social capital noun. the value of our social networks & relationships

SCI Youth Grant Pitch Contest

About the SCI Youth Grant Pitch Contest

The goal of the SCI Youth Grant Pitch Contest is to develop the leadership skills of young people as they develop, pitch, and implement a project to address community needs they’ve identified, with an emphasis on funding for mental health projects that address the needs of their peers.

This program initiative, piloted in 2021, was designed to engage community-focused youth-led teams in a process of developing projects that respond to community needs. After an incredibly successful pilot program that funded six youth teams, totaling $4,000 in grant funding. The program more than doubled in size and impact in 2023. Thanks to a variety of funding, a total of $10,000 was awarded to eight youth teams. While the inaugural program in 2021 was completely virtual, the 2023 YGPC was hybrid with primarily virtual coaching and a live in-person contest. 

The design of the YGPC to address mental health issues and community needs is consistent with the value SCI places on engaging youth in developing and implementing problems they face in the community. Additionally, the YGPC aligns with research from the University of  Michigan suggesting that students educating their peers about mental health and other issues can be effective in improving understanding and awareness of resources to help themselves and others.

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2024 SCI Youth Grant Pitch Contest

The 2024 SCI Youth Grant Pitch Contest is open to middle school and high school youth teams from throughout the Greater Boston area, with a special interest in youth teams from Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, and Woburn based on SCI’s current service area. 

The youth team application is open to schools, youth programs, and youth-serving nonprofits. SCI will review applications and up to 12 selected youth teams will be matched with volunteer coaches from the business and nonprofit sectors in January 2024.  Volunteer coaches will mentor each youth team in the development of their project idea into a pitch presentation over the course of six weeks from February 2024 – March 2024. The program will culminate at the in-person pitch event on Saturday, April 6th, 2024. 

Youth groups that are awarded funds will have until November 2024 to complete their project and submit their project impact report. SCI will provide ongoing support to awarded youth teams as they implement their projects.

This project is supported by Kick It for a Cause, Winning Home, Inc., Gail O’Rourke, founder, Benefact4. the AmeriCorps Agency, Massachusetts Service Alliance, and a Massachusetts state budget line item, thanks to the advocacy of State Senator Cindy Friedman. Major support for SCI Woburn is provided by Cummings Properties.

Youth Group Applications are now closed for 2024.

Youth groups, grades 6-12, in schools, clubs, and after-school programs from the Greater Boston area are invited to apply after identifying a need in their community that they would like to address, with an emphasis on funding for mental health projects that address the needs of their peers.

What the SCI YGPC Offers:

  • $10,000 worth of grants to a minimum of 7 youth-led groups
  • Receive coaching from local professionals
  • Identify an issue and design a pitch
  • Address a need in your community

On Saturday, April 1st, SCI Social Capital Inc. hosted a live pitch contest where $10,000 of grant funds were awarded to 8 participating youth groups from across the Greater Boston area who presented compelling ideas to address community needs. Read more about the 2023 event by clicking here!

2023 Funded Projects

La Colaborativa (Chelsea)

The team from La Colaborativa, an organization working to empower Latinx immigrants and enhance social and economic health in their communities, presented compelling ideas to address the needs of Chelsea youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the La Colaborativa team was awarded a grant of $1,500. The youth team from La Colaborativa pitched an idea to fund and host a podcast which challenges inequities they see in their Chelsea community and in the local school systems. More specifically, their podcast will amplify their voices on topics that are important to the youth such as: the Black and Latino experience in Chelsea, local education policies, the vocational school bill, and mental health resources for youth. They received full funding and will use the money to get equipment for the podcast.

Spectrum Club (Woburn)

The team from Spectrum Club, a student-run support group for LGBTQ+ and straight ally students in the Woburn public schools, presented compelling ideas on supporting queer athletes and their mental health. As a result of their successful presentation, the Spectrum Club team was awarded a grant of $1,500. The Spectrum Club team presented their pitch about implementing a Coaches on Queer Allyship and Visibility Workshop, which would actively work with coaches on allyship and inclusion in athletic sports teams. The resources provided will help increase awareness around Queer inclusion in athletics, creating a more accepting atmosphere that, in turn, will positively impact the mental health of students. They were awarded full funding for this program.

Jean Charles Academy (Lynn)

The team from Jean Charles Academy presented compelling ideas to address the mental health needs of students at their school. As a result of their successful presentation, the Jean Charles Academy team was awarded a grant of $1,000. The team from Jean Charles Academy pitched an idea for a mental health room in their school in order to create a safe space for students struggling with anxiety and stress at home or in class. It also will provide mentorship opportunities for older students to emotionally support the younger students when they reach out for this space. The group was awarded full funding for their pitch.

Moses Youth Center (Cambridge)

The team from Moses Youth Center, an after-school community program offering skill development, leadership opportunities and community service, presented compelling ideas to address the needs of Cambridge youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the Moses Youth Center team was awarded a grant of $1,400. The Moses Youth Center teen group pitched an idea to host a community event involving all members of the public school community to learn about youth mental health. The program was designed to involve students, families, educators and administrators to inform the community about how best to support its students and their different learning styles. The event would provide a variety of foods and activities that contribute to a stronger sense of community. They received full funding for their pitch idea.

Winchester Public School Civics Class (Winchester)

The team from Winchester Civics class presented compelling ideas to address the needs of their community’s youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the Winchester team was awarded a grant of $1,100. The team from Winchester Civics class presented research from their coursework about a large gap in the diversity of people voting in their community versus the diversity of people living in the community. The group will use the funding for a public information campaign to encourage greater civic involvement of various diverse groups of people. They received full funding for their pitch idea.

Youth Action Team (Wakefield)

The group from Youth Action Team, a youth-led group of diverse teens promoting a positive and sustainable community for all in Wakefield, presented compelling ideas to address youth needs. As a result of their successful presentation, the Youth Action Team group was awarded a grant of $1,000. The group from Youth Action Team proposed the creation of a club to connect ELL students of Wakefield from the High School and Middle School to one another and beyond into their community. The funding will allow the group to commence with pairing students and kick off the program with a family night, which will include food and booths from local vendors and an information night for all involved. They received full funding for their pitch idea.

Boston Project Ministries (Dorchester)

The team from The Boston Project Ministries, a youth organization engaging and equipping neighbors, volunteers, and congregations to build strong communities, presented compelling ideas to address the needs of Dorchester youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the Boston Project Ministries team was awarded a grant of $1,500. The team from Boston Project Ministries proposed the creation of visual art pieces in the community that have affirmations and a QR code for mental health resources. The group emphasized that art murals are a way for youth to feel connected to others and to know that we, as a community, are not alone. They received full funding for their pitch idea.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield, Keystone Club

The team from the Keystone Club, which is a teen group at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield, presented compelling ideas to address the needs of their communities’ youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the Keytstone Club team was awarded a grant of $1,000. The team from Keystone Club presented a pitch for a mindfulness room. Their mindfulness space will contain new stress relieving devices and materials, as well as a cultivated area for children to complete homework assignments without disturbances. The introduction of a safe place for kids will provide support for youth who may be struggling with mental health in order to receive necessary guidance. The team received full funding for their pitch idea.

You can learn more about the inaugural 2021 Youth Grant Pitch Contest here.