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Lived Experience Impact Grant

Youth Villages Announces Lived Experience Impact Grants

Grants support organizations across the country led by individuals with lived experience and who improve outcomes for transition-age youth

Feb 9, 2024 | News Release, LifeSet

Memphis, Tenn. – Youth Villages has announced its Lived Experience Impact Grant recipients for 2024. These grants support organizations led by individuals with lived experience in child welfare systems who are improving outcomes for transition-age young people through programming, advocacy and systems reform.

The grants range in size from $25K to $80K and will be dispensed on varying schedules over the next two years. In addition, many of the awardees are interested in partnerships with Youth Villages beyond funding to include things like functional support, aligning in advocacy efforts and co-sponsoring events and activities in the future.

“We’re excited to award the Lived Experience Impact grants to these worthy organizations,” said Catherine Smith, Youth Villages managing director of business planning and policy. “We share a common goal of supporting young people as they make the transition to adulthood. We look forward to partnering with these organizations and their respective leaders who will bring invaluable lived expertise and important perspective. Together, we will have an even greater positive impact on services and outcomes for transition-age young people across the country.”

More than 30 organizations from across the country applied for the grants. After a thorough evaluation process that included application reviews by Youth Villages staff and its Lived Experience Corps members (more than 50% of the grant committee had lived experience in child welfare systems) and oral presentations from the top 12 scoring organizations, the grants were awarded to the following eight organizations:

  • California Youth Connection/Oregon Foster Youth Connection (statewide in Oregon) — To establish OFYC as an independent, transition-age youth led advocacy organization to drive policy change across the state.
  • Florida’s Children First/Florida Youth SHINE (statewide in Florida) — To launch the first phase of the youth-led “YouthCanSHINE” campaign to drive greater change through advocacy and create statewide awareness of the supports that young people in care need to be successful.
  • Found Village (Cincinnati, Ohio) — To expand the support offered to transition-age young people in Hamilton County, Ohio by investing in staffing and program development to deliver the “Launch to Independence” program, which offers focused and intentional age-appropriate coaching, life skills training and career advancement opportunities for young people exiting foster care.
  • Freedom Forward (San Francisco, California) — To fund a guaranteed income pilot for transition-age young people aging out of foster care who are survivors of sexual exploitation in San Francisco.
  • Propelling into Triumph (Miami, Florida) — To expand a life skills coaching and mentorship program for transition-age young people in Miami, Florida.
  • SUN Scholars (Connecticut; nationwide project) — To build an AI-powered online education resource for transition-age young people who are graduating high school and the education professionals who support them.
  • Winston Rhea Scholars (New Orleans, Louisiana) — To serve transition-age young people in Louisiana and South Carolina through the expansion of a high-touch, intensive coaching/mentorship program that includes post-high school goal setting and financial support.
  • YSS Rooftop Gardens (Des Moines, Iowa) — To provide workforce/professional development for child welfare and juvenile justice involved youth through a sustainable farming initiative.
California Youth Connection logo Freedom Forward logo Found Village logo Florida's Children First Fighting For Children's Rights logo Propelling Into Triumph logo YSS Rooftop Gardens logo Winston Rhea Scholars Logo Sun Scholars logo

About Youth Villages

Youth Villages is a national leader in mental and behavioral health committed to finding the most effective solutions to help children, families and young adults overcome obstacles and live successfully. Working through direct services, partnerships with other high-performing agencies and advocacy, we collaborate to bring positive change to child welfare, children’s mental health and justice systems. Our 4,000 employees serve more than 39,000 children, families and young adults in more than 100 locations in 26 states and D.C. Youth Villages has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at 

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