Federal Grants for Youth Programs

Cheerful youth image by Aliaksandr Zabudzko from Fotolia.com

Federal grants are mercurial; for every opportunity that expires, a new one appears. This makes a general summarization of federal grants for youth programs difficult. While there are always federal grants available for youth programs, the nature of these grants differs from year to year. However, the agencies awarding these grants are permanent fixtures, each with a clear purpose. An overview of these agencies reveals the basic nature of federal grants for youth programs.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Grants

The federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, OJJDP, awards a number of grants to youth programs. Grant opportunities for fiscal year 2011 include the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Strategies and Programs and Community Prevention Grants Program. The latter is an ongoing program available on an annual basis.

Community Prevention Grants awards funding to state and local governments for the implementation of juvenile delinquency prevention programs at the community level. The grant provides funding for one- to three-year programs in discretionary amounts based on projected program budgets.

Anti-Gang Strategies grants are available to state and local governments, independent school districts, Native American tribal governments, nonprofits, public housing authorities, small businesses and private institutions of higher education. These grants fund multi-disciplinary programs designed to reduce youth gang activity.


AmeriCorps is a federally funded corporation for national and community service. The Corps awards seven types of grants on a regular basis. These grants are National Direct, National Education Award Program, National Professional Corps, Indian Tribes, Indian Tribes Planning Grants, National Planning Grants and Fixed-amount Grants. These grants can be used to fund any eligible project, including youth programs.

For instance, National Direct grants are available to any eligible entity for the implementation of projects designed to meet the needs of a community through volunteer and member service. AmeriCorps provides funding for the recruitment of volunteers and paid project employees. As of 2011, AmeriCorp grants pay $13,300 for every full-time project service member. Thus a project with 50 paid employees will receive a grant of $665,000, or 50 x 13,300.

Safe Schools/Health Students Grants

The Safe Schools/Healthy Students, SS/HS, initiative is a federally funded grant-making program designed to fund projects concerning violence and substance abuse in youth, communities and schools.

Grants are provided annually to urban, rural, suburban and tribal school districts for the implementation of projects and programs designed to reduce youth violence and substance abuse through education and awareness. Grant recipients often collaborate with local mental health and juvenile justice providers in grant initiatives. The amount of each grant varies contingent upon project budget needs; 2010 grants ranged from $705,734 to $2,208,378.

Other Grants

Other federal grants for youth programs are announced on a rolling basis as project funding becomes available.

Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships is a fiscal year 2011 grant program run through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Funds are awarded to local, city or county, public health departments serving high-risk urban community projects designed to raise awareness of violence in romantic relationships for children aged 11 to 14.

During fiscal year 2011 the National Security Language Initiative for Youth grants, provided by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is designed to fund the acquisition of Arabic, Chinese, Mandarin, Indic, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Tajiki or Farsi, Russian and Turkish in high school students or recent graduates.