A student putting sticky notes on a classroom wall.

Youth Civic Infrastructure Fund 101

A student putting sticky notes on a classroom wall.

What is the Youth Civic Infrastructure Fund?

What is YCIF? 

Future Focused Education believes schools should serve as anchors in the development of healthy and thriving communities. We want schools to be places where students solve real world problems as part of their learning. The Youth Civic Infrastructure Fund (YCIF) develops reciprocal collaborations between nonprofits and schools to engage students in community experiences through capstone projects and internships. 

The YCIF provides multi-year grants to nonprofit organizations that desire to integrate young people and schools more directly into their existing work. Capstone projects embedded in the community and co-designed by schools and nonprofits support a deepening of civic infrastructure that centers community relevance. In this process, young people become a primary mechanism for leading positive change in the communities they live in by:

  • Investigating community issues through action-oriented research.
  • Deepening their understanding of the community.
  • Cultivating a sense of belonging and commitment to the community.
  • Identifying and implementing solutions.

How does it work? 

The Fund provides multi-year unrestricted funding to nonprofit organizations who work in partnership with participating local schools to create a project-based capstone curriculum.

Each prospective grantee will propose a project that leverages the Future Focused X3 internship program to bring young people into their organizations for 13-week internships. Schools support a capstone process that lets student work be applied to their graduation requirements. Future Focused manages the internships and facilitates participation.

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How does it benefit schools?

The YCIF supercharges school capstone programs by connecting student projects directly to community opportunities and providing resources to nonprofits to support student learning and employment challenges. Ideally, partner schools will have an existing capstone instructor in place and the flexibility to allow students to participate in internships. 

For schools that are still developing capstone approaches, FFE can also provide deep technical support and Communities of Practice to enable them to accelerate that development. Schools are selected in April of every year, with an annual program launch in August.

Two students working with restorative tools on the floor

What's the opportunity for non-profits?

There is no better way to integrate young people deeply into the work of nonprofit organizations than the YCIF. Selected nonprofits make a three-year commitment to work with students at a partner high school and are provided a multi-year unrestricted grant to support the work. 

The program covers the cost of paid internships for students so the nonprofit can apply its grant to its own internal capacity. Interns work for 13 weeks with the nonprofit, learning as they take on challenges that impact their communities and building a deeper understanding of the issue and establishing a relationship with the organization that can extend beyond the internship.

learn more

In the news: check out coverage of the YCIF capstone project in Aztec! 

Are you a high school or nonprofit interested in learning more about capstone projects and how they can connect to the Youth Civic Infrastructure Fund? Please contact us at: [email protected]

Request for Proposals

Our Request for Proposal is now available for two locations: Peñasco and Albuquerque. The application cycle closes June 5, 2024. 

  • Download the RFP in MS Word format below
  • Respond to the questions in the RFP, typing into the Word doc 
  • Respond to Question 4 (budget) in a separate document (Word or Excel)
  • Email your application and budget as attachments to: ycif@futurefocusededucation.org
Albuquerque RFP
Peñasco RFP

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