Building Pathways to Funding: A Strategy Towards Expanding Funding for the CYD Field

CYD funder “Skill” vs “Will” matrix

In 2018, the Creative Youth Development (CYD) National Partnership, through grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, worked in concert with the broader field to drive collective action in three strategic priorities to advance creative youth development:

    • Visibility & Impact: Documenting and Communicating Outcomes and Impact
    • Funding: Building Pathways to Funding
    • Field Building: Professional Development, Networking & Technical Assistance

The research that has been conducted involves an analysis of current and potential CYD funders, the experience and attitudes of those funders through a developed Skill/Will Map, and a deep-dive set of case stories illuminating partnerships between funders and CYD programs.

The following brief is intended to provide CYD practitioners with actionable tools in order to effectively partner with CYD funders.

The funding landscape can be broken down using a Skill/Will Map (shown above).

    • Skill: experience with a task, training, knowledge, and natural talents
    • Will: desire to achieve, confidence in abilities, and attitude towards a task

Using this model to examine the four categories of funder behavior (Field Builders, Potential Stars, Reluctant Allies, Potential Funders) provides insight into funders and organizations experiences and attitudes about funding CYD. Remember, no category is more positive or negative than any other, but rather these categories were designed to help funders (and their CYD program partners) better understand how to navigate the funding world. As CYD practitioners, you can also find actions to take in order to best position CYD for the future: collaborating, advocating, educating, and introducing.

We believe that by working together, funders and CYD programs and practitioners can build funding pathways to expand the field of CYD. This research provides basic principles and ideas for action, however, true partnerships moves at the speed of the individuals within them. You’ve taken the first step by reading this brief – now, reach out to your funding partners and begin the real work.

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