Youth Engagement

We strive to provide more meaningful opportunities for young people to participate in their schools, communities and the economy.

Entrepreneurship and service provide young people with hands-on opportunities to learn and build the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.

How It Works

We aim to help young people — particularly those in underserved communities — develop the knowledge, skills and real-world experience they need to succeed in the 21st century.

If they are to reach their full potential, today’s young people need more pathways to learn, develop and participate in their communities. About one in every six Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 — approximately 5.8 million young people — are disconnected from the institutions and systems charged with preparing them for the future. For young people living in low- and moderate-income communities, the need is more pronounced. Each year, about 1 million more young people become disconnected, and millions more are placed at risk.

The costs and consequences of disconnected youth are high for them and for society as a whole. Research suggests that, if we are to address these challenges, we must provide young people access to a range of opportunities that build knowledge and skills, provide positive mentoring relationships, and encourage productive participation in and service to their communities.

Involving young people in their own development and keeping them attached to their communities can take many forms. Initially, Mott is targeting two areas, entrepreneurship and service, as strategies for helping young people develop the competencies they need to succeed as adults.

Our grantmaking is organized around two objectives:

Youth Entrepreneurship

We seek to identify and support practices that expand entrepreneurial education and training for youth, particularly those living in low-income communities.

We make grants to:

  • national and state-level nonprofit organizations with the capacity to research and identify potential strategies, practices and programs that have proved effective in providing microenterprise and sectoral employment opportunities for youth; and
  • national nonprofit groups with the capacity to identify strategic opportunities for grantmaking and develop a baseline to inform and guide this grantmaking.

This is a developing area of grantmaking. Unsolicited proposals are discouraged.

Engaging Youth Through Service

We seek to increase engagement among K–12 students and young adults through service. Grantmaking will leverage the existing infrastructure of service and volunteer organizations with the goal of increasing opportunities for children and young people to acquire 21st century skills, gain a stronger sense of purpose, and connect with school, neighborhood and community.

We make grants to:

  • organizations developing best practices for K–12 service programs;
  • local, state and national organizations willing to work in partnership to engage young people through service; and
  • organizations with the capacity to replicate successful service-based interventions.

This is a developing area of grantmaking. Unsolicited proposals are discouraged.


It doesn’t matter where you serve. It just matters that you serve.

Harding Mott

Youth Engagement

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