Here’s something exciting: Marrow received our first grant!
Here’s something more exciting: it’s a grant given by youth in our neighborhood.
Here’s the most exciting thing: it’s to pay our assistant director, Chase!
A few months back we applied for a CommuniCare grant through Roosevelt High School’s Theater CommuniCare group. CommuniCare grants are really cool and very aligned with Marrow’s mission, because they are youth-directed!
“In this year-long, student-directed program, CommuniCare groups act as “mini-foundations.” Students begin the year by selecting a community issue or service area that they feel passionate about and are challenged to raise $1,500 during the fall and winter months. Each dollar they raise is matched 10:1 by The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, up to a maximum gift of $15,000. Students spend the rest of the school year completing the grantmaking process – researching Oregon nonprofits whose work aligns with their mission, evaluating grant proposals, meeting with representatives from those organizations, and deciding which to fund.” via https://www.communicareor.org/
The Roosevelt Theater CommuniCare group’s mission statement is, “to help young adults in our North Portland community by supporting organizations that advance social equity and justice through the Arts”.
The grant proposal that we wrote is specifically for a 12 month, monthly stipend for Chase, as our assistant director and most involved youth - but our goal is to build to a point in the next few years where we have stipends for all of our youth collective members. We hope that through documenting the impact that Chase is able to have at Marrow over the course of the next year (as a paid collective member), alongside the impact of all of our other (unpaid) collective members, that we’ll be able to apply for more (and larger!) grants to continue this work.
Here are a couple sections of our grant proposal, so y’all can see why we think this grant is an important step in Marrow’s growth!
I could list here some of the rad things that we’ve done, but when I asked our (youth) assistant director Chase for some highlights; instead of individual projects, he talked about our biggest accomplishment being that we’re doing something that no one else in our community is doing, and in an impactful way.
What we’re doing at Marrow is genuinely listening to what individual youth want and need, and finding ways for these things to happen, and then following through on them. We’ve enabled youth to try things for the first time that they didn’t even know they were able to do. We view opportunity as a valuable resource, and fight to offer it - alongside love and validation that youths’ decisions and what they have to offer are important and sustainable (when capitalism doesn’t often validate those things).
Assistant Director Stipend Program Outcomes
Granting us the funding for this stipend would significantly affect both Chase and Marrow’s 50+ enrolled youth in the immediate; as it would give Chase access to resources, which would make him more able to give to Marrow - and he is one of our primary resources.
Though, most importantly, perhaps - is what stipend this would represent for our youth community. Having a stipend for our Assistant Director, a youth, would allow our Executive Director, an adult advocate, to step back more, and have Chase be the primary face that folks associate with Marrow; allowing us to lean more fully into our mission of being for-youth, by-youth. It would also show our other trans and disabled youth that what they have to offer (time, empathy, companionship, listening, support, leadership) is valuable, and worthy of financial compensation; which is a message that capitalism contradicts. It would allow our leadership to more fully align with our mission, giving our youth more autonomy and control - in ways that the unintended hierarchy of having an “adult” as the current main face of Marrow’s leadership disrupts.
We’ll end this post by saying, that writing grant proposals is a lot of work! Funding Marrow is an adult advocate responsibility (not one we put on our youth community) and when our adult advocates are focused on maintaining the bare minimum expenses we need to pay rent and keep the lights on - it’s hard to focus on getting our youth paid, too, which is what’s most mission-aligned and important to us.