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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:

06/15/20 11:59 PM Local Time


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Grants of up to $9,000 to USA nonprofit organizations, schools, and CBOs 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 2020-2021 Lead Agency program supports schools and nonprofits that activate youth volunteers on 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance (September 11, 2020), MLK Day of Service (January 18, 2021), and Global Youth Service Day (April 23-25, 2021).

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

  • organizations with young people – afterschool, youth development, and extracurricular programs, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and faith-based organizations, etc.
  • organizations with opportunities to serve – community-based organizations, government agencies, volunteer programs, etc.

In turn, these coalitions activate 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 young people 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
  • LeadASAP (through Awareness, Service, Advocacy, and Philanthropy projects that follow health and safety guidelines of federal, state, and local governments).

Lead Agencies must engage at least 250 youth as volunteers for MLK Day and GYSD. Every Lead Agency facilitating projects for 9/11 Day, there is also a required minimum of 250 youth volunteers. For those applying to higher tiers, they must meet the tier’s requirements of at least 500 youth volunteers per day, or 750 youth volunteers per day. 

On 9/11 Day, at least one project must address a priority issue area of supporting veterans and military families or preparing communities for disasters. Some projects may include leading a celebration event to honor veterans in the community, creating memory books featuring stories of veterans and their families, educating others about challenges veterans face when they return home, preparing and distributing disaster readiness kits, conducting disaster preparedness trainings, or organizing a blood drive.

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.

On MLK Day, at least one project must address a priority issue area of providing support for economically disadvantaged people. Some projects may include educating others about financial literacy, leading a FAFSA awareness campaign, or leading a book or school supply drive.

MLK Day projects should also engage students in the life and teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. using training materials provided by YSA.

For GYSD, projects can address any issue(s) that are important to Lead Agency youth leaders. YSA encourages using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) as a framework to select local issues.

To support Lead Agencies in building the capacity of their coalition members, YSA will provide online training and networking opportunities throughout the year, including three day-long virtual Youth Service Institute trainings (specific dates TBD in early August 2020, October or November 2020, and February or March 2021).

Grant funding expenses may include covering the cost of materials, reserving meeting space and sub-grants for coalition members.

For both the 2-day and 3-day options, additional Middle and High School Student Volunteer Engagement Grants of up to $4,000 are available for a possible total maximum of $13,000 in Lead Agency funding for the 2020-2021 year. These grants will require Lead Agencies to collaborate with local middle and high schools, afterschool programs, youth development organizations, and extracurricular activities to create new service opportunities and engage additional middle and high school age youth as volunteers in addition to a minimum of 80% of the core Lead Agency grant required volunteers being in middle or high school.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173714

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

For the 2020-2021 program, YSA is offering Lead Agency Grants of up to $9,000, depending on the number of youth volunteers engaged on two or three days of service. For both the 2-day and 3-day options, additional Middle and High School Student Volunteer Engagement Grants of up to $4,000 are available for a possible total maximum of $13,000 in Lead Agency funding for the 2020-2021 year.

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:

Nonprofit organizations, youth development organizations, community-based organizations, and schools/school districts are eligible to apply for funding.

Applicants should focus on engaging middle and high-school aged youth, especially those from underserved communities.

Applicants may work locally, regionally, statewide, or multi-state and must be based in the United States.

Funds should not be used on purchasing items to directly donate. Staff compensation and expensive, one-time use items cannot be covered by this grant.

For more information on funding limitations, see here:

Pre-Application Information:

Applications will be accepted through 11:59 pm of the applicant's local time on Monday, June 15, 2020.

Scoring Rubric:
Application Walkthrough Video:

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

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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