Grantee Spotlight: Digital NEST, part of the Gilroy Youth Impact Center


(It’s been almost three years in the making – Community Vision Capital and Consulting working with Jacob Martinez of Digital NEST and other youth-serving organizations on #SharedSpace, a “vision of a youth-centered economic mobility hub and a community space for Gilroy youth to build culture and power.” This demonstrates so many of the values Nonprofit Connection SCC shares with its nonprofit members: “It’s really about collaboration, collective impact, and working together intergenerationally to change something for the future.” ~ Rose Filicetti)

“We recently sat down with Diane Ortiz, CEO of Youth Alliance to learn more about the collaborative building acquisition and launch of the Gilroy Youth Impact Center. Sobrato Philanthropies is thrilled to have the opportunity to support Youth Alliance’s vision of a youth-centered economic mobility hub and a community space for Gilroy youth to build culture and power.

“We’re so excited about this effort,” Diane shared. “The Gilroy Youth Impact Center will be a hub for young people and families, specifically in East Gilroy.”

In this area of South Santa Clara County, the Gilroy community has been generationally impacted by underinvestment. The Center will not only serve as a physical location for young people and families to gather, but will also provide youth with supportive “cradle to career” resources. These will likely include access to drop-in programs for youth leadership, career development, and empowerment programs.

“Most importantly, it will be a hub for the community to gather, to find connection and belonging. We believe it will be catalytic for the Gilroy community to have a physical hub, not only for young people to feel safe and seen, but a place that is theirs and run by them.”

The Center will also serve as a program space for BIPOC-led organizations to utilize. “We’ve heard from similar organizations like ours that they have been very concerned with displacement,” she said. “With inflation, high cost of rent, many youth serving organizations have been unable to find an accessible long-term space to provide vital resources for youth… We hope the Center will serve as a space for all.” Diane shared that Youth Alliance’s long-term goal is to eventually increase the Center’s footprint so that more organizations might be able to offer programming and increased resources – opening up possibilities for coalition and power building, collaborative impact, and ensuring a stronger community.

The Gilroy Youth Impact Center has been a dream shared by several partners of Youth Alliance for some time now, including Digital NEST, which creates sustainable and scalable technology learning centers for Latinx youth, and the Latino Family Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Gilroy Community Foundation that ensures investments in Latino priorities, nonprofit organizations, and social issues.

Diane shared that Bay Area community development and financial institution Community Vision was additionally instrumental in providing strategic guidance on the project, allowing Youth Alliance, Digital NEST, and Latino Family Fund to come together through their community-owned shared space accelerator project.

“I think the reason the Gilroy Youth Impact Center has been able to raise funds and get the visibility that we’ve had so far is because of the different leaders that are at the table,” Diane said. “Our dream for a physical location was secured by partnering with others who have different strengths. The Latino Family Fund has very deep roots in the community, and they bring credibility and respect to numerous stakeholders in the area, and Community Vision brought in this real estate expertise that we just don’t have.” Read more in this May 18, 2023 article by Diane Ortiz, CEO of Youth Alliance


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