Youth Leadership Development Grants Addressing equitable recovery and economic mobility through equitable education.

Funding Purpose

Youth Leadership Development grants will focus on strategies designed to develop youth as leaders, prepare youth for future success, and build resiliency.  Made possible with the support of Blue Meridian Partners, $8 million has been committed over two years to reverse disparities in San Antonio, particularly those magnified by the coronavirus pandemic, and advance economic mobility for young people and their families.   

The Area Foundation is honored to serve as one of two Anchor Partners for the initiative, leading the community grantmaking component of the work. UP Partnership is the overall initiative lead and backbone, driving a citywide planning process with a coalition of 175 cross-sector youth-serving institutions throughout Bexar County.  The City of San Antonio is serving as the initiative's second Anchor Partner. Several community organizations in UP Partnership's coalition have also been identified to serve as Implementation Partners.    

Of the $8 million contributed by Blue Meridian Partners, the Area Foundation will receive $2.1 million to support the initiative’s grantmaking efforts.   Of that, the Area Foundation expects to grant up to $760,000 for Youth Leadership Development grants through a competitive grant process and $1.2M for Workforce Development and Childcare grants in partnership with the City of San Antonio. 

For more information regarding this partnership, please click here.

Application Information

Organizations considered for funding must demonstrate past success of providing opportunities for youth to exercise their voice and prepare youth for future success.   

More specifically, the Area Foundation is seeking proposals that align with and advance the following objectives, in alignment with the Our Tomorrow youth leadership network: 

  • Develop young leaders by providing opportunities for youth to exercise their voice 
  • Support social and emotional learning and mental health to develop resiliency 
  • Prepare youth for future success by offering education and career development programs that align to student passion and interest 

Organizations eligible for funding meet the following criteria: 

  • Provide direct services to youth 
  • Currently partner with one or more of the middle schools and high schools in the identified high school feeder patterns: East Central High School, Lanier High School, McCollum High School, SW Legacy High School, Wagner High School 
  • Currently operate the program proposed in this application.  Programs must currently partner with or plan to partner with one of the identified HS feeder patterns listed above
  • Demonstrate a commitment to advancing equity and racial justice 
  • Commit to participating in UP Partnership’s Our Tomorrow Network.  Information about Our Tomorrow can be found here. 
  • Commit to participating in capacity building and other professional development opportunities as they emerge 
  • Be a tax-exempt organization under the section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code 

Priority will be given to organizations with demonstrated success of centering youth voice and involving youth in decision-making processes. 


Application Opens:

Monday, March 1

Grant Application Deadline:

Sunday, April 11 at 11:59 PM

Grant Notification:

Monday, May 17 - Monday, 31 

Technical assistance will be available until 4:00 PM on Friday, April 9. Please contact Catherine Garcia at for any questions regarding the grant application portal.

Program Officers will be available to answer grant application questions through Wednesday, April 7, 4:00 PM. Please read through the FAQs and view the recorded webinar prior to contacting a Program Officer for questions.

Artist Fellowship Opportunity

Youth Development - Creativity Additional funds are available to Youth Leadership Development grant recipients to support an Artist Fellowship supports art-based strategies for centering youth voice, building civic engagement, and empowering youth within their communities.  These projects are intended to support collaboration between an individual artist or artist collective and youth participants, hosted by the non-profit grantee.   

Organizations selected to participate in this tandem grant component of the Youth Leadership Development grant will demonstrate the ability to align with and advance the following objectives: 

  • Use art to support social and emotional learning and mental health to develop resiliency 
  • Develop youth leaders by providing opportunities for youth to exercise their voice through art 
  • Partner with the Our Tomorrow network on a citywide youth-led exhibit 
  • Share artist and youth participant stories on Our Tomorrow podcast 

Projects should be sustained and long-term and engage a consistent group of youth participants with a minimum of 150 contact hours over two years between the artist(s) and youth.  Successful applicants will demonstrate a commitment to community-based participatory practices and expertise in an artistic or cultural practice. 

Compensation for participation is outlined in the following table. 

Artist Fellowship Table

Please contact Stephanie LaFroscia at for any questions regarding the Artist Fellowship. 

Additional Information
  • All grant seekers must create an account to access the online application. Please click here to create an account in our Grants Center. You will receive an email confirming you have created an account. 
  • Applications must be submitted via our online Grants Center. 
  • Completed applications must be submitted by the deadline. Any application that is received after the deadline will not be eligible for funding. 
  • For grantees, please download and review the Media Guidelines to assist you in publicizing and referring to your grant. 

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions about our Youth Leadership Development grantmaking process.

Gavin Nichols

Gavin Nichols

Senior Program Officer

Grant Information Webinar

In lieu of a live presentation, a pre-recorded session is available to help address any questions regarding this grant process.

Grant Awards

$660,000 ($330,000 per fiscal year) available

The Area Foundation has $660,000 ($330,000 per fiscal year) available for grants under this grant cycle.

Two-year, general operating grants will be issued with annual grant awards ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 based on the organization’s annual budget.   

Priority will be given to organizations with demonstrated success of centering youth voice and involving youth in decision-making processes. 

Youth Development Table

The San Antonio Area Foundation expects to award up to 15 grants under this grant process. 


Jennifer Cook

Jennifer Cook

Senior Program Officer