Forward Promise Grantees Lead the Charge to Heal, Grow, and Thrive

Entrenched racism and the dehumanization of people of color has dominated public discourse. Policy, funding, and institutional reform is urgently needed for our society to effectively begin the process of disrupting dehumanization. That is why Forward Promise dedicates its grantmaking to organizations serving young people of color and the communities that nurture them.

The organizations we fund are integral parts of their communities with lengthy track records of support, leadership, advocacy, and partnership that affirm the humanity and healing of young people of color. They lead with authentic, asset-framed narratives steeped in the lived experiences of the young people they serve. These organizations also mobilize youth and others to be change agents and advocates.

Each of the 23 organizations receiving funding in our current cycle (2021-2023) were awarded two years of general operating support. There is still time for funders to designate philanthropic dollars to grow our impact.

SUPPORT OUR GRANTEES

* Funding in this cycle is made possible by generous support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Grantees

Amistades, Inc. Tucson, AZ

Amistades is a Latino-led, Latino-serving, 501(c)3 nonprofit community development organization with six focus areas: services for high-risk youth and families preventing substance use disorder; family support services for low-income populations; training for health and human services providers; civic participation; policy impact; and cultural enrichment initiatives. It was founded in 2006 and has established itself as a leader in the prevention community by developing and implementing programs and activities grounded in grassroots outreach and evidence-based best practices.

Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) Seattle, WA

Since 1973, ACRS promotes social justice and the well-being and empowerment of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and other underserved communities of immigrants, refugees, and American-born individuals. ACRS also develops, provides, and advocates for innovative, effective, and efficient community-based multilingual and multicultural services. The Southeast Asian Young Men’s group young people through weekly sessions focused on learning about Southeast Asian history, the refugee experience, historical trauma, cultural identity, racism, oppression, youth violence, and substance use disorder.

Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ) Oakland, CA

Founded in 2011, CURYJ builds communities and mobilizes leaders in the movement to end youth criminalization and mass incarceration. It interrupts the cycles of violence and poverty by motivating and empowering young people impacted by the criminal justice system to become today’s community leaders. CURYJ uses activities such as culturally rooted healing circles and rites of passage from the La Cultura Cura framework to serve Latino and African American boys and young men in school, juvenile detention, and community settings.

Drexel University Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice Philadelphia, PA

The Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice at the Drexel University School of Public Health has promoted health, nonviolence, and social justice through trauma-informed practice, research, professional development, and advocacy for policy change since 2008. The Healing Hurt People project and the Community Health Worker Peer Training Academy addresses trauma among African American boys and young men in hospital and community settings in North and West Philadelphia. The Healing Hurt People program focuses on healing the physical and psychological wounds of trauma caused by violence.

Kumukahi Health + Wellness Kailua-Kona, HI

Since 1985, Kumukahi Health + Wellness has served the community in various capacities. The organization was known as the Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation beginning in 2003 and embarked on a name change in 2021 to reflect its growth and changes. Kumukahi Health + Wellness has evolved from a few staff and volunteers providing simple support, to an agency that saves lives, educates its community, and provides life-saving services for some of the island’s most vulnerable people.

National Compadres Network (NCN) San Jose, CA

NCN has strengthened and re-rooted the capacity of individuals, families, and communities since 1988. It honors, rebalances, and redevelops the authentic identity, values, traditions, and Indigenous practices of Chicano, Latino, Native, Raza, and other communities of color as the path to honoring of all their relations and lifelong well-being. The La Cultura Cura project serves Latino and African American boys and young men through its Joven Nobles curriculum offering rites of passage, leadership, and character development activities to reduce teen pregnancies, substance use disorder, and relationship-community violence.

Native American Community Academy (NACA) Albuquerque, NM

NACA has engaged students, educators, families, and the community in creating a school that prepares students to grow since 2006. The academy strengthens communities by developing strong leaders—from adolescence to adulthood—who are academically prepared, secure in their identity, and healthy. The Hiyupo project serves Native American boys and young men through mentoring and weekly peer groups focused on building academic, leadership, and service skills; a sense of community; and connections with their cultural identities.

Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) Seattle, WA

Since 1973, ACRS promotes social justice and the well-being and empowerment of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and other underserved communities of immigrants, refugees, and American-born individuals. ACRS also develops, provides, and advocates for innovative, effective, and efficient community-based multilingual and multicultural services. The Southeast Asian Young Men’s group young people through weekly sessions focused on learning about Southeast Asian history, the refugee experience, historical trauma, cultural identity, racism, oppression, youth violence, and substance use disorder.

