AEO Foundation Distributes 34 Grants To Nonprofits In Communities Across New York, Pittsburgh and San Francisco

The AEO Foundation is committed to showing the world that there’s REAL power in the optimism of youth by supporting causes that matter to all of us and the world! In partnership with our associates, the AEO Foundation works to support local youth programming in our communities. Our nonprofit partners make a REAL impact by delivering dynamic programming to support our next generation of leaders, and we recognize their important work and are proud to support them! Click here to learn more about the AEO Foundation Community Grants Program.

Here are some of the organizations that will receive funding from the AEO Foundation for youth programming in Fall 2022.


Common Threads provides children and families cooking and nutrition education to encourage healthy habits that contribute to wellness. They equip under-resourced communities with information to make affordable, nutritious, and appealing food choices. Knowing that food is rooted in culture and tradition, they promote diversity in their lessons and recipes, encouraging participants to celebrate the world around them. Common Threads was awarded a $5,000 grant from the AEO Foundation to support their High School pilot program, through which they will guide teens toward healthy nutritional habits and exposure to various food and health-centric careers through fun and innovative programming. The general program scope involves building life skills, exposure to the world of culinary arts, and education through cooking classes and internships. 

Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation was founded by local residents and merchants in 1983 to build a strong, sustainable Cypress Hills and East New York after a period of rapid neighborhood change, systemic disinvestment by city government and banks, and the flight of long-time residents and loss of local business. Since then, they have organized around housing, education, economic development/small business, bank reinvestment and for the end to the school to prison pipeline. They were awarded a $7,500 grant by the AEO Foundation to fund their College Success Program, which is dedicated to helping local residents reach college and earn their credentials within six years of high school graduation. They offer mental health counseling, opportunities for improved student learning, dropout prevention, attendance outreach, and extended services for the families of their students. 

Groove NYC‘s mission is to empower people to see things in a different way, to have their own perspective, and express themselves freely. GROOVE is an evidence-based movement and music curriculum that embodies the Social Emotional Learn (SEL) methods for young people to experience a growth Mindset, Self-Efficacy, Social Awareness, Positive Body Imaging, Empathy and Creativity. Since their launch in December 2019, they’ve facilitated thousands of people live and online to connect through the consciousness of dance and the healing arts. They were awarded $8,000 from the AEO Foundation to support their Youth Leadership Academy, an empowerment program that teaches essential leadership tactics to undergraduate students studying dance and/or education. By learning how to facilitate GROOVE activities and promote SEL through dance, their college interns gain valuable skills necessary for their careers, all while making a profound, immediate impact upon youth facing mental health struggles. 

GSS/FOSTER PRIDE empowers youth in the New York City foster care system to develop their talents, build self-esteem and reach their potential through mentoring relationships and the arts. Since 1993 over 15,000 youth have participated in visual literacy art classes; job preparedness and financial literacy workshops; internships programs and more that spark creativity, academic learning and help provide the resources these youth need to become successful, independent adults. They were awarded a $9,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their HandMade program, which provides the opportunity for youth in NYC foster care to launch their own line of crocheted items – youth keep $100% of sales. Through this creative experience and included financial literacy workshops, teens develop life skills and a sense of entrepreneurship that helps on their career paths and the competency they need to control their financial future.

NYC Outward Bound Schools In 1987, a group of education experts and Outward Bound enthusiasts, alarmed by the fact that fewer than half of NYC public school students were graduating on-time, founded NYC Outward Bound Schools with the belief that Outward Bound’s dynamic way of teaching and learning could have a transformative effect on student outcomes. Since then, they have adapted the lessons of Outward Bound into an innovative educational approach that challenges and supports young people to do their best work. They were awarded a $10,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support Outdoor Adventure Programming for NYC Youth. This program includes overnight outdoor experiences for students – often the first wilderness-based experience for many participants. Their educational approach delivers rigor through active, real-world learning, develops character skills, inspires students to serve their communities, and instills in them the grit to overcome challenges,

Project I Voted, Inc. #iVoted Festival increases voter turnout by producing record-breaking webcasts and activating entertainment venues to let fans in on election nights who show a selfie from outside their polling place or at home with their blank and unmarked ballot. They meet young and future voters where they already are based per the data on the music and content they are actively engaging with. #iVoted Festival directly targets the historically low turnout group of young voters, while also engaging future voters, between the ages of 15 – 25, because people who vote in the first elections in this age range statistically become voters for life. They were awarded $7,500 to support #iVoted Festival 2022.

