Our programmatic approach


EMpower seeks to impact the life of each and every young person at-risk. The best way to achieve this goal is to support the local organizations in these communities that know them best. EMpower makes grants to local organizations that have a proven record of successful service with young people. We partner with grantees who demonstrate effectiveness and a true interest in learning and growth. We ensure the most efficient use of resources and aim to minimize bureaucracy at all steps along the way so that young people receive maximum benefit. By providing support, we help our partners expand their reach or improve their programs and services, and develop innovative new approaches. We focus our grantmaking in four areas crucial to youth development–livelihoods, education, leadership and community engagement, and health and wellbeing– to ensure that young people have access to the tools and resources needed to thrive.

Capacity Building

EMpower works closely with its grantee partners to determine how best to strengthen their effectiveness.  Organizations are often interested in learning from others doing similar work, or accessing expertise in particular areas. Where possible, EMpower helps grantee partners through one or more of the following:

  • Conducting workshops on specific topics regarding youth development
  • Providing training materials or other resources
  • Matching interns to NGOs
  • Facilitating meetings with other NGOs or donors
  • Creating partnerships among organizations based on shared interests and concerns
  • Sharing best practices and lessons learned among organizations
  • Providing feedback on strategies, program design or important funding proposals
A Special Focus On Girls And Young Women

Through a partnership with the Nike Foundation, EMpower has invested in strengthening opportunities for at-risk adolescent girls. Adolescent girls in developing countries often face triple discrimination due to their gender, their age, and their conditions of poverty; their marginalization may be compounded if they are from ethnic or religious minorities, migrants, or with other challenging experiences or histories such as sexual violence, trafficking, HIV status or other.  Yet, strong evidence suggests the power of investing in adolescent girls; additional education, for example, is associated with higher lifetime earnings, improved health for her and her future children, and a range of other benefits. Given both the need and the potential for investing in adolescent girls, EMpower has supported organizations working to improve their outreach to and programming for girls; to infuse an awareness of gender throughout their organizations’ work, and to develop and share knowledge, tips and resources about how to empower and skill girls in several critical areas, using entrepreneurship and sports as an approach to increase girls’ abilities.  The downloadable handbook, It’s Her Business:  Helping Low Income Women Become Entrepreneurs¡Manos a la obra, amigas! Fomentando emprendimientos entre jóvenes marginadas) (came out of these efforts and are available at itsherbusiness.org)

About girleffect.org  girleffect.org tells the story of girls creating a ripple impact of social and economic change on their families, communities and nations. The work of the Girl Effect is driven by girl champions around the globe. The Nike Foundation created the Girl Effect with significant financial and intellectual contributions by the NoVo Foundation and Nike, Inc. and in collaboration with key partners such as the United Nations Foundation and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls.

EMpower is currently hosting Lydia Holden, Communications Lead, for the Grassroots Girls Initiative.

Adolescent Girls Learning Community in Mumbai

The Adolescent Girls Learning Community in Mumbai begins its 3rd year in 2015 with the goals of 1) enhancing the skills and effectiveness of an organization’s staff, and 2) training girls and young women to be “agents of change.” The members of the Adolescent Girls Learning Community include; Aangan Trust, Akshara, CORO, Vacha Trust and Vidhayak Sansad. See the recent “Yearbook” created by the girls during their last workshop in August, 2014.  LEARNING COMMUNITY YEARBOOK