Youth Program

Information about the program’s inaugural grants coming in June.

The Prospect Hill Foundation (PHF) is happy to announce the creation of the New Youth Program, a new grantmaking program that will begin accepting applications on September 19, 2019. The deadline for applications is October 24, 2019.

In the summer 2020, the New Youth Program will award (10) ten $25,000 general operating grants to organizations in New York City, Rhode Island and/or the San Francisco/Bay Area. Our intent for this program is to grow it over time, with multi-year commitments; in this pilot year, grants will be for one year only.

This new program gives us the opportunity to learn about work that is new to the Foundation. As such, current PHF grantees are not eligible to apply at this time.

What We Seek to Fund

Please follow this link for details on funding eligibility, evaluation criteria, and how to apply.

We seek to fund organizations that recognize the root causes of race, gender, and economic oppression, and that are mobilizing and engaging communities in healing, building collective power, and advocating for systemic change.

Applicant organizations must be led by and for the community they serve; must amplify young people’s voice and agency; and hold themselves accountable to their communities and to young people.

We are aware that we are making relatively modest investments that alone cannot solve these deeply entrenched problems, many of which are rooted in our country’s history of slavery and oppression. We also are aware that philanthropy often expects under-funded organizations to take on radical, transformational work without all the resources they need. At the same time, we believe that small, community-led organizations can make a profound difference in their communities and should be provided unrestricted funding to pursue their work, as they see fit.

We expect to fund a diversity of strategies, communities and types of organizations through unrestricted grants for general support. We are not looking to fund any one specific project or idea, and we do not expect applicants to create a new program. If your organization receives a grant, you can use the funding in whatever way meets your needs.

What We Hope to Learn

Through the New Youth Program, we hope to learn more about the capacity needs of grantee organizations, in order to inform a future capacity-building grants program.

In addition, we hope to learn how organizations are interconnected and working with each other to bring about systemic change. We believe it is our role to listen to leaders, to communities, to young people, and to the movement, and to honor their self-determination.


The New Youth Program emerges out of the Prospect Hill Foundation’s Year of Reflection (2017-2018) during which the board of directors evaluated the Foundation’s administration, management and grantmaking functions and priorities. This time of deliberation overlapped with the emerging leadership of the Beinecke family’s third generation. Together, the second and third generations decided unanimously to phase out three of the four Foundation’s long-standing program areas in order to create a new grantmaking focus, while continuing our commitment toward Nuclear Disarmament & Nonproliferation.

A new Program Committee, comprised entirely of third generation members, was created and tasked with developing the new program. Carrie Elston Tunick is the chair, and Ben Beinecke, Lizzie Elston and Jesse Smith are members. In addition to staffing the work, we asked Penny Fujiko Willgerodt, PHF’s executive director, to be a member of the committee as well. We invited Ana Oliveira, president of the New York Women’s Foundation, to join the committee to help us develop this new program. Marci McLendon served as the consultant.

Why We Are Launching the New Youth Program

We are driven not only by the understanding that all issues are deeply interconnected, but also by the rise of xenophobia; unfettered displays of racism and white supremacy; and the unfolding of the Me Too movement. The current national crisis of family separation at the border, as well as the violence and trauma inflicted upon children and young people in our communities, has had a particular effect on us.

As human beings we are responding to all the children born into this world. They need to be respected as new beginnings. The violence and trauma being inflicted upon children and young people, especially in communities of color, feels visceral and urgent. What is the world that we are leaving for our children? How are we going to bring up the next generation? What is our responsibility, and how can we best utilize our privilege and the opportunities offered to us? With this in mind, the New Youth Program’s focus is on children and young people.

In further developing the New Youth Program, we realize we need to look inward as well as outward to deepen our understanding of social change movements and the root causes of oppression. We committed ourselves to a year of learning from 2018-2019. This included workshops and trainings about: anti-blackness and Black-led organizing; fear and hatred of immigrants and the bold leadership of young immigrants, citizens and non-citizens; misogyny and trans-led movements for gender justice; the devastating impact of economic injustice and the community-led development of new economies; and the value of community leadership, including the importance of community leadership within nonprofits.

We had the privilege of meeting with, and learning from, many community and movement leaders, activists, and other experts whose experience and generous offering of wisdom was invaluable to us. Our learning culminated in a new values statement that became the driving force of the New Youth Program framework. This statement is our own call to action and accountability for a world in which everyone can experience justice and liberation.

This learning practice continues, and we are taking our learning to our fellow PHF directors. Last year, we organized a Foundation-wide training entitled From Women’s Rights to Gender Justice: Patriarchy & Transgender People, designed and led by Alex Lee, project director for Grantmakers United For Trans Communities. This training gave us a deeper analysis of gender that is trans-inclusive, and built upon our family’s decades-long legacy of funding for women’s rights, reproductive justice and sexual health. This year, Kanene Ayo Holder, artist and educator, will be leading a workshop on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the board of directors.

We understand that the time is ripe to re-examine traditional structures of philanthropy and experiment with new approaches. For example, in thinking about accountability, we are committed to applying principles of evaluation introspectively to assess the Foundation’s effectiveness, rather than just assessing the work of the grantees.

Above all, we seek to live by example and the New Youth Program expresses our commitment to living our values in a philanthropic context. The New Program Committee’s vision for the New Youth Program is to move some of The Prospect Hill Foundation’s resources to those who have not enjoyed the opportunities, power and benefits that resources such as these bring, simply due to the haphazard destiny of birth.

We realize this power shift is slow, but we are committed to continued learning and are grateful for the wise counsel of community leaders and practitioners.

We commit to listening carefully and doing our very best in executing this new program of grants. We hope that in a small way we may contribute to the work of other family foundations and philanthropists on a similar journey.

Warmest regards,

Carrie Elston Tunick, New Youth Program committee chair
Ben Beinecke
Lizzie Elston
Jesse Smith