Student Leadership Network supports young people growing up in diverse, underserved communities to gain access to higher education, helping them fulfill their dreams. Through their work in college access and success, and girls’ and gender-expansive youth education, they are working toward a future without barriers to the educational opportunities all students deserve. They were awarded a $9,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their 2022-2023 Mental Health Empowerment Program, Robin, at The Young Women’s Leadership Schools of East Harlem. A coach-practice model of social-emotional teaching, Robin brings a new kind of mental health and wellness resource to adolescent and teenage students and their teachers. Robin provides a safe space for students to speak freely and openly about their mental health, and build healthy skills, habits, and mindsets to help them deal with real-life challenges. 

The Campaign Against Hunger‘s mission is to empower their neighbors to live healthier, more productive, and self-sufficient lives by increasing their access to safe, nutritious food and other resources. They were awarded a $9,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support The Green Teens Workforce and Internship Programs, offering paid opportunities to school-aged youth during the summer months and beyond. The Green Teen interns begin their fellowship in June with a rigorous two-week training program that prepares them to perform agriculture and fieldwork, run weekly farm stands, lead volunteer groups, and conduct community outreach and workshops.

Urban Arts helps students explore their creativity and harness technology to defy the odds and define their future. They design and implement cutting-edge Creative Coding programs, rooted in the arts and technology that respond to the most pressing needs of students from underrepresented communities. They have served 250,000 students since 1991, and in 2022 they will serve more than 10,000 students across 75 K-12 Title I public schools in New York City. 

Urban Justice Center- Domestic Violence Project (DVP) is a team of twenty-one passionate, determined lawyers and advocates, supplemented through pro bono counsel, interns, and volunteers who together provide vital, holistic wraparound support and services to help survivors of intimate partner violence and their children establish safe, independent lives, free from violence and abuse. They were awarded a $5,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their Young Adult Empowerment programming, which will provide know your rights workshops, outreach, and legal access for DV survivors between the ages of 15-25. By empowering young people with information about healthy relationships, options for survivors, and their legal rights, Urban Justice Center is able to capture more potential victims and offer them intervention.  

Youth Entrepreneurship and Finance Association (YEFA) was created in 2022 to bring education surrounding business and finance opportunities to students. In conjunction with guidance from academic experts and industry professionals, students gain the confidence and experience necessary to take control of their financial future. YEFA was awarded a $1,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their Youth Sustainable Investment Challenge, an ESG-centered portfolio management competition in which students have the opportunity to think creatively, build their own unique strategies, and test out various financial instruments over the course of 3 months. Finalists (top 10 global students/teams) pitch their investment strategy to a panel of distinguished Wall Street judges, compete in New York City for a $10,000 cash prize pool, and attend a unique networking event in NYC with industry-leading professionals. 

Communitopia provides transformative climate change education that develops today’s climate leaders and advances climate equity. They were awarded a $5,000 grant to support their Climate Action Teams, their successful extracurricular climate advocacy and leadership program designed to center youth voices in the designing of regional climate solutions. Climate Action Teams supports personal growth and development by building a sense of agency, hope, and optimism, sparking students’ interest in careers in sustainability and STEM, builds their understanding of local climate change impacts and solutions, and preparing them as our next generation of organizers, leaders, and change-makers. Their programs are offered free of charge at select middle and high schools in Pittsburgh’s highest-need environmental justice communities.

East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) changes the lives of people facing the impacts of poverty. For over 50 years, EECM has been a community leader in addressing the issues that affect our area’s most at-risk, disadvantaged, and under-served populations. They were awarded a $5,000 grant to support their Children & Youth Services programming, which works to fill the need gaps and fundamentally address social, emotional, and behavioral needs of urban youth by providing mentorship, education and work training, holistic case management, and more. Their goal is to empower and equip children and youth in facing challenges, deviance, delinquency, dysfunction, detachment, violence, and school failure to become successful, socially competent persons and citizens who contribute to their families and communities. 

