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Lead Agency Grant

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Schools for
Events that Engage Youth in Volunteering

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Youth Service America (YSA)

Deadline Date:

06/25/21 11:59 PM Local Time


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Grants of up to $8,000 to USA nonprofit organizations and schools to enlist young people, especially those from underserved areas, to volunteer and strengthen their communities. Funding is intended for capacity-building training and to support ongoing partnerships to engage youth in service activities.

YSA’s 2021-2022 Lead Agency program supports schools and nonprofits that lead partner coalitions to engage youth volunteers on 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance (September 11, 2021), MLK Day of Service (January 17, 2022), and/or Global Youth Service Day (April 29 – May 1, 2022).

Lead Agencies are a vital part of increasing youth participation in their communities by engaging youth as volunteers for the first time on national days of service.  The primary role of a Lead Agency is to convene a partner coalition that will collaborate to collectively activate youth – especially those in middle and high school and in under-served communities who aren’t usually asked to participate. Lead Agencies convene partner coalitions of:

  • K-12 schools, colleges and universities;
  • Youth development, afterschool, and extracurricular programs; and
  • Community and faith-based organizations, government agencies, national service programs, volunteer centers, etc.

In turn, these coalitions work together to engage youth, ages 5-25, to lead service or service-learning projects through which they:

  • Build youth-adult partnerships that create connections with caring adults who encourage them to use their Sparks (passions, interests, and skills) to help others,
  • Provide opportunities to learn and practice 21st Century Skills (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking),
  • Strengthen their community by working towards achieving the Global Goals (17 UN Sustainable Development Goals), and
  • Lead ASAP (through Awareness, Service, Advocacy, and Philanthropy projects) that follow health and safety guidelines of federal, state, and local governments.

Applicants should focus on engaging youth in middle school and high school, especially those from under-served communities. Applicants may work locally, regionally, statewide, or multi-state and must be based in the United States.

For grantees engaging youth on 9/11 Day of Service, at least one project must address a priority issue area of supporting veterans and military families or preparing communities for disasters. 9/11 Day projects should also engage students in learning about and reflecting on the meaning of 9/11 Day using training materials provided by YSA.

For MLK Day and GYSD, projects can address any issue(s) that are important to your youth leaders. Applicants are encouraged to use the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) as a framework to select local issues.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173714

Estimated Size of Grant:

For the 2021-2022 program, YSA is offering Lead Agency Grants of up to $8,000, depending on the number of youth volunteers engaged.

Term of Contract:

Activities must be centered around September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, MLK Day of Service weekend, and Global Youth Service Day.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This grant is only open to schools and organizations based in the United States.

Per funder restrictions, funds for the following projects are not allowed:
1. Attempting to influence legislation;
2. Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes;
3. Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing;
4. Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements;
5. Engaging in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office;
6. Participating in, or endorsing events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials;
7. Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization;
8. Providing a direct benefit to:
a. A business organized for profit;
b. A labor union;
c. A partisan political organization;
d. A nonprofit organization that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 related to engaging in political activities or substantial amount of lobbying except that nothing in these 9 provisions shall be construed to prevent participants from engaging in advocacy activities undertaken at their own initiative; and
e. An organization engaged in the religious activities described in paragraph 3.g. above, unless CNCS assistance is not used to support those religious activities;
9.Conducting a voter registration drive or using CNCS funds to conduct a voter registration drive;
10.Providing abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services.

Pre-Application Information:

The early application deadline is Friday, June 4 at 11:59pm your local time. Applicants that apply by the early application deadline will be notified of status no later than Friday, June 11; if not selected during this round of reviews, YSA staff will provide feedback and you may revise and resubmit your application by the final application deadline on Friday, June 25.

The final application deadline is Friday, June 25 at 11:59pm your local time. All applicants will be notified of status no later than Friday, July 9.

Scoring Rubric:
Application Walkthrough Video:
Ideas for Day of Service activities:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Sign up to access the application:

For questions, please contact Katie Reusch, Partnerships Manager, at

Youth Service America
1050 Connecticut Ave NW #65525
Washington, DC 20035-5525
(202) 296-2992

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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