New Non-Profit Young Futures Partners with The Foundation for Social Connection to Launch $1 Million Funding Challenge for Solutions That Promote Teen Belonging

Challenge to support early-stage organizations aimed at empowering young people to form healthy relationships and thrive in the digital world

WASHINGTON--()--Young Futures, a new non-profit on a mission to make the digital world an easier place to grow up, today announced the launch of The Lonely Hearts Club: a funding challenge to promote social connection, teen belonging, and wellbeing in a tech-driven world. Galvanized by the work of the U.S. Surgeon General, and in partnership with the Foundation for Social Connection, the $1 million commitment is focused on supporting early-stage non-profits with solutions that help young people, together with their caregivers, stay centered on healthy connections. Young Futures is seed-funded by Pivotal Ventures, Susan Crown Exchange, and The Goodness Web.

According to Pew Research Center, the percentage of teens ages 13 to 17 years who say they are online “almost constantly” has doubled since 2015. Digital devices, platforms, and technologies continue to transform how we live and develop relationships. As (pre)teens experience rising feelings of loneliness, the challenge is focused on identifying and uplifting activities, resources, and tools that will provide a social compass for young people to navigate how tech fits into their lives.

Young people are growing up in a world that gets more complex every year, and it is the responsibility of older generations to prioritize their wellbeing and work with them to ensure they have the tools to succeed, ” said Katya Hancock, Executive Director of Young Futures. “Through our funding challenges, we aim to increase the odds of long-term success for the heroes on the frontline – non-profits and grassroots organizations that are working tirelessly to create a better world for youth and parents in the digital age.”

We are long overdue for innovation that will meet the changing needs of America’s youth in the digital age. I am proud to see philanthropy come together to make a big impact on youth wellbeing by providing seed funding to Young Futures,” said Kelsey Noonan, Strategy Lead for Pivotal Ventures. “We are excited to see how The Lonely Hearts Club surfaces novel solutions that will support the wellbeing of the next generation.”

Young Futures is particularly interested in partnering with leaders who have prioritized the voices of youth in the development of their solutions and demonstrate a commitment to equity – accounting for the unique needs of young people with marginalized identities. A complete overview of grant criteria can be found here, and applications for the challenge are now open until April 5, 2024.

We are thrilled to partner with the Foundation for Social Connection for this challenge,” said Kevin Connors, Senior Director for Susan Crown Exchange. “As a leading expert in fostering the development of solutions that address social isolation, loneliness, and social connection, their team and Scientific Council are an invaluable resource for identifying and mentoring YF Innovators.”

Grantees, to be known as Young Futures Innovators (YF Innovators), will join the foundational cohort of the Young Futures Academy (YFA), a six-month program designed to help leaders level up their organization and amplify their impact. In the Academy, YF Innovators will receive leadership and organizational coaching, mentorship, access to a peer community, and media and communications support.

The program will kick off with an in-person retreat in Washington, D.C., and culminate in a virtual Showcase where YF Innovators will have the opportunity to present their organization and solutions to funders, potential programmatic partners, and users.

Those interested in applying are encouraged to learn more about the challenge at Eligible grant seekers are invited to attend an info session on March 28, 2024. Subscribe to YF’s newsletter to receive event and registration details.

About Young Futures

Young Futures (YF) is a non-profit seeking to make the digital world an easier place to grow up. YF provides a social compass for teens and families navigating the tech-driven world by supporting emerging non-profits working tirelessly to help young people and their families not just survive but flourish as a team when navigating the uncertainties of the digital wilderness. Young Futures is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Its principal sponsors include Pivotal Ventures, Susan Crown Exchange, and The Goodness Web.

About The Foundation for Social Connection

The Foundation for Social Connection (F4SC) was founded in 2020 with the vision for all Americans to have the opportunities and evidence-based supports necessary to live a socially connected life. In collaboration with the unique collective expertise of our national Scientific Advisory Council (SAC), F4SC engages in education, increases public awareness, promotes innovative research, and spurs the development and implementation of evidence-based models that address social isolation, loneliness, and social connection.

Release Summary

Young Futures has launched The Lonely Hearts Club funding challenge to promote social connection, teen belonging, & wellbeing in a tech-driven world.