Girls of Steel Robotics Program, Carnegie Mellon University The Girls of Steel Robotics Program (GoS) was founded in 2010 to address the gender gap in STEM fields and to help students gain leadership, teamwork and communication skills in addition to technical skills like electronics, machining and programming that they may not receive in the classroom. They were awarded a $10,000 grant to support their High School Flagship Program, which provides more than fifty high school girls with the opportunity to push the boundaries of STEM challenges and pursue technological and team experiences that are not always found in the classroom.  

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank The mission of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is to feed people in need and mobilize the community to eliminate hunger. They were awarded a $7,500 grant from the AEO Foundation to support their College Campus Cupboards, which serves a population of often overlooked food insecure college students in our region. There are 11 Campus Cupboards located in our service area. They include BC3 Pioneer Pantry (Butler County Community College), CMU, CCAC Allegheny, CCAC Boyce, CCAC Homewood, CCAC North, CCAC South, CCAC West Hills, Penn State Greater Allegheny, Point Park University and the University of Pittsburgh. Campus Cupboards are supplied with a variety of canned goods, soup, pasta, and other nonperishable foods, as well as some household items. Several of the cupboards will also offer fresh produce in season. Any student in need of food assistance may utilize the cupboards for free.

Hello Neighbor works to improve the lives of recently resettled refugee and immigrant families by matching them with dedicated neighbors to guide and support them in their new lives. They were awarded a $5,000 grant to support their Study Buddy Program, which was founded during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist immigrant families in bridging the digital divide brought on by at-home learning. Their Study Buddy Program continues today as a full-fledged tutoring program which matches young adult volunteer mentors with middle school and high school refugees to help them navigate new classroom technologies and provide academic and personal support, helping them navigate a new culture and set of systems.

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild The mission of MCG Youth & Arts is to inspire creativity, learning, and personal growth through the arts. They were awarded a $10,000 grant to support their Apprenticeship Training Program, which serves teens from Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities and provides access to caring instruction and well-equipped studios for ceramics, photography, design, and digital arts with a focus on additive production (e.g., 3D printing), all at no cost to participants. In addition to valuable art skills, youth develop project management and collaboration skills, improve critical thinking abilities, are introduced to important artistic theories, and develop a life-long love of learning and the arts

Outreach Teen and Family Services For nearly five decades, Outreach Teen & Family Services has been a community resource, offering counseling and educational programs that are easily accessible, professional, non-judgmental, and confidential to children, teens and families. Outreach strives to ensure that children and families have the resources and services necessary to help them live happy and healthy lives. They were awarded a $5,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support the formation of an organizational Youth Advocacy Committee, which will provide 10-12 youth aged 14-21 an ongoing platform to discuss and effect change on organizational issues and policies surrounding youth mental health and wellness, centering their experience and needs. 

Pennsylvania Women Work is a non-profit organization which operates workforce development programs that help participants to achieve financial stability, and fulfill their mission of transforming lives through empowerment, employment and economic independence. They were awarded a $5,000 grant from the AEO Foundation to support their 3 Cups of Coffee-GRAD Mentorship Program, which assists unemployed and underemployed college students in finding life-sustaining employment and creates social capital through networking. The program was founded to combat the disadvantage faced by many low-income and first-generation graduates from non-selective institutions, who often have limited opportunities for employment and career advancement due to a lack of “insider information” and connections to professional networks. 

Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media advances creative excellence in the arts, including studio, media, and creative writing. To achieve its mission, PCA&M provides equipment and facilities for individual artists, conducts educational programs, and stimulates public awareness and understanding through demonstrations, artist residencies, and exhibitions to cultivate a thriving arts community. They were awarded a $5,000 grant from the AEO Foundation to support I’m fine. The project consists of a series of community workshops in which participants create the ceramic mask they wear to portray, minimize or hide their mental health struggles. In the workshops, participants are introduced to the concept that art can tell their story and can be a lifelong learning tool to reduce pain and anxiety. The workshops also strengthen Pennsylvania communities by bringing people together to engage in dialogue and, in turn, to help individuals to feel less isolated and alone in their mental health struggles.  

