Middle School Youth Success

The Crescent Porter Hale Foundation’s strategic focus has shifted over the past few years to invest more substantially in middle school youth programs and food security for seniors. For the foreseeable future, all grantmaking under the Middle School Youth Success program area will occur through a request for proposal process. 

What We Support

The foundation funds nonprofit organizations that provide high-quality enrichment opportunities to underserved* middle school-aged youth (ages 11-14). Organizations funded by the foundation intentionally promote one or more of the following outcomes among middle school-aged youth:

  • Improved social/emotional skills
  • Increased access to music and arts education
  • Enhanced academic skills and acquisition of “21st century” skills**
  • Increased exposure to future education options and career paths

* Underserved youth are defined for the purposes of this grant application as low-income youth (those eligible for free and reduced price lunch), as well as youth from other marginalized groups (e.g. youth of color, immigrant youth).

**21st century skills include foundational literacies (e.g. scientific literacy, technology literacy), as well as cognitive competencies and character qualities (e.g. critical thinking, creativity, persistence, leadership, and initiative).


To be considered for funding, an organization must:

  • Work in and serve residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and/or San Francisco counties.
  • Offer dedicated programming for youth in the middle school age range (11-14) (potentially in conjunction with other age groups)
  • Serve low-income or otherwise underserved youth as a primary target population
  • Offer in-school or out-of-school programming that promotes social-emotional learning, access to music and arts education, acquisition of academic or 21st century skills, and exposure to future education options and career options. While not an exhaustive list, examples of programs include:
    • Social-emotional and character development:
      • Community service, with an emphasis on leadership and character development
      • Outdoor leadership, with an emphasis on leadership and character development
    • Arts or music education (i.e. visual arts, performance arts, media arts, music) with an emphasis on hands-on acquisition of skills, rather than one-off experiences such as seeing a performance
    • Academic enrichment programs, academic supports, and tutoring (i.e. STEM, coding, debate)
      • Note: We do not support programs focused solely on academic remediation
    • College and career pathways programs
    • Mentoring programs

Eligible uses of funds include:

  • General support when all or a significant part of an organization’s programming targets middle school youth, and the whole organization serves youth in general
  • Specific programs that support middle school youth
  • Organizational expansion/new programming focused on middle school youth
  • Capital needs that would enhance the ability of an organization to serve middle school youth

Additional Considerations

  • Organizations that have received funding for four consecutive years in the Middle School Youth Success category must take a one-year break before applying to the foundation again (safety net programs and K-8 Scholarships are excluded from the break requirement). Break requirements from the previous guidelines do not apply and all organizations will be considered under the new guidelines starting in January 2018.
  • No gifts are made to individuals, events, or annual appeals


For program-related questions in the Middle School Youth Success category, please contact Derek Aspacher at daspacher@pfs-llc.net or 415-561-6540 ext. 249. For technical questions related to using the grants portal please contact Araceli Ayala at aayala@pfs-llc.net or 415-561-6540 ext. 274.