Louisville, Ky. (May 23, 2023) – Metro United Way has announced it is investing $1,037,800 in youth-serving organizations across its seven-county region. With this investment, 37 organizations, 29 of which are BIPOC-led or grassroots organizations, will receive funding and more than 21,000 youth programming hours will be delivered, impacting more than 6,000 young people in year one.
The Youth Success Request for Proposals (RFP) was for a two-year general operating grant open to nonprofits that serve young people ages 6 to 24 in Metro United Way’s seven-county region: Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, and Bullitt counties in Kentucky and Clark, Floyd, and Harrison counties in Indiana. Grants were awarded to organizations that have programs aligned with Metro United Way’s five strategies for Youth Success.
Because it believes learning and development are not solely the responsibility of school systems, Metro United Way emphasizes the importance of an ecosystem approach. To achieve significant gains in educational success, it identified three key domains in the ecosystem: school, home, and the community, and outlined five strategies with specific focus areas within the domains to drive equitable outcomes. Those five strategies are Youth Empowerment, Academic Success, Family Engagement, Youth Wellness, and Transferrable Skills.
These Youth Success grants aim to improve this ecosystem by building partnerships, creating meaningful opportunities, and prioritizing the mental, physical, and emotional health of young people to prepare them for success in school, at home, and in their future careers.
“Young people represent our future in so many ways,” said Adria Johnson, president and CEO of Metro United Way. “We want to do more than just recognize the potential of youth, we want to invest in it. And by investing in their potential, we are investing in the potential of our entire community.”
Metro United Way has shifted to a process of trust-based philanthropy. In doing so, the organization now invests in breakthrough innovations and effective interventions that tackle current challenges, including fostering educational success.
Numerous area organizations will be impacted by the Youth Success grants. One such organization is Out Loud Louisville, which will offer a safe space for youth of marginalized genders between the ages of 10-17 through a 6-day Summer Rock Camp. The youth will take lessons, form bands, write songs, record those songs, and perform them at a community showcase.
Also receiving investment is the ACE Project, which teaches young people how to run businesses. In Louisville, only 2.4% of businesses are Black-owned, and ACE endeavors to boost Black ownership through youth entrepreneurship. Another partner focusing on systems-level change is The Book Works, which will connect education advocates with 150 high-school-age learners who are “off course to graduation.” It will also create an initiative to connect middle and high school youth who have been suspended with neighborhood-based academic and community services.
By investing in youth-serving organizations, Metro United Way envisions safer, healthier, more equitable, and stronger systems that improve the odds of success for all youth in the Greater Louisville region.