Creative Youth Development

Background & Purpose

The Creative Youth Development program is rooted in the CAC’s belief that arts learning is
an essential tool for healthy human development and that it should be available to all young
people throughout California, including but not limited to those whose lives have been impacted
or interrupted by the justice system. The CAC envisions that all of California’s young people are
provided with meaningful, culturally responsive arts-learning experiences so that they can
reach their full potential. All projects may occur during or outside of traditional school hours and
should take place at arts and culture venues, community centers, court/school sites, juvenile
halls and camps, county-operated correctional facilities, social services agencies, and other
youth-oriented settings.

Creative Youth Development is a commitment to supporting young people’s stories, ideas, and
dreams through creative expression and honoring their lived experience. In order to create
environments that promote Creative Youth Development, these three concepts must be

  • Racial Equity and Social Justice
  • Youth Voices
  • Collective Action

Beneficiaries of Creative Youth Development projects include youth from infancy to 25 years of
age. Support for system-engaged, system-impacted, and/or at-promise youth are an additional
priority with successful projects being tailored specifically to respond to their needs. These may
be youth and young people who were dismissed from middle, high and/or continuation schools;
have been subjected to racial profiling; have been arrested or are on probation; are currently
incarcerated at a juvenile justice facility or attending a court-appointed educational institution;
are undocumented; are unhoused and/or migratory; are refugees; have incarcerated parent(s)
or guardian(s); and/or are pregnant or young parents themselves. Examples of applicable
projects include but are not limited to:

  • arts projects in early learning, daycare, or foster-care environments.
  • projects that support the transmission of traditional arts and cultural practices.
  • youth leadership, apprenticeship, and mentorship opportunities in arts, social service, or youth correctional settings.
  • arts programming that supports social/emotional learning, workforce development or entrepreneurial skills.

Program Goals

  • Projects should address one or more of the following Creative Youth Development program goals:
  • Provide social-emotional creative experiences in safe, healthy, and appropriate learning environments.
  • Foster creative abilities of youth through culturally and linguistically responsive arts learning.
  • Support arts programs that seek to activate youth voices, narratives, and perspectives.
  • Utilize cultural assets of the local community to support positive self-identification and respect for diverse cultures.
  • Empower youth through the preservation, revitalization, and/or reclamation of cultural practices.
  • Cultivate the development of transferable life skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, and collaboration.

Eligible Request Amounts 

Applicant organizations can request up to $25,000 for the nine-month grant activity period.

Application Restrictions

Organizations may apply for only one (1) 2024 Arts & Youth Grant Program, including:

  • Creative Youth Development
  • Arts Education Exposure
  • Arts Integration Training

Funding Restrictions 

• For organizations with total operating revenue below $250,000, no funding restrictions

• For organizations with total revenue above $250,000, the sum of requests during the same year of funding cannot exceed 50% of the total revenue from the most recently completed fiscal year.

Matching Funds

This grant does not require matching funds.

Grant Program Overview

Overview video coming soon.

Office Hours

Virtual office sessions are available to provide technical assistance for the Creative Youth Development grant. Join Arts Program Specialists Gabrielle Rosado and Natalie Peeples as they answer general questions regarding this program. Prospective applicants are welcome to drop in during any session; registration is not required. The CYD office hour schedule and links for each session are listed below:

Wednesday, April 10, noon-1 p.m. – Click to join

Wednesday, April 24, noon-1 p.m. – Click to join

Friday, May 10, noon-1 p.m. – Click to join

Wednesday, May 22, noon-1 p.m. – Click to join

Application Links

Online Application Portal:


Guidelines (Spanish)

Grants Manual

Grants Manual (Spanish)

Frequently Asked Questions

Grant Resources

Grant Review Panel Process

List of current Grantees (2022 Cycle C)

Program Timeline

Application OpensMarch 28, 2024
Application DeadlineJune 6, 2024
Panel ReviewApprox. July – August 2024
Funding DecisionApprox. September 2024
Funding NotificationApprox. Septemeber 2024
Grant Activity StartJanuary 1, 2025
Estimated Arrival of FundsApprox. January – March 2025
Grant Activity EndSeptember 30, 2025
Final Report DeadlineOctober 30, 2025

Staff Assistance

Before contacting staff, check FAQs to see if application questions can be answered. If staff assistance is still required for guidance or clarification, email is the best way to contact Program Specialists. We recommend that you contact staff well in advance of the deadline to ensure you can be accommodated. People who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind, or have difficulty speaking may dial 711 to reach the California Relay Service (CRS). Large print is available upon request.

Staff contact

Gabrielle Rosado
Arts Program Specialist

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