Award-Winning Youth Programs
If you want to invest in high-performing youth programs (or explore what makes the best so strong), check out the five youth-serving organizations which won $1 million prizes from the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. They include YouthBuild USA, Free the Children, Friends-International, The Manchester Bidwell Corp (one of my long-time favorites) and the Nueva Escuela Foundation.
I wouldn’t have expected to see such a strong showing from youth organizations in a competition for social entrepreneurs, but they gained five of the ten winning slots. I also wouldn’t have noticed it except for an article in Youth Today, the newspaper which has consistently covered youth development (at least) since I began working in that field in the late 80’s. At that time, I was raising money a nickel and dime at a time for the youth newspaper I ran. Youth Today's founder, Bill Treanor, provided inspiration both through the coverage he oversaw and the meaningful mentoring that can only come from one who knows the ropes far better than you. That wasn't hard since I had, almost by a fluke, become a youth agency executive director at age 28.
If you want to give to the best youth organizations operating internationally, you've got massive due diligence from the folks at Skoll. If you want to give more than money, look in your backyard to find some young adult who could benefit from your wisdom and acumen to take a local agency to higher levels of impact.