SparkYouth NYC 9th Cohort Application (2022-24)

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SparkYouth NYC is currently soliciting proposals for participation in its 9th Cohort, which will commence in January of 2022. Selected organizations will receive three years of general operating funding, ranging from approximately $50,000-$70,000 per year, and be part of a unique community of supporters of innovative opportunities for NYC youth. The following RFP is due on Friday, March 26th, 2021 at 5:00PM. The review committee will narrow the pool and select organizations for site visits in April and May. Final selection will be made during the late summer of 2021.

SparkYouth NYC is a grant-making nonprofit organization that ignites growth in community-based programs to expand opportunities for the young people of New York City. We work with emerging youth organizations in the early stages of their development. Our long-term financial and organizational support for programs of this size helps facilitate their exponential growth. These organizations provide crucial opportunities and essential skills to young people and help transform lives. 

Every three years, SparkYouth NYC selects a group of youth development organizations to become “member programs” in its cohort. Selected organizations receive three years of general operating support, from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024, providing they remain compliant with SparkYouth NYC's requirements. Because SparkYouth raises funds each year from its supporters to distribute to the member organizations, the actual amount distributed varies from year to year, but has recently been in the range of $50,000-70,000 per calendar year. Member programs also take part in a rich curriculum designed to augment leadership and staff skills to manage non profits. Further member programs participate as a cohort, to share resources address challenges and maximize services to young people in New York City.

Only organizations that meet all of the following criteria are eligible.  Organizations must:

  • Have as their primary mission the provision of direct services to underserved children or teens for a period of time sufficient to enhance education or life skills and constitute a life-transforming activity;

  • Have an operating budget between $150,000 and $1.5 million per fiscal year;

  • Be a certified 501(c)3 non-profit organization or operating under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)3;

  • Be independent and not a subsidiary or branch of a national organization, unless they are a wholly independent program;

  • Be located and operate within New York City;

  • Have been founded between 2010 and 2019 and remain in continuous operation;
  • Be working toward broadening the program’s services either within the population served, or expanding to serve more young people.

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Please complete and return this application, together with the supporting documents, in PDF format, no later than 5pm on Friday, March 26th, 2021.   
Organization Information

Only organizations that answer YES to all of the following criteria are eligible to apply to SparkYouth as a member organization.  

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Organizational Background Information

Fiscal Sponsor
If operating under a fiscal sponsor please provide contact info. Additional information may be required if your organization reaches the final stages of consideration. 

25 words or less

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500 Words or less

Cohort Model and Expectations
SparkYouth NYC's success derives from its cohort model, which fosters cooperation, education, and shared resources.  SYNYC provides a Nonprofit Leadership Development Program with 8-10 workshops (generally 2-4 hours long) per year geared toward skill development for directors and staff of cohort members.  Member organizations are expected to have their Executive Director or a senior staff member attend a minimum of 75% of the workshops.  In addition, member organizations are expected to make efforts to participate in SYNYC events and provide guidance to other cohort members. 

The answers to the following questions will not impact whether or not you are accepted into the cohort.  Your answers will be used to help SparkYouth determine where we can best support your organization and the cohort. 

Returning Member Programs
Please only complete this section if you are a returning member program. 

Required Supporting Materials:
We strive to make the application as easy and simplified as possible. If it's easier for you to combine any of the documents below please feel free to do so. 

Organizations selected will be funded for three years provided that the following requirements continue to be met.  Organizations must:
  • Provide annual reports on financial and programmatic progress toward the goals articulated in their application (including audited financial statements and 990 tax filings);

  • Host site visits by SparkYouth NYC board members and staff;

  • Participate in a minimum 75% of workshops hosted by SparkYouth;

  • Participate in the annual Awards Benefit and other SparkYouth NYC fundraising events as requested and take part in the workshops, mentoring and other activities organized by SparkYouth staff and board;

  • Inform SparkYouth immediately about all direct donations that come in whole or in part due SparkYouth efforts;

  • Assist SparkYouth NYC in its marketing efforts, including providing regular updates, success stories, interviews with participants, photos, videos, etc. for use on website, donor updates, and other communications;

  • Acknowledge SparkYouth NYC on their website (with a link) and in all relevant printed materials including all supporter lists, annual reports and newsletters, invitations and brochures, and share them with SparkYouth’s staff;

  • Remain in compliance with standard legal and ethical practices regarding tax exempt organizations.
If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact  Please include "9th Cohort Selection Process" in the subject heading.