Advancing the Leadership and Learning of California Youth

June 27, 2024

by Sophie Fanelli and Miguel A. Santana

Isadora Kosofsky/CatchLight for Stuart Foundation

As presidents of foundations deeply invested in the well-being of California youth, we are excited to partner on a new initiative designed to honor and advance their leadership and learning and prepare them for wherever their post-high school dreams take them.

Today we are announcing the California Thriving Youth Initiative, a collaborative effort of the Stuart Foundation and the California Community Foundation (CCF). The Initiative is seeded with a $30 million investment from the Stuart Foundation and is enhanced by investments from a diverse group of regional, statewide, and national funders.  Designed to meet this unique moment of both opportunity and challenge for today’s adolescents, the initiative is comprised of two complementary funds, both housed at CCF:

  • The Purpose of Education Fund (POE) will focus on strengthening adolescents’ sense of belonging, purpose, and agency in their schools and communities. Through the Fund, we are committed to asserting the essential role that public education plays in sustaining a vibrant multiracial democracy and affirming adolescents as leaders and stewards of these civic environments.
  • The Youth Thriving Through Learning Fund (YTL) will capitalize on the state’s unprecedented investments in community schools, dual enrollment, college and career pathways, and in related systems to reimagine adolescent learning, supports, and opportunities to better prepare all young people to pursue their goals for college, career, and civic life.

At a time when national education debates have become increasingly polarized and politicized, California continues to advance and invest in policy and practice shifts rooted in a commitment to equity and to supporting a whole child education – based on an understanding that young people succeed academically when we attend to the full range of their developmental needs.  We believe philanthropy has the opportunity and responsibility to meet these commitments with catalytic investments of our own. We believe in the talents, leadership, and promise of California’s adolescents – the majority of whom are BIPOC youth – and that our investments can multiply their opportunities and, in the process, help our neighborhoods, schools, and cities thrive.  We also know that if our economy is to become more equitable, the planet healthier, and democracy stronger, young people must lead the way.

Over the coming weeks and months, you’ll hear more from us and our partners about this exciting Initiative. For now, we invite you to join us in celebrating and investing in today’s adolescents – the leaders, creators, and visionaries who will propel California into a more just and sustainable future.

To learn more, visit: California Thriving Youth Initiative

 


Sophie Fanelli is the president of the Stuart Foundation and Miguel A. Santana is the president and chief executive officer of the California Community Foundation.

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