Generation Z Can Change Society Through Service

New funding transforms youth-led community service countrywide

CHICAGO, January 10, 2024 – Community service helps today’s young people build social trust while enhancing their communities, preparing youth to tackle complex social, political, and scientific problems. 62% of Gen Z believe they can create change, yet only 28% of people under 25 years old report regular community service participation.

To ignite renewed and sustainable investment in youth service countrywide, The Center for Expanding Leadership & Opportunity (CELO) and The Allstate Foundation launched “A Return To Service,” a significant step in transforming how youth discover, create, and participate in service projects. 


The partnership includes new funding and focuses on three areas:

  • Youth Service Stimulus Grants: The Allstate Foundation awarded more than $1M in fall 2023, including funding for America’s Service Commissions, injecting funds to more than a dozen community colleges, HBCUs, and other higher education institutions across the United States. 

Dr. Amrik Johal, Assistant Dean of Students at Irvine Valley College shared, “Our partnership with The Allstate Foundation and CELO is a catalyst for broadening interpretations of service and leadership for our students, including community service, leadership, engagement, and extracurricular opportunities. By participating, we have been able to operationalize a robust, youth-led, service-oriented collegiate experience that supports student success in college and beyond.”

  • Cross-Sector & Intergenerational Fellowship on the Future of Service:, CELO launched a fellowship between youth, youth-serving organizations and scholars, creating a new service framework and preparing young people for evolving, unique challenges and opportunities. The fellowship’s participants are accelerating results and re-defining service for future generations. 

Reflecting on the fellowship experience, youth participant Kayla Foster, shared, “My participation activated me as a change agent in my community. While a daunting task, this collaboration is developing a new model of youth service that reimagines, redefines, and reignites the possibilities of equitable youth engagement and service across the United States. It’s exciting to know that this work will have an impact across programs, ages, sectors, locations, and philanthropy.”

  • National Strategy to Drive Service & Impact: The partnership includes research, insights and significant investments to engage, equip, and prepare youth to serve. This data will inform recommendations for how governments, communities and schools can enrich service—creating valuable opportunities and inspiring youth to accelerate positive change. 

Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, president of Norfolk State University, reflected, “Providing research and funding for youth investment in community service changes lives and communities. This is transformational change.”


“Youth are ready and more than capable of leading and creating change in their communities, and The Allstate Foundation is dedicated to helping them make an impact,” said Greg Weatherford II, Youth Empowerment Program Office for The Allstate Foundation. “The work in this robust partnership will develop valuable insights and define best practices for youth-led service, equipping parents, educators, nonprofits and others with a framework and other critical tools for empowering youth to lead service in their communities.”

“We believe service, when carried out with dignity and mutual respect, benefits all involved, and instills in youth a desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves,” said Sonny Garg, CEO of CELO. “Classroom learning is really only the start of a meaningful educational experience. Service opportunities like the ones made possible by The Allstate Foundation create better citizens and employees, managers, and ultimately leaders.”

More about The Allstate Foundation: The Allstate Foundation aims to create prosperous communities where people are inspired and empowered to fulfill their hopes and dreams. The Allstate Foundation dedicates their work to four core areas of need: (1) empowering youth to serve, (2) disrupting the cycle of relationship abuse, (3) advancing racial equity, and (4) strengthening nonprofit leaders with the Nonprofit Leadership Center. Learn more about The Allstate Foundation.

More about The Center for Expanding Leadership & Opportunity (CELO): CELO aims to create opportunity ecosystems of evidence-based tools, learning experiences, and practices that exponentially increase access, optimize program quality, and accelerate impact for every young person. The goal of CELO is to ensure that opportunities for learning and growth are distributed as equally as the abundance of talent in our communities. We accomplish this by integrating the science of learning and cutting-edge research with program innovation and community co-creation of learning solutions. Learn more about CELO.


Media Contact:

Sydnee Patterson