Creative Youth Development is a commitment to supporting young people’s stories, ideas, and dreams through creative expression and honoring their lived experience. 

The AZ Creative Youth Development (CYD) Investment Cohort program invests in arts and culture organizations and programs that center youth voice across Arizona. The CYD Investment Cohort functions as a fusion of a cohort learning and project development program. The investment program will bring together a diverse cohort of young people and adult accomplices to share resources and struggles and engage with knowledge experts in the field to advance their skills as Creative Youth Development practitioners. 

A component of the program is a project support stipend of $5,000 after entering a process of creating a proposal with assistance from fellow cohort participants and the Arts Commission staff. 

Who is it for?

This cohort program is designed for organizations who serve youth under the age of 24 and are already practicing Creative Youth Development.  Organizations which are new to Creative Youth Development are encouraged to explore other resources including the Creative Youth Development National Partnership or the Creative Youth Development Track at the National Guild’s Groundwork Healing within Community Arts Education Virtual Gathering October 18 – November 25, 2021.   

When is it?

The cohort will meet October 2021 – June 2022  

Application due date: 11:59pm, August 31, 2021 

Selected organizations will receive a $5,000 stipend in support of the implementation of a project plan developed through the AZ Creative Youth Development Investment Cohort. 

To participate in the AZ Creative Youth Development Investment Cohort, organizations must identify two individuals who will commit to the full cohort schedule as outlined below. One must be a young person engaged in your programing, the other must be an adult accomplice in your organization. 

Participating organizations will:  

  • attend six, two-hour Creative Youth Development learning sessions 
  • plan and conduct a meeting with young people in your community to assess needs and desired programming  
  • attend a mid-year and end-of-year cohort meeting 
  • complete a proposal outlining goals and outcomes  
  • create and share on your overall experience implementing Creative Youth Development programs 

In exchange, participating organizations will: 

  • receive professional development provided through the cohort  
  • establish a peer network of organizations committed to serving young people  
  • receive a stipend of $600 for each of the two individuals participating  
  • be eligible for a $5,000 stipend to support the implementation of the organization’s proposal developed through the AZ Creative Youth Development Investment Cohort  

Six-week intensive – CYD Learning Sessions |October/November 2021 | Virtual  

Six, two-hours sessions will be held once a week. They will be led by national experts and will explore the Creative Youth Development Values of youth voice, racial and social justice, collective action and holistically supporting young people.   

Community Meeting |November/December 2021 | Individually  

Each organization will plan and conduct a meeting with young people in your community to assess needs and desired programming. 

Create Proposal and Implement Programing | December 2021 – June 2022 | Individually 

With the assistance of the Arts Commission, each organization will create and carry out their project proposal. All program activities must be complete by June 30, 2022. 

Mid-Year Cohort Meeting | February 2022 | Virtual 

This meeting will serve to understand the organizations’ progress or shift in direction and  

and offer additional and/or different tools and resources towards the organizations’ goals. It also will be an opportunity for the cohort to network and a chance for the Arts Commission to assess and examine common themes.  

Final Cohort Meeting | May/June 2022 | Virtual  

This will be an opportunity for all grantee organizations to reflect upon their programs, share learnings with the cohort and provide space for them to consider how to move their work in Creative Youth Development forward.  

An applicant must be based in Arizona and incorporated as a nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status or be a unit of government. Eligible organizations include arts organizations, local arts agencies and tribal cultural organizations. Multidisciplinary or multipurpose organizations are eligible if they are able to demonstrate that the arts comprise at least 50% of the organization’s public programming.  

When you’re ready, click on “Apply Now” below. This will take you to a website called Submittable where you’ll submit your application materials. Please note that late or incomplete applications will be ineligible for review or funding. All applications must be submitted online through Submittable by the due date: August 31, 2021  

Apply Now

You will be asked to enter the following:

Applicant Information  

Information collected in this section of the application is used solely for internal and reporting purposes and will not be considered during the application review. 

  • Organization Name  
  • Organization Mission Statement 
  • County  
  • Secondary Point of Contact  
  • Authorizing Official  
  • IRS Letter of Determination (if applicable) \
  • Fiscal Sponsor Letter of Agreement (if applicable) 
  • Demographic make-up of organization staff and board 

Narrative Proposal Details  

Answer each of these questions. You can type up your proposal narrative, or you can upload it in a video or audio recording.  

  1. Briefly describe your organization and its mission. (150 words or 2 minutes)  
  2. Describe any groundwork your organization has laid in the area of Creative Youth Development. (400 words or 4 minutes) 
    In the next three questions, please describe your organization’s relationship to the three concepts that must be present to support Creative Youth Development, as defined by the CYD National Partnership: Youth Voice, Racial Equity and Social Justice, and Collective Action.
  3. What is your organization’s experience working with Youth Voice? Where would you place your organization’s programing on the Hart’s Ladder of Participation and why? (200 words or 2 minutes)  
  4. The CYD National Partnership defines Racial Equity and Social Justice as creating a space where all people of color feel represented, supported, cared for and creating an even playing field where young people’s needs are understood, their stories are heard, and they are treated as equals. In what ways does your organization prioritize Racial Equity and Social Justice? (200 words or 2 minutes)  
  5. Cross sector partnerships and alliances are “essential to supporting creative youth development. Select all collective impact, cross sector partnerships your organization is currently engaged in. Explain how these partnerships fit into the goals of your organization. 

    Juvenile Justice
    Climate Change
    Food Security
    Community Mobilization

    Health and Wellness
    Workforce Development

  6. Select all collective impact, cross sector partnerships your organization aspires to. Explain how these partnerships will contribute to the goals of your organization. 

    Juvenile Justice
    Climate Change
    Food Security
    Community Mobilization

    Health and Wellness
    Workforce Development
  7. Describe your organization’s dreams and goals for serving young people. What would you like to work on or reimagine? What don’t you currently have that you would need? (400 words or 4 minutes)  
  8. Provide the names of the young person and adult accomplice that will be representing your organization in the cohort. Why were these individuals selected? (150 words or 2 minutes)  

If you share your proposal narrative in a video or audio recording keep it simple and to the point. The recording should be just you, describing your proposal and answering the questions listed above. Please do not include edits of work samples or special effects. Production quality of this recording will not be considered in the review. Just make sure we can hear and understand you and keep editing and post-production embellishment to a minimum. 

Here’s what panelists will be thinking about as they review your application materials:  


Application demonstrates alignment with the values and practices of Creative Youth Development.  


Viewed as a whole, the application demonstrates a consistency of proposed actions, values, methods, and goals. 

Potential Impact

Application centers expected benefit to the young people they serve.  

Applications will be reviewed by Creative Youth Development practitioners and Arts Commission staff. The panel will seek a balance of geography within the participant cohort. Up to 5 arts organizations will be selected. Participating organizations must fully commit to the program schedule and participate in the peer network. 

Applicants will be notified of their application status by September 17, 2021