California Youth Connection (CYC) Emeryville, CA

CYC has been a member-led organization of current and former foster youth who build community, organize, and advocate for improvements to the child welfare and other systems since 1988. The founders knew if young people were going to heal and thrive, their voices needed to be centered in conversations about their lives. After three decades of persistent youth-led advocacy and education, local government agencies and nonprofits routinely include the voices of foster youth in planning, decision-making, and oversight.

Communities United Chicago, IL

Founded in 2000 as the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Communities United is a grassroots, intergenerational racial justice organization in Chicago. The name was changed in 2015 to accurately reflect the numerous neighborhoods and communities with which it partners and serves. Communities United develops grassroots leadership to build collective power to advance health equity, affordable housing, education justice, youth investment, immigrant rights, police accountability, and shifting resources from the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems into restorative justice alternatives.

Deep Center Savannah, GA

Since 2008, Deep Center has addressed the detrimental effects of poverty on literacy in Savannah, Georgia. The Block by Block and Youth Leadership Team projects challenge and encourage African American and Latino boys and young men to engage with language and their stories through writing, reading, and performance. The 10-month, writing-based participatory action research curriculum focuses on engaging youth in community research and planning.

Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) New Orleans, LA

FFLIC is a community-led grassroots organization that evolved in 2000 from the needs and input of families with justice-involved youth. The staff is composed of impacted youth and their family members and its Board of Directors comprises impacted individuals, lawyers, and others with over 40 years of combined juvenile and criminal justice experience. FFLIC’s work and campaigns are developed by its membership base.

RYSE, Inc. Richmond, CA

RYSE was born out of the youth organizing movement galvanized by students in 2000 to address the violence and lack of safety at school and in their community after a string of homicides near Richmond High School. Today, 36 staff lead programming in community health, media, art, culture, education, justice, and youth leadership. RYSE provides safe spaces grounded in social justice for young people of color to build youth power, love, learn, educate, heal, and transform lives and communities.

UTEC, Inc. Lowell, MA

Launched by young people in response to gang violence, UTEC is a nationally recognized model that uses intensive street outreach, correctional facility in-reach, and gang peacemaking to engage the most disconnected young adults (ages 17-25). UTEC provides intensive wraparound services and paid workforce training through multiple social enterprises, and helps youth get their high school equivalency degree. UTEC also partners with local correctional and probation agencies to transform their systemic approach to working with justice-involved BYMOC.

Amistades, Inc. Tucson, AZ

Amistades is a Latino-led, Latino-serving, 501(c)3 nonprofit community development organization with six focus areas: services for high-risk youth and families preventing substance use disorder; family support services for low-income populations; training for health and human services providers; civic participation; policy impact; and cultural enrichment initiatives. It was founded in 2006 and has established itself as a leader in the prevention community by developing and implementing programs and activities grounded in grassroots outreach and evidence-based best practices.

Cities United Louisville, KY

Launched in 2011, Cities United focuses on eliminating the violence in American cities related to African American men and boys. The 130 participating mayors (and counting) intend to reduce homicides by 50% by 2025. They are committed to restoring hope and building pathways to justice, employment, education, and opportunities. Cities United helps mayors assess their communities and increase chances for awareness, action, advocacy, and accountability. The solutions-oriented organization shares best practices, institutes innovative approaches, and plans ways to best reconfigure resources.

Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) Cambridge, MA

COSEBOC is a networked-learning community of educators, researchers, policymakers, and caring adults launched in 2007. It connects, inspires, supports, and strengthens leaders dedicated to the social, emotional, and academic development of BYMOC. It is open to pre-K–12th-grade students in public, public charter, private, coed, and single-gender schools. COSEBOC bridges research, policy, and practice in a learning community for stakeholders focused on improving the educational experiences of BYMOC.

Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ) Oakland, CA

Founded in 2011, CURYJ builds communities and mobilizes leaders in the movement to end youth criminalization and mass incarceration. It interrupts the cycles of violence and poverty by motivating and empowering young people impacted by the criminal justice system to become today’s community leaders. CURYJ uses activities such as culturally rooted healing circles and rites of passage from the La Cultura Cura framework to serve Latino and African American boys and young men in school, juvenile detention, and community settings.

