In Fall 2020, when a former colleague and I read the Transformational Capacity Building report authored by leaders affiliated with capacity builder RVC, one of the strategies for nonprofits of color called out to us: “invest in the inner well-being and growth of leaders.” At the same time, we were embracing our new strategic directions, which invited us to “support social and emotional well-being for adults and the young people they serve.” As a coalition committed to building the capacity of the youth development field in King County, we have challenged ourselves over the past year to assess how we could be more intentional about the ways we are centering well-being in our programs and activities, and how we are supporting our member organizations to do the same, especially for staff who identify as people of color. It is out of these commitments that our new Thriving Leaders of Color Fund was born.
Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC), with generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will implement a grants award process to provide funding to our member organizations via the Thriving Leaders of Color Fund. YDEKC will distribute $100,000 in one-time investments to fund projects that support YDEKC member organizations to advance, rejuvenate, and/or celebrate leaders of color. Funds may be applied towards projects that support a group of leaders of color, and/or an individual senior leader of color (where “senior” is defined by the organization). Eligible applicants can request awards ranging from $2,500 to $20,000, to be spent by December 31, 2022. We estimate that we will fund approximately 5-15 proposals. We are grateful to our Equity & Engagement Program Committee for their input on the design of this funding opportunity.
Through the Thriving Leaders of Color Fund, YDEKC will recognize, celebrate, and affirm leaders of color who are serving Black, Indigenous, and Youth of Color in the non-profit sector, locally in King County, WA. We will elevate the stories of leaders of color who are advancing racial justice and equity within their organization and/or the youth development sector. We will raise awareness about centering staff well-being with a racial equity lens. And, with this relationship-based, personalized approach, the resources of the Fund will impact the health and well-being of leaders who are critical to the future of our communities.
Learn more about this Fund by reviewing our Frequently Asked Questions, which includes a PDF of the application questions.
Apply for the Thriving Leaders of Color Fund by 11:59 p.m. November 17, 2021. We intend to make announcements by January 7, 2022, with disbursement of awards by February 11, 2022.
Staff of YDEKC member organizations or partners are eligible to serve on the Thriving Leaders of Color Fund Review Committee. We are seeking approximately 12 people, 75% who are people of color, with a diversity of roles, organizations, and experiences to volunteer on this Committee. If you are interested, please complete this Committee Interest form by November 12, 2021.