Durham Youth Leadership Fund


The Durham Youth Leadership Fund (DYLF) was created in 2021 with support from Durham County and in direct response to the needs and dreams we heard about during the Durham Youth Listening Project. DYLF is an opportunity for the Office on Youth to invest in projects led by young people and community groups that build youth leadership in Durham and respond to community priorities. Each cycle, a youth-adult grant making team decides on funding focus areas, selection criteria, and final recipients of funds. We use a “participatory” model where the people making funding decisions include people who are experiencing the needs and dreams the funding is meant to address. We look for projects that support: 

  • Young people ages 13-24 years
  • Black, Latinx, and Indigenous youth; LGBTQ+ youth; immigrant and migrant youth; youth who have experienced economic hardships, houselessness, interactions with law enforcement, or being pushed out of institutions, including education environments; youth who have recently aged out of foster care; and youth with disabilities, including physical, mental, and developmental


A detailed summary about how we created DYLF and what we learned in our first year of funding can be found in our 2021-2022 DYLF Impact Report in English and Spanish. The report also celebrates the successes of our first cohort of 13 grantees who grew lasting relationships and partnerships, shifted how organizations engage with and relate to young people, and created paid leadership positions for youth! 

Website Headers

Our DYLF 2023-2024 projects launched in September 2023 and for the next year will be working on building youth leadership across Durham! We awarded $300,000 to a total of 18 projects focused on: creating opportunities for young people to explore and find connection through art; enhancing and supporting young people’s mental health and wellness; and curating new safe, welcoming, and supportive "third spaces" and places for young people.

Check out the list of 2023-2024 DYLF grantees below and read their Project Summaries here in English and Spanish

*Starred listings indicate projects submitted by and led exclusively by young people*

  • Autism Support and Advocacy Center - Torchlight Residency Program ($10,000)  
  • Black and Belonging - Designing Next-Level Fashion to Make Sure Our Generation is Seen, Acknowledged, and Supported ($18,900)
  • Blackspace - Black Youth Revival ($20,000)
  • BUMP: The Triangle - The Fahari Leader Project ($10,000)
  • Center for the Nuevo South - Youth Media Brigade ($17,584) 
  • Empower Dance Foundation - Mind Movement Empower ($18,000)
  • *Haptic Happenings - Exploring Identity Through Figure and Touch ($19,800)*
  • QCHEX - Healing Circles for QTBIPOC Youth ($11,000)
  • Kultured Sprouts - Kultured Sprouts ($19,500) 
  • LGBTQ Center of Durham - Transitional Age Youth Project Fellows - Queer Support Program ($20,000)
  • *Northern High School - GSA Club Room ($2,500)*
  • *OutVenture Outing Club for LGBTQ+ Youth ($1,510)*
  • Perpetual Butterfly - Youth Empowerment Partnership Program ($20,000)
  • Prism Design Labs - Durham Youth Design Workshops ($20,000)
  • Pupusas for Education + Spoken Words in Motion (SWIM) + Heal Restore Transform Durham: Restorative Justice (HRT) - People for Equity Youth Artist Project ($28,000)
  • Purpose Learning Lab - The Haven 360 Project ($20,000) 
  • Sol Space - Soul Space ($24,000)
  • Terreio de Arte e Cultura - Project Bantu ($18,000)


Contact A’lice at A’[email protected] or call or text (984) 260-6703 for any questions in English. 

Contact Jeymi at [email protected] or call or text (347) 738-0694 for any questions in Spanish.