Austin Belali

Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Austin Belali

Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Austin Belali - Director, Youth Engagement Fund

Austin Belali is the director of the Youth Engagement Fund (YEF) that serves as a grantmaking advisor, pooled funder and supporter to identify, engage and empower young people in the United States. The YEF works to make active participation (voter participation, criminal justice reform, college affordability) habitual and the norm among the young people hardest to reach by governing institutions. Austin traces his passion for community engagement to his grandparents' experiences during the peak of the American civil rights movement and his own journey across South America, India and West Africa where he encountered contemporary struggles for peoples' rights. These experiences shaped his core belief that many solutions to improve the human condition (reducing inequities, ensuring workers' wellbeing, protecting the environment etc.) are unsustainable when the people who need change are not in the drivers seat of the change. Austin comes to the YEF after successfully establishing a program at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to find, engage and develop low socio-economic status youth and emerging leaders. In addition, Austin led a collaboration between young leaders across the United States pivotal to recent social justice movements (Occupy Wall Street, anti-police brutality and immigration reform). He is a frequent writer on topics related to entrepreneurship among young people of color and social justice for outlets including The Hill, MSNBC, and the Washington Post magazine. Currently, he serves on the board of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table and a Latino and immigrant advocacy and assistance organization called CASA. Austin is passionate about supporting research and experimentation on high-impact strategies to reach and engage targeted populations such as young people, immigrants or the formerly incarcerated whether through voter registration, health care enrollment or workforce re-entry programs.

  • Education
    • Howard University