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Young Futures Announces Winners of The Lonely Hearts Club Funding Challenge

Young Futures, a new non-profit on a mission to make the digital world an easier place to grow up, today announced the 10 non-profits who will participate in the inaugural Young Futures (YF) Innovator...

Business Wire

The inaugural YF Innovators Cohort of grantees includes diverse approaches to foster youth belonging and community

WASHINGTON: Young Futures, a new non-profit on a mission to make the digital world an easier place to grow up, today announced the 10 non-profits who will participate in the inaugural Young Futures (YF) Innovators Cohort. Chosen from nearly 200 applicants, the winners of The Lonely Hearts Club $1 million funding challenge represent a breadth of solutions championing the protective impact of social connection and belonging for today’s youth. To accelerate and amplify the application of evidence-based strategies, Young Futures partnered with the Foundation for Social Connection. Young Futures is seed-funded by Pivotal Ventures, Susan Crown Exchange, and The Goodness Web.

“All of the YF Innovators take into account the unique challenge today’s youth face: striving to have a healthy relationship with tech, while living in a world saturated with it,” said Katya Hancock, Executive Director of Young Futures. “We are honored to support these amazing front-line leaders who are so eager to contribute to and learn from our peer community. Together they will form a powerful ecosystem that will have greater collective power to give young people agency over their wellbeing.”

The YF Innovators and the populations they serve span diverse genders, races, ages, regions, stages, and strategies, with many of the programs focused on serving marginalized youth. The Cohort includes school-based, media and storytelling, community-based, and civic engagement organizations striving to empower young people to have a healthier relationship with tech, as well as a strong sense of belonging, as nearly half of teens say they use the internet “almost constantly.”

“To truly improve youth wellbeing we have to go upstream and focus on social-emotional supports, including solutions that foster meaningful social connection,” said Kevin Connors, Senior Director for Susan Crown Exchange. “We are excited to see this Cohort come together as a powerful community and proud that Young Futures is continuing the important work the U.S. Surgeon General started in recent years by issuing advisories on youth mental health and loneliness.”

The Cohort will gather in Washington, D.C. for a retreat to kick off the Young Futures Academy (YFA). YFA offers six months of programming designed to elevate grantees' organizations through one-on-one mentorship, a robust peer community of like-minded leaders, and the amplification of their impact through storytelling, communications, and fundraising education. Additionally, participants receive leadership and operational support to ensure their long-term success.

“Youth are not a monolith, and since young people come to and use technology differently, we need to provide them with tools that meet them where they are and support their unique needs,” said Celine Coggins, CEO of The Goodness Web. “We are thrilled to support Young Futures in their work to lift up an ecosystem of solutions that empower youth.”

Meet the inaugural YF Innovators Cohort:

#HalfTheStory - The first youth-centric non-profit founded in 2015 to empower the next generation's relationship with technology through education and advocacy.
Founder: Larissa May, Executive Director | San Francisco, CA

3G - A three-generation mentoring program bringing together preschoolers, teens, and older adults through joyful social-emotional learning curriculum.
Lewis Bernstein, Ph.D., Co-Founder | New York, NY

Agapi.kids - An AI-driven tool, co-designed with 10 to 19-year-olds, to foster the skills of relational intelligence necessary to build human connection.
Niobe Way, Ed.D., Co-Founder | New York, NY

Be Loud Studios - Amplifies kids’ confidence through radio production in New Orleans, helping kids turn screens into tools for self-expression and courageous collaboration.
Diana Turner, Co-Founder & Director of Fundraising and Operations | New Orleans, LA

Civics Unplugged - An intergenerationally-led organization that equips young people with the training, funding, and community they need to become civic innovators.
Thanasi Dilos, Founder and Chief Growth Officer | New York, NY

Hiphop N2 Learning (HHN2L) - On a mission to use the (k)Nown (k)Nowledge (N2) of Black youth to educate and positively influence change through self-awareness and self-expression.
NyRee Clayton-Taylor, Executive Director | Louisville, KY

Only7Seconds - On a mission to end the youth loneliness epidemic through awareness initiatives, education resources, and empowerment programs for youth.
Luke Wall, Executive Director | Chelan, WA

Rethink Citizens - A youth-led movement with the mission of tackling cyberbullying and online harassment by equipping all youth with the skills they need to be responsible digital citizens.
Trisha Prabhu, Founder and President | Naperville, IL

We Are Family - South Carolina's oldest non-profit that provides life-affirming and life-saving programs for LGBTQ+ young people that have a lasting and measurable impact, with a focus on those who are BIPOC and/or low-income.
Domenico Ruggerio, Executive Director | Charleston, SC

Weird Enough Productions - A social impact organization that uses diverse stories to empower young people and the adults who support them.
Tony Weaver, Jr., Founder and CEO | Atlanta, GA

About Young Futures

Young Futures (YF) is a non-profit seeking to make the digital world an easier place to grow up. YF provides a social compass for teens and families navigating the tech-driven world by supporting emerging non-profits working tirelessly to help young people and their families not just survive but flourish as a team when navigating the uncertainties of the digital wilderness. Young Futures is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Its principal sponsors include Pivotal Ventures, Susan Crown Exchange, and The Goodness Web.

About The Foundation for Social Connection

The Foundation for Social Connection (F4SC) was founded in 2020 with the vision for all Americans to have the opportunities and evidence-based supports necessary to live a socially connected life. In collaboration with the unique collective expertise of our national Scientific Advisory Council (SAC), F4SC engages in education, increases public awareness, promotes innovative research, and spurs the development and implementation of evidence-based models that address social isolation, loneliness, and social connection.

Fonte: Business Wire

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