Building Bridges, Building Leaders

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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.

ARE YOU READY TO LEAD?

Applications are due by the end of January.

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

WHAT TO EXPECT

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:

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

Review and Awards | January – February:

Selection committee reviews applications and selects winners.

Ready! Projects Begin | March – June:

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!

BLACK LIVES MATTER CELEBRATION, ST. PETERSBURG, FL

“The event brought our youth and community together for a day of peace and activism. Children learned about the importance of using their voices to make positive change, made posters, decorated our park with chalk and marched for justice,” —ALLEY KAY, Organizer

Youth and families gathered for a celebration of Black Lives and raised awareness through their collective spirit. Each child received multi-cultural crayons, a diverse book, and other family resources as a parting gift and a reminder to spread love and of the importance of promoting equality and anti-racism.

VETERANS OUTREACH PROJECT, Haverhill, MA

“Since Junior High, I have been running donation drives for the Veterans Outreach Center and raising awareness about their lack of resources and the coping issues faced by some. During COVID-19, it was more important than ever that veterans, who sacrificed so much for all of us, knew that they were not forgotten,” —Christian DiBlasi, Organizer

A student from Governor’s Academy in Byfield, MA coordinated a collection drive for a Veteran’s Outreach Center where donations had decreased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Veterans were happy to receive face masks, gift cards, coffee, and personal hygiene essentials in time for Memorial Day weekend.