Schools That Can works to build an education to employment pathway that closes the opportunity and skills gap. Their vision is a revitalized education to employment pathway in which ALL students they serve are prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing future. They do this by providing and facilitating research-driven, culturally-responsive career readiness programming to historically marginalized youth to help them prepare for 21st century life, learning, and work. The AEO Foundation awarded them a $5,000 grant to support their 125-hour Career Readiness Curriculum, a research-driven, multi-year program, embedded directly into the school day. Through three years of programming across grades 10-12, STC invites students at Passport Academy Charter School, Pittsburgh Brashear High School, Northgate Senior High School, and Woodland Hills High School to explore their purpose, gain exposure to in-demand STEM career pathways, and create a concrete plan of action for post-secondary success.

South Hills Interfaith Movement As a comprehensive human services organization for more than fifty years, South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM) provides critical supportive services to families living in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. They were awarded a $7,500 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their Youth Mentoring Program, which operates during the academic school year of the Baldwin-Whitehall School District and continues with engaging activities and support throughout the summer months. Their primary program goals for their participants are academic success, high school graduation, and developing a plan for future education and careers. Youth Mentoring hosts on average 70 students each month in six groups, addressing an array of life skills including cooking, fitness, volunteering, empathy lessons, mental wellness, budgeting to live independently as an adult, learning business skills, public speaking, and discussions about societal expectations.

The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. They say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. They invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process. They were awarded a $5,000 grant from the AEO Foundation to support their Teen Art Cooperative. In this free, eight-month program, a group of 15 teens acquire real-world skills through exposure to local artists, resources, mentorship and behind-the-scenes experiences at the Mattress Factory. While the program’s biggest impact is on these 15 teens who attend the program each week throughout the course of the year, an additional 35-50 teens will be impacted through participation in the Teen Co-op’s end-of-year, large-scale event.

Berkeley Playhouse Inc. Berkeley Playhouse productions serve a diverse Alameda County audience of over 40,000 patrons annually, and their education programs have grown, to serving over 2,000 children per year through theater education classes, camps, conservatory, and free after school programming at public schools. They were awarded a $5,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support Berkeley Playhouse YouthStage, which offers young actors between fourth through twelfth grades the opportunity to participate in audition-based, full-length, high-quality musical productions, through two divisions: KidsStage and TeenStage. This program provides an extraordinary opportunity for youth to learn alongside professional directors, musicians, vocal coaches, and choreographers. 

Marin Foster Care Association Founded in 2003, the Marin Foster Care Association (MFCA) is at the forefront of support and advocacy for foster children and their dedicated caregivers. Our main programs are designed to support a mission of safe, consistent, quality care for every Marin County child in foster care. They were awarded a $5,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support The Opportunity Project. Often, a foster youth’s educational, emotional and physical challenges, as well as their skills and talents, have not been recognized until they enter the dependency system. Similarly, access to resources needed to help the foster youth flourish is limited. The Opportunity Project allows care providers to access grants for foster youth to participate in normalizing and enriching activities that fit their needs, whether it be a week-long tennis camp, six months of math tutoring, or even tuition at a dance studio for a year. Grants range from $50 to $2,500. 

Minsi Trails Council, #502 Boy Scouts The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The local Minsi Trails Council, BSA serves nearly 6,500 youth through the leadership of 2,200 adult volunteers. They were awarded a $5,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their Scoutreach programs in the Hazleton School District, serving boys and girls in grades 1-12. Through Scoutreach, youth participate in free programs offered immediately after school, on school property, and led by school teachers and other concerned adults, who are trained by Boy Scouts and paid a stipend to encourage great leadership. Uniforms, handbooks, advancements, literature, and summer camp are provided to youth free of charge . These strategies remove obstacles such as lack of leadership, transportation, and cost which often prevent youth from becoming involved in traditional Scouting programs.