Drexel University Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice Philadelphia, PA

The Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice at the Drexel University School of Public Health has promoted health, nonviolence, and social justice through trauma-informed practice, research, professional development, and advocacy for policy change since 2008. The Healing Hurt People project and the Community Health Worker Peer Training Academy addresses trauma among African American boys and young men in hospital and community settings in North and West Philadelphia. The Healing Hurt People program focuses on healing the physical and psychological wounds of trauma caused by violence.

Kumukahi Health + Wellness Kailua-Kona, HI

Since 1985, Kumukahi Health + Wellness has served the community in various capacities. The organization was known as the Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation beginning in 2003 and embarked on a name change in 2021 to reflect its growth and changes. Kumukahi Health + Wellness has evolved from a few staff and volunteers providing simple support, to an agency that saves lives, educates its community, and provides life-saving services for some of the island’s most vulnerable people.

LatinxED Chapel Hill, NC

LatinxEd was founded in 2018 to break down barriers to success for first-generation college students and address the volatile environment for the growing Latinx community in North Carolina. LatinxEd designed an approach that centers and affirms the lived experiences, cultures, and identities of Latinx students. Its programs expand access to college opportunities while increasing visibility, support, and resources for Latinx and immigrant students, families, and the next generation of leaders.

MetroMorphosis Baton Rouge, LA

Founded in 2012, MetroMorphosis was formed to advance the recommendations of the Imagining a Better Baton Rouge report. The organization creates a critical mass of engaged citizens who design and implement sustainable solutions to persistent community challenges in home environments, community media, city infrastructure, and other spaces touching the lives of African American boys and young men. Metromorphosis uses the dehumanization framework to identify root causes of the discriminatory and violent policies and practices of systems that engage these young people.

National Compadres Network (NCN) San Jose, CA

NCN has strengthened and re-rooted the capacity of individuals, families, and communities since 1988. It honors, rebalances, and redevelops the authentic identity, values, traditions, and Indigenous practices of Chicano, Latino, Native, Raza, and other communities of color as the path to honoring of all their relations and lifelong well-being. The La Cultura Cura project serves Latino and African American boys and young men through its Joven Nobles curriculum offering rites of passage, leadership, and character development activities to reduce teen pregnancies, substance use disorder, and relationship-community violence.

National Youth Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (NYA) New York, NY

Founded in 2016, NYA is an alliance of five youth organizing networks committed to advancing the leadership of young men of color organizing for community change. NYA builds relationships, acquires and shares resources and effective practices, and develops shared strategies. Its connection to the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, and the organizing activities of its member groups, ensures that the voices of BYMOC are included in new initiatives to improve outcomes.

Native American Community Academy (NACA) Albuquerque, NM

NACA has engaged students, educators, families, and the community in creating a school that prepares students to grow since 2006. The academy strengthens communities by developing strong leaders—from adolescence to adulthood—who are academically prepared, secure in their identity, and healthy. The Hiyupo project serves Native American boys and young men through mentoring and weekly peer groups focused on building academic, leadership, and service skills; a sense of community; and connections with their cultural identities.

Native Like Water – InterTribal Youth Imperial Beach, CA

InterTribal Youth is an offshoot of its predecessor, Young Native Scholars, which focused on bringing Native American, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiian young people together to develop and implement academic, cultural, and wellness programs. In 2005, InterTribal Youth built on this work and began convening youth from various nations in residential-academic enrichment programs. InterTribal Youth created Native Like Water in 2014 to center Native People’s sacred relationship with water.

Village of Wisdom (VOW) Durham, NC

Since VOW’s formation in 2014, it has worked to close the academic opportunity gap by protecting the intellectual curiosity and positive, racial self-concept of Black children through the love and wisdom of their families and communities. VOW supports advocacy and organizing, creates tools and resources, and designs and conducts research that helps parents, teachers, and students to create ideal learning environments for Black and Brown learners.

Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) Seattle, WA

Since 1973, ACRS promotes social justice and the well-being and empowerment of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and other underserved communities of immigrants, refugees, and American-born individuals. ACRS also develops, provides, and advocates for innovative, effective, and efficient community-based multilingual and multicultural services. The Southeast Asian Young Men’s group young people through weekly sessions focused on learning about Southeast Asian history, the refugee experience, historical trauma, cultural identity, racism, oppression, youth violence, and substance use disorder.

