Youth INC recognizes Trail Blazers with the inaugural Partner in Impact Award at its 28th Annual Celebration Gala

October 31, 2022

Youth INC, a leading venture philanthropy organization in New York City, is proud to recognize Trail Blazers, its longstanding nonprofit partner, with the inaugural Partner in Impact Award at its 28th Annual Celebration Gala on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. At the event, Youth INC will also honor David Mussafer, chairman and managing partner of Advent International, with the John C. Whitehead Leadership Award in recognition of his distinguished leadership in working to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. 

Through its venture philanthropy model, Youth INC invests in hundreds of nonprofit leaders each year to help build the thriving organizations required to help young people thrive. Collectively, its powerful network of over 80 nonprofit partners champions more than 250,000 young people living in under-resourced communities across New York City. The Partner in Impact Award shines a light on transformative youth development nonprofits whose growth and partnership with Youth INC effects powerful and sustainable change.

For over a century, Trail Blazers has advanced equitable access to outdoor opportunities for young people that face significant barriers to accessing greenspaces. Guided by the tenet that economic inequality should not dictate a young person's access to essential opportunities to connect, learn, and thrive, Trail Blazers, through its programming and scholarship fund, makes it possible for all young people to step into the world equipped with essential social-emotional life-skills and values that promote care for self, others, community, and the environment.  

"Our partnership with Youth INC has been one of the most significant drivers of our growth and development as an organization,” said Riel Peerbooms, MSW, executive director, Trail Blazers. “When we started working with Youth INC 15 years ago, Trail Blazers had an operational budget of $450,000, which ran our Summer Overnight Camp for 300 campers. Youth INC’s seed funding, fundraising training, board development, networking, and other support enabled us to grow to a $4.8 million organization, engaging over 1,800 young people through our portfolio of programs. None of this would have been possible without Youth INC’s partnership."
"Under Riel’s strategic leadership, Trail Blazers has created a growth-mindset culture that has expanded its growth and deepened its impact on thousands of young people,” said Rehana Farrell, executive director, Youth INC. “We have learned as much from our partnership as they have from us, and we are proud to name them our inaugural Partner in Impact.”

Youth INC's Celebration Gala is the organization's signature event, through which it raises over $3 million annually to equip hundreds of nonprofit leaders with the tools and resources needed to build strong and sustainable organizations that champion New York City youth. 


Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers have led access to the outdoors for all young people since our first summer in 1887. We have remained dedicated to serving young people’s needs through a portfolio of summer and year-round programs rooted in nature and the outdoors. In addition to being one of the oldest summer camp programs in the United States, we are the first to focus specifically on environmental education. Today, we engage over 1,800 young people and support equitable access to essential opportunities for young people to connect, learn, and thrive through various camps, after-school, and leadership/workforce development programs. For more information, visit