Our Story & Mission.
Project 9 was founded almost entirely overnight.
The inspiration hit me while I was an intern for my state representative, Representative Ruth Balser. My primary responsibility as intern was to organize constituent outreach, and I quickly noticed that young people almost never reached out to the representative.
There were 50, 60, 70, 80-year-olds (90, even!) that emailed and called multiple times a week, but young people under the ages of 18, and even 25, never reached out. Change begins at the state and local level, so why weren't young people engaging? Where was the disconnect?
I envisioned an organization––youth-led, nonpartisan, and locally focused––that made youth political engagement as streamlined as possible.
There was no plan in place, no structure, no organization, just an idea and an understanding that the issue was so critical I couldn’t afford to wait. So after a whirlwind all-nighter, I managed to throw together a website and Instagram and that’s how Project 9 came to be. By the wee hours of the morning, I had published our website, sending the Project 9 out into the world.
I viewed the lack of youth political engagement, specifically with state and local issues, as being a multifaceted problem, but one that stems largely from a lack of accessibility and simplicity. My aim with Project 9 was to streamline the process of engagement, to not only make politics accessible, but to incentivize participation, to empower young people to truly believe they have a voice.
Now, three years later, we are a fiscally sponsored 501(c)(3), counting youth members in 47 states. We’re partnered with a multitude of groundbreaking organizations, including the American Youth Policy Forum and the National Women’s Political Caucus. We offer independently curated opportunities in conjunction with the programs offered by our partners, including lobby days for critical climate legislation, consulting for local campaigns for public office, advocacy workshops, and more.
Above all, we strive to invigorate our members with not just a desire to create meaningful change, but also with the belief that their advocacy can have a genuine impact. We empower young people to believe in their ability to make a difference, to believe that change is so possible it feels nearly tangible.
- Nika Farokhzad, Founder & Executive Director