead in Improving Community Connections for Justice-Involved Youth
Since 2011, GTCF’s Youth Philanthropy Board (YPB) has provided young people in Pierce County an opportunity to identify, explore, and address their concerns for their community by using philanthropic resources to support change.
This year, the YPB identified youth returning to community after court-involvement as a major issue they wanted to address. The process they took in funding organizations to better serve those youth centered around a special convening with organizations who serve court-involved youth. YPB members learned more about the work the organizations were doing and shared ideas from their lived experience about programs and policies.
“We decided to create a dialogue with organizations who are actually working with court-involved youth so we have a better understanding of what is happening in our community and how we can make the biggest impact when we do give out grants.” – Emily Schell, Youth Philanthropy Board Member
In preparation for the convening, Youth Philanthropy Board members took the lead in making decisions about who should attend, how the dialogue would be formatted, and what questions they wanted to ask.
“These youth and young adults are the future leaders of Pierce County…” said Janece Levien, GTCF Program Officer, “so we have to start listening to them, understanding them, and giving them the space to have their voice hear and actions taken from it.”
During the convening, YPB members posed questions to a panel of representatives from Pierce County Juvenile Court, Pierce County Executive’s Office and Team Child to better understand causes and alternatives to court-involvement for youth. Participants from 14 local organizations also discussed how youth voice could play a bigger role in their work.
Following the convening, participants from these Pierce County organizations received a total of $72,500 in general operating grants:
Oasis Youth Center
Opportunity Center of Orting – The Haven Teen Center
Safe Streets – Youth-Serving Agencies Network (YSAN)
Tacoma Community Boat Builders