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Increasing Educational Opportunities for Resilient Youth

Increasingly, prospects for a healthy, fulfilling and self-sufficient life depend on getting a postsecondary education. Cal Wellness is committed to supporting organizations that increase access to, and completion of, an educational credential beyond a high school degree or GED certificate for adolescents and young adults we define as resilient youth (see below)The degree or credential can be through a four-year university, a community college, or a career/technical/vocational program. 

What We Fund

Each application for funding must fit under one or more of these program areas.

  • College readiness programs, such as campus-based support and vocational training
  • Capacity building for organizations providing social supports
  • Leadership development programs for youth at risk of not reaching their academic goals
  • Expansion and development of community college and higher education opportunities in juvenile and adult correctional facilities
  • Research and data collection
  • Advocacy for policies that support resilient youth who are pursuing higher education and vocational training

Target Populations

All projects we fund must support resilient youth. These are young people, ages 14 to 26, who:  

  • Are in, or have left, the juvenile or adult criminal justice systems. 
  • Are or were in foster care. 
  • Are/were homeless.

What We Do Not Fund

We fund very specific projects and activities. We do not fund: 

  • Street outreach programs. 
  • Drop-in center programs. 
  • Emergency shelter/short-term housing programs. 
  • Programs that solely emphasize high school graduation and/or the acquisition of a GED certificate.   
  • If such a program is part of a larger, intentional and robust strategy that moves resilient youth to and through postsecondary education, then there is a chance that it will receive funding. But if the end goal is a high school diploma or GED certificate, then it is not eligible for funding in this program area. 

Examples of Funded Grants

Below are some examples of organizations we fund under this grantmaking area:  

  • Humboldt State University: $250,000/3 years. Core operating support for the ELITE Scholars Program to sustain and strengthen services that support the health, well-being and educational success of current and former foster youth at Humboldt State University. 
  • John Burton Advocates for Youth: $225,000/3 years. Core operating support to continue to engage in public policy activities to address postsecondary educational needs of California’s foster youth. 
  • Jovenes, Inc.: $200,000/3 years. Project support to develop and implement the College Success Initiative, a case-managed supportive housing program targeting homeless and foster youth enrolled at community colleges in East and South Los Angeles. 
  • Los Angeles Mission College: $250,000/3 years. Core operating support to sustain and strengthen efforts to improve the well-being of youth who are in, or re-entering their communities from, Los Angeles juvenile justice facilities by providing paths to and through postsecondary education, including career/technical/vocational education.
  • SchoolHouse Connection: $250,000/3 years. Core operating support to sustain and strengthen federal and state policy advocacy and implementation efforts to improve the health; wellbeing; and access to, and success in, college for youth experiencing homelessness in California.

A letter of interest is the first step in requesting a grant. We’re now accepting LOIs.

Check out our grants database.

Jeff Kim image
Program Director

Jeffrey S. Kim

Jeffrey S. Kim leads grantmaking related to improving oral health care for low-income adults and seniors, and increasing educational opportunities for resilient youth.

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