Beats Rhymes and Life (BRL), Inc. Oakland, CA

Since 2004, BRL has served boys and young men of color in Oakland, California, through the therapeutic power of hip-hop culture. Its Hip Hop Therapy model has been taught to over 1,500 service providers to implement a strength-based, youth-centered, and culturally responsive approach to working with marginalized young people.

California Youth Connection (CYC) Emeryville, CA

CYC has been a member-led organization of current and former foster youth who build community, organize, and advocate for improvements to the child welfare and other systems since 1988. The founders knew if young people were going to heal and thrive, their voices needed to be centered in conversations about their lives. After three decades of persistent youth-led advocacy and education, local government agencies and nonprofits routinely include the voices of foster youth in planning, decision-making, and oversight.

Communities United Chicago, IL

Founded in 2000 as the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Communities United is a grassroots, intergenerational racial justice organization in Chicago. The name was changed in 2015 to accurately reflect the numerous neighborhoods and communities with which it partners and serves. Communities United develops grassroots leadership to build collective power to advance health equity, affordable housing, education justice, youth investment, immigrant rights, police accountability, and shifting resources from the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems into restorative justice alternatives.

Deep Center Savannah, GA

Since 2008, Deep Center has addressed the detrimental effects of poverty on literacy in Savannah, Georgia. The Block by Block and Youth Leadership Team projects challenge and encourage African American and Latino boys and young men to engage with language and their stories through writing, reading, and performance. The 10-month, writing-based participatory action research curriculum focuses on engaging youth in community research and planning.

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) Los Angeles, CA

Established in 2009 by young Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) leaders, EPIC is a national organization in Los Angeles that addresses the urgent, growing needs of NHPI families. Through partnerships inside and outside of the NHPI community, EPIC builds a unified advocacy voice for NHPIs; promotes data illuminating the needs of NHPI families; creates tools and resources to support organizational and community capacity; and develops a pipeline of strong, influential leaders.

Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) New Orleans, LA

FFLIC is a community-led grassroots organization that evolved in 2000 from the needs and input of families with justice-involved youth. The staff is composed of impacted youth and their family members and its Board of Directors comprises impacted individuals, lawyers, and others with over 40 years of combined juvenile and criminal justice experience. FFLIC’s work and campaigns are developed by its membership base.

Fathers and Families Research/ Resource Center Indianapolis, IN

Founded in 1999, Fathers and Families Resource/Research Center assists fathers in achieving self-sufficiency through intensive case management starting with a 3-week curriculum focused on fatherhood, life skills, and job readiness. Under the Empowerment Projects initiative, Fathers and Families Resource/Research Center will strengthen their culturally-based healing practices and storytelling programs to help young African-American fathers and expectant fathers thrive in Indianapolis.

The Juanita Sims Doty Foundation (JSDF), Inc. Jackson, MS

Since its founding in 2010, JSDF has focused on positively impacting the lives of children of color—through mentoring, youth development, health, education and advocacy, and the overall wellness of the family. Its purpose is to improve individual lives through community engagement and ignite a “spirit of service, collaboration, and advocacy” throughout the state, nation, and the world.

Moms of Black Boys (MOBB) United, Inc. Brooklyn, NY

MOBB United is a grassroots organization and movement founded in response to the daily trauma caused by Black males being perpetually targeted, profiled, harassed, and brutalized in incidents that garnered national attention. It emerged in 2016 from a Facebook® support group for moms of Black boys  and focuses on influencing narratives about BYMOC to transform how they are treated and perceived by law enforcement and society.

RYSE, Inc. Richmond, CA

RYSE was born out of the youth organizing movement galvanized by students in 2000 to address the violence and lack of safety at school and in their community after a string of homicides near Richmond High School. Today, 36 staff lead programming in community health, media, art, culture, education, justice, and youth leadership. RYSE provides safe spaces grounded in social justice for young people of color to build youth power, love, learn, educate, heal, and transform lives and communities.

UTEC, Inc. Lowell, MA

Launched by young people in response to gang violence, UTEC is a nationally recognized model that uses intensive street outreach, correctional facility in-reach, and gang peacemaking to engage the most disconnected young adults (ages 17-25). UTEC provides intensive wraparound services and paid workforce training through multiple social enterprises, and helps youth get their high school equivalency degree. UTEC also partners with local correctional and probation agencies to transform their systemic approach to working with justice-involved BYMOC.