The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Artists For Humanity’s Youth Arts Enterprise

Grant Information
Categories Community , Arts , Education
Location United States
Cycle Year 2019
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Artists For Humanity
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Gwendolyn Walker
Phone 617-268-7620
100 West Second Street
Additional Information
Used for Artists For Humanity (AFH) respectfully requests $10,000 from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation in support of our efforts to empower under-resourced teens through paid employment in our Youth Arts Enterprise. With your investment, AFH will employ 400+ young people in 2020, and equip youth with the discipline, confidence, and competency to succeed through innovative mentorship, advanced skills development in fine art, industrial design, digital media and experiential learning in STEM+Arts (STEAM). Our request directly corresponds with your mission for child welfare and access to educational opportunities.
Benefits Your partnership will support AFH, urban teens, and the world, as we realize our long-term goal to expand the EpiCenter and double creative employment of teens from Boston’s under-resourced communities. We hope you will consider investing in AFH as we increase our capacity to work with young people and promote worldwide social change through employment in the creative industries. Together, we can offer young people a voice, the opportunity to work, and a place to develop the creative, business and academic skills necessary to achieve their goals.
Proposal Description The Youth Arts Enterprise
AFH transforms the experiences of underserved young people through AFH’s central program, the Youth Arts Enterprise, which in 2019 will employ 325+ Boston teens during their crucial out-of-school hours: Tuesday-Thursday from 3:00-6:00PM during the school year and Monday-Friday from 12:00-5:30PM during the summer. AFH partners teens, with little or no experience, over an extended time period with our staff of professional artist and designer mentors; 70% of youth participate for more than one year. Studio sessions focus on developing youth creativity and innovation, featuring a small group structure of 7-20 young people working alongside mentors.

At AFH, youth engage in project-based learning in Painting (Fine Art Commissions and Murals), Graphic Design, Photography, Video and Event Production, Animation and Motion Design, and 3D Design (3D Fine Art Installations, Industrial and Furniture Design). AFH teaches ideation, experimentation and testing; the skill sets most sought-after by today’s employers. Central to our vision is creative employment and partnership with industry to provide a pipeline to jobs in well-compensated creative and technology-based fields.

Youth and art/design mentors collaborate on paid commissions—from multi-media installations for offices and hotels, to brand design and collateral for local businesses and international corporate headquarters—that promote active learning and advance 21st century skills development in creativity, media, collaboration, technology, critical thinking, problem-solving, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts. AFH mentors make explicit the STEM concepts embedded in AFH studio projects to support teens’ in-school learning, and increase the STEM career pipeline for under-represented youth (3).

Commissioned projects require teens to craft a product that responds to client needs. Through this process, young people have positive and encouraging interactions with adults who value their work and appreciate their contributions. Teens participate in planning, product development, and marketing of projects. Like any job, they are expected to be punctual and participate as team members. Unlike most jobs, teens are directly involved in client meetings and negotiations, giving them an important introduction to the professional world.

AFH further prepares teens for today’s global economy by ensuring they have access to emerging technology, digital media, and advanced technological training. The combined experiences and skills gained at AFH are the ones outlined as necessary for academic, career, and life success in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills’ Framework for 21st Century Learning (2).

Enhanced Educational Opportunities for Youth Employees
Understanding that educational opportunities offer pathways to economic attainment, AFH offers significant academic advancement and college access programming (Monday and Friday 3-6PM and Tuesday-Thursday, 6-8PM) including:
Tutoring—As needed, AFH provides teens with 1:1 tutoring to help them develop comprehension in core subjects, succeed in tests, and improve grades. Tutoring is available to all AFH youth employees. Teens with grades of D or below in core subjects or language on their quarterly report cards are required to attend as a condition of their employment.
College Readiness—AFH helps teens develop individualized plans for post-secondary education, and provides assistance with college tours and applications. AFH works with teens to secure scholarships and financial aid packages through a variety of opportunities and institutional partnerships. The class of 2019 received $740,000 in scholarships to date with assistance from AFH’s education staff.
College Persistence/Success—AFH supports program alumni enrolled in post-secondary education with financial and human resources. We offer summertime Assistant Mentor positions at AFH and connect alumni with other employment opportunities through our alumni Facebook page.

The indicators of success are compelling. On average 97-100% of high school seniors working at AFH graduate, and 97-100% of graduating seniors are accepted to college each year. For comparison: 75.1% of Boston Public School students graduate from high school (3).

Population Served
Teens enter AFH because they need a job, because they want a safe place to go after school, and because they want to be part of something productive. What they find is a culture of respect, responsibility, and engaged mentorship where their creativity is valued, their peers are their colleagues, and they have an opportunity to learn and earn money.

AFH’s teen employees represent Boston's diverse demographics and attend Boston public high schools. Currently, our teens are: 28% Asian; 24% Latino; 29% Black; 8% White; 1% Cape Verdean; 1% Haitian; 1% Native American/Alaskan Native; 3% bi- or multi-racial and 5% other. 89% percent of our youth employees are from low-income families. The majority of youth accepted to college every year are first generation. In October 2018, AFH officially opened a 53,000 sq. ft. expanded facility, which will allow us to double youth employment from 250+ to 500+ by 2021, with benchmarks of 325+ in 2019, and 400+ in 2020.

Grant Allocation
If awarded a grant from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation AFH will allocate $7,000 to youth wages and $3,000 to our artistic mentoring staff. AFH teen artists and designers are paid Boston minimum wage, $12/hour. Paying employees proves to them that their work has value and allows young people from low-income families to participate. AFH’s artistic mentoring staff is professional artists and designers who train and collaborate with teens on commissioned projects, while guiding their personal, academic, and professional development.

The AFH experience consistently cultivates social equity by fusing art and enterprise within the context of respect, responsibility and meaningful relationships. Every time a teen artist shares their artwork, they allow viewers to step inside a new world to develop a greater understanding of the young, urban experience. Every time a young person enters a corporation and converses about a design project, sometimes with the CEO, they become that successful businessperson’s peer and shift perceptions—their own included—of a young person’s role in society. Every time an AFH teen acts as an emissary and brings an entrepreneur to the studio, they reinforce the message of our young people’s pro-action and professionalism. Every time an AFH youth approaches a store owner in their neighborhood to create a public mural, and coalesces a mural team, they become a new community leader. While using fine-tuned skills and knowledge to beautify their environment this young person empowers their friends to do likewise. We use “every time” to describe the above events as if they are everyday occurrences for just that reason—they are! And with the opportunities presented by the expanded EpiCenter to increase community involvement through increased studio, gallery, event space, and Maker Studios, AFH will introduce more and more people to the voice and vision of Boston teens.

(1) Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, AFH partnered with the Education Development Center to develop a curriculum based on foundational STEM activities in AFH studio projects. As a part of this work, AFH’s Director of Program Operations created a guide to integrating STEM professionals in the art and design process.
(2) Partnership for 21st Century Learning. “Framework for 21st Century Learning” (2019).
(3) Boston Public Schools Data Reports. “Facts and Figures.” (2019).