Schenectady Job Training Agency (SJTA) $125,000 (2015); $120,000 (2016)

These grants are enabling the expansion of the successful SJTA summer youth employment program – providing 100 additional low-income youths (14-21) a part-time work experience for six weeks in July and August. The Foundation’s investment also helped bring together private and public sector partners to deliver a robust program that built participants’ skills and increased their awareness of -- and access to -- community resources that can aid their advancement. “By providing work experience opportunities to students, we assist youth in finding their career path, gaining transferable skills and building a network within their community for future opportunity,” said Jennifer Bargy, SJTA Director of Employment.

Smart Scholars $135,000

This grant continues the Foundation’s support of Schenectady Smart Scholars. Smart Scholars is a full-day, 12-month program providing academic and social support services to empower disadvantaged, academically at-risk Schenectady High School students to graduate with a minimum of 20 college credits, and prepare them to complete a postsecondary credential on an accelerated timetable.

Safe Inc $75,000

The Foundation's grant is supporting Safe Inc's work with partners from Probation, Community Fathers, SCSD, Washington Irving School, BOCES/CAPIT, Calvary Church and the Schenectady Bridges Program to build a Community Coaching Project for high-risk youth who are not in school, are unemployed and are usually not involved in positive activities. The 12-week Life Support Program will incorporate Bridges’ “R Rules” and mentoring within the community to help youth develop job skills. Additionally, because many of the participants will be mothers and fathers (some as young as 14), the program will also focus on parenting and life skills.

Big Brothers Big Sisters $25,000

This grant will make it possible to match a Big Sister or Big Brother with an additional 50 Schenectady children who are at risk of failing or dropping out of school, or becoming involved with the criminal justice system.  BBBS matches vulnerable children with carefully screened and trained adult volunteers who becomes a friend and mentor – a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister.”  

Ring of Hope $40,000

Schenectady Youth Boxing & Fitness, Inc., also know as Ring of Hope Boxing Club, is nonprofit organization that provides a safe haven and supportive environment for youth. Ring of Hope has been successful in helping young people in our community become champions at life. Boxing and fitness teach self-control, self-reliance, respect and participation in the community.  Ring of Hope offers students who are most at risk for gang involvement and dangerous choices a healthy alternative and opportunities to succeed as adults.  The grant from The Schenectady Foundation will be used to expand the program offer outreach sites to reach more youth.

Cradle Project – Told By Us Productions $150,000

This multimedia project is focusing a lens on Schenectady’s high rate of teenage pregnancy -- the highest in the Capital Region – and its toll on the community. Dozens of local youth are involved in writing original music and dialog, performing and producing “Cradle,” a documentary film about teen pregnancy expected to debut in 2017. The Cradle project will also include music videos and forums about sexual health and professional development. Cradle is the first production of Told By Us Productions, a non-profit created by Schenectady High School educator and film-maker, Prince Sprauve.  “This is not just a movie. We’re creating social change,” said Sprauve. We need to create an atmosphere that’s going to be conducive for kids to come forward and talk about this.” 

Boys Day Out – Youth Enrichment Services $50,000

Boys Day Out was created by community leaders and educators to address the growing challenges faced by Schenectady’s inner-city boys. BDO provides a safe and enriching alternative to the streets, structured activities and caring adults. The Foundation’s matching grant is helping BDO provide opportunities for hundreds of middle school male youth to build relationships with positive male role models from the community. Through activities and discussions, youth will be exposed to and begin to practice the pro-social skills necessary to thrive in school and in their community. “The Schenectady Foundation’s support has been instrumental in bringing an idea to fruition for the Boys Day Out Youth Enrichment Services. With their support we have been able to grow exponentially, allowing us to …  provide our young men with numerous opportunities that have inspired and empowered them both socially and academically,” said Dennis Green, Assistant Director of Washington Irving Educational Center, and Boys Day Out founder.

Capital Region Sponsor A Scholar  $50,000

Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar’s mission is to inspire and empower promising, underserved students to succeed in high school, college and life. CRSAS assists young people, often the first in their families to go to college, to succeed in high school and earn a college degree. A matching grant from the Foundation will allow additional motivated, under-resourced Schenectady students to be inducted into Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar, extending their reach in the community, and receive the assistance and inspiration they need to succeed in high school and earn a college degree. 

(Call to Action for Youth grants as of May 2016