United Way of Greater Hazleton, Inc. serves as the Hazleton community’s primary vehicle for financial support to human services priorities, and serves as the key agent for community education in these services. Today, the organization has 20 member agencies, collectively responsible for answering more than 170,000 instances of need in their community each year. They were awarded a $5,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support United Way of Greater Hazleton American Eagle Outfitters Youth Allocation Program, which funds the development and enhancement of new and improved Hazleton youth programs. Previously funded programs include a summer camp offering a quiet safe space for children from homes with domestic violence, swimming lessons, scholarships for care at the Hazleton YMCA, and more.

Canadian Courage Project is Canada’s first non-profit organization designed to support the mental health of youth aged 15-24 who own animal companions as they transition out of shelters and into independent housing. To support local youth and their animals, CCP offers mental health, educational workshops, and essential personalized Wellness Departure Kits, and constructs animal care booths in collaboration with Greater Toronto Area (GTA)-based shelters. They were awarded a $10,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support monthly Art & Mindfulness MH Workshops throughout Mississauga. Led by trained facilitators within CCP with the intention to support and mentor youth in shelters by drawing on their lived experiences, These workshops operate by using art in conjunction with mindfulness to create a space where youth can destress and express themselves through the medium of arts, while learning and practicing the tools of mental, emotional, and physical mindfulness. 

JA Central Ontario’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. JA Central Ontario was established in 1968 and is the largest charter in Canada, serving the Halton, Peel, Toronto, York, Durham, and Simcoe regions. They deliver immersive learning in work readiness, financial health, entrepreneurship and more. They were awarded a $5,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their Personal Finance program, serving 125 Mississauga high school students in the 2022/2023 with financial literacy programming. Their Personal Finance program teaches students key money management skills, including spending wisely, budgeting, saving and using credit. The curriculum involves discovering the importance of emergency savings funds and credit cards; learning how to manage finances at different stages of life; creating a monthly budget; identifying a good deal and making good decisions about credit cards and loans, and learning how to recognize potential risks to their personal finances. Students learn by doing through fun, relevant activities and can apply lessons learned to help them succeed. 

CYCLOTRONS – TEAM 8112 was founded at Ottawa High School in 2019. Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology, FIRST Robotics Competitions provide students with near real-world engineering experiences. Under strict rules, limited time and resources, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. At Ottawa High School, FIRST Robotics students are taught the philosophies of gracious professionalism and cooperation through discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork, and fun. It brings forth student involvement and fortifies the true meaning behind FIRST. They were awarded an $11,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their upcoming season. 

ECKAN builds connections and provides program services in East Central Kansas to support the stability, health, and engagement of low-income individuals and families, providing a strategic and empathetic response to the critical needs of people and communities experiencing poverty. They were awarded a $10,000 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their Kindergarten – 12th Grade School and Summer Camp Fee Assistance program. Through this program, ECKAN helps provide Ottawa students with meals when they may have gone without food, helps to pay fees that allows students to participate in graduation activities with their classmates, and helps children remain socially engaged and fed throughout the summer.

Ottawa Recreation Commission serves to improve the mental and physical health and well-being of the citizens of their community. They accomplish this through well-planned, constructive programs of recreation and leisure activities for all. They were awarded a $1,500 grant by the AEO Foundation to support Ottawa Community Recreation Rentals, which allows for free rental of recreation equipment to individuals and families so that they can participate in activities offered at local Ottawa parks.

Ottawa USD 290 The mission of USD 290 is to nurture a safe, cooperative environment that values students, staff, and community and that ensures all students master the skills necessary to be productive citizens and reach their maximum potential. They were awarded a $2,500 grant by the AEO Foundation to support their Day on the Job Program, through which Franklin County students gain exposure to the realities of work, learn about the skills needed for various professions, and gain an understanding of the many gainful, high wage, and high demand employment opportunities that are available to them in Franklin County.  This program is delivered in partnership with Franklin County Development Council and delivered to all Junior students at Wellsville, Central Heights, and West Franklin High Schools.