History of SparkAction

June 1, 2010

Our History

SparkAction launched in 2010 after a strategic planning process involving more than 100 organizations across the country, with funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies. Together, SparkAction's team worked with these organizations to develop the mission and brand and to design this site.

It started with a simple idea: child and youth organizations could mobilize more people and have a stronger impact on policies, outcomes and communities if we worked collectively to achieve shared goals and amplify each other's messages.

The process brought together several existing cross-cutting and mutli-issue entities to create a single, shared megaphone that can help any organization or individual working to improve the lives of children and youth do so more effectively. The strategic planning process merged Connectforkids.org, the YouthPolicyActionCenter and the National Youth Development Information Center.

Our story, in brief:


Connect for Kids was launched as KidsCampaigns in 1996 by The Benton Foundation, to demonstrate effective use of new media and communications technologies (particularly the Internet) to further the field of children’s research and advocacy. The groundwork for Connect For Kids was laid in 1991 through the work of the Coalition for America's Children, co-founded by The Benton Foundation. The Coalition's "Who's for Kids and Who's Just Kidding" campaigns worked to put kids at the forefront of the public agenda and to make political candidates accountable on kids' issues.


In 1999, KidsCampaigns redesigned the site and changed its name to Connect For Kids based on research on our usability and effectiveness. At the time, it was the largest gateway website for news and information on children's issues. In 2003, Connect For Kids became an independent nonprofit organization. Unfortunately, funding problems led the Board of Directors to decide to shut down Connect for Kids in 2006. Its assets were transferred to the Forum for Youth Investment.

YPACThe Youth Policy Action Center (YPAC) launched in 2005, the result of more than 30 of the country’s leading national advocacy organizations working together. YPAC gives young people and adults the information and tools they need to learn about state and federal policy, contact elected officials, organize campaigns and connect with each other to effect real change. Since its launch, YPAC has helped 32,000 people send more than 73,000 messages to their elected officials. 

NYDICThe National Youth Development Information Center, an initiative of the National Collaboration for Youth, offered youth workers a one-stop website for publications and professional development resources covering: funding, programming, research, policy, job and training opportunities. NYDIC also maintained one of the largest online libraries, providing practice-related information at low-cost or no cost. NYDIC's goal was to provide constant opportunities for practitioners to share knowledge and experience, enabling them to build the best practice in the field of youth development.

Together, we are now SparkAction.org. SparkAction is committed to preserving the legacy of these organizations by continuing to grow and innovate, and to gather, promote and produce the highest-quality stories, publications, data, and interactive action tools.

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