Case Studies

Youth-Informed Insights Strengthen Philanthropy’s Impact

  • Data-Driven School Culture Improvement
  • Empower Student Voice and Agency
  • Empower Your Grantees with Tailored Insights
A laptop screen partially obscured by the viewer's shoulder, with a YouthTruth report displayed

The Education Program of a philanthropic foundation in New England embarked on a journey to deepen its impact by listening to the voices of high school students. Partnering with YouthTruth, the foundation aimed to understand the critical components of a high-quality learning environment directly from those experiencing it.

Upon gathering data, the foundation’s Education team took proactive steps to learn and adapt. They participated in a YouthTruth workshop alongside their grantees, immersing themselves in the educators’ perspectives on student data. This workshop, tailored by the YouthTruth team, provided nuanced insights crucial for informing the foundation’s college and career pathways program.

Building on this engagement, the foundation went beyond surface-level understanding. They commissioned a researcher to distill collective insights from their grantees’ data, delving into themes that resonated across different school contexts. These insights unearthed key challenges:

  1. Limited Access to Quality Learning: Students highlighted the need for more challenging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences.
  2. Timely College and Career Planning: Concerns emerged about the late start in college and career planning, leaving underclassmen feeling unprepared and uncertain.
  3. Perception Gaps: A notable disparity surfaced between students’ perceptions and the support they received from adults in their learning journeys.

Armed with these youth-informed insights, the foundation took a transparent approach. They shared the lessons learned publicly, acknowledging the need for continuous improvement within their own strategies. By integrating these insights into their philanthropic endeavors, the foundation aimed to bridge gaps, amplify opportunities, and create more impactful interventions that resonate with the realities faced by today’s students.