Building Bridges, Building Leaders


Grants for youth-led service

We believe that young people thrive—and neighborhoods do too!—when they are empowered to go beyond their comfort zone and are given the opportunity to tackle big challenges through community service. The Martin Richard Foundation expresses its belief in young leaders by providing up to 30 grants per year for youth-led service projects.

Our Bridge Builder Campaign is a chance for young people, classrooms and neighborhood groups to demonstrate peace, justice and kindness by putting their creative ideas and social entrepreneurial skills to work for positive change.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Applications are due January 14, 2020

Applications should be submitted by an adult professional on behalf of the young people who will carry out the project.


Bridge Builder projects take many forms—from physical service projects to community awareness and mobilization campaigns. What every successful grant has in common is a young person who is ready to go beyond their comfort zone to generate change. Bridge Builders receive $500 to help execute their community service project.

Here’s what to expect during the application process:

Ideas and Applications I November 2019:

Tell us how you’ll encourage others to serve in a meaningful and replicable way by submitting an application

Review and Awards | January – February 2020:

Selection committee reviews applications and selects winners.

Ready! Projects Begin | March – June , 2020:

Selected Bridge Builders will be notified by March 1, and funds will be released to a supporting school or nonprofit. Projects must be completed by June 1.

Reflect and Report | June 15:

Grant recipients are required to submit an online report in June. We’ll use your report to celebrate the impact you had in your community!

Birthday Kits for the Hingham Food Pantry

“It was clear how rewarding the class found the project. They learned a valuable lesson about the importance of helping others and reaching out [to their own] community. —Ms. Tolman”

First-graders in Ms. Tolman’s classroom at Foster Elementary School proved you’re never too young to choose kindness. Students brainstormed the contents of their birthday kits for kids, decorated canvas bags, and assembled and packed 25 kits to be distributed at the food pantry.

Spreading Peace at the Piers Park Sailing Center

“The result of the project is a new dialogue on the waterfront about creating communities of joy, kindness and compassion. The peace sail is a visual reminder to be supportive of everyone!” —Alex DeFronzo, Piers Park Sailing Center

A 27-foot-high sail became a creative canvas for East Boston 4th- and 5th-graders to spread their message of peace to the entire City of Boston. More than 2,000 youth and 400 adults sailed the peace boat and the durable sail will be on the water—in full view of the Boston Harbor community—through 2021.