Cricket Island Foundation’s mission is to develop young people’s capacity and commitment to improving their lives, communities, and the world around them. Our work is grounded in our values, guided by our theory of change, and informed by what we know about the field of youth-led social change.
Three overarching goals frame our grantmaking and field-building work.
- To support and strengthen organizations that are engaging youth in meaningful opportunities to make positive social change.
- To develop, lift up, and value young people’s leadership as central to effective and long-lasting social change.
- To advocate for and support policies, programs, and resources that will strengthen the broader youth-led social change movement.
Our work rests on several key assumptions about the field of youth-led social change.
- Young people have ideas, energy, innovative solutions, and lived experience to address difficult issues that need to be supported.
- Young people’s approach to leadership—which is rooted in community and emphasizes collaboration, co-creation, shared responsibility, and horizontal decision-making—is more effective than traditional “top-down” models in affecting social change.
- Youth-led organizations that value young people at all levels of the organization are more likely to achieve their social change goals. Research shows young people’s participation in organizing supports their social-emotional development and improves academic outcomes and community engagement.
- Youth-led social change organizations need general operating support—as well as access to coaching, technical assistance, networks, and other kinds of capacity-building resources—to build strong organizations capable of deeper and long-term impact.
- Funders need to support, advance, and promote the youth organizing field and its infrastructure—across all issues affecting young people–to ensure that these approaches become embedded in all social change work.