By: 
Apr 19, 2012

America’s Promise grew out of the 1997 Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future, when the nation’s living presidents united to affirm that all Americans bear responsibility for the well-being of our children and youth. On April 28, 1997 at that historic and unprecedented assembly in Philadelphia, Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, with Mrs. Nancy Reagan representing President Reagan, declared: “We owe a debt of service to fulfill the God-given promise of America, and our children.”

America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth was born at that assembly and has transformed over the years from a clarion call to action into a national movement of dedicated Americans working together to help millions of young people achieve their full potential. America’s Promise Alliance will officially celebrate its 15th anniversary on April 27.

The Summit — which was also attended by nearly 30 governors, 100 mayors, 145 community delegations, and prominent business leaders — was sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service and United Way of America. These organizations were among the Founding Partners of the America’s Promise Alliance. Retired Gen. Colin L. Powell became America's Promise's Founding Chairman.

Under the founding leadership of Gen. Colin L. Powell, and the continuing leadership of Alma J. Powell, America’s Promise established its roots using a simple guiding principle: that all children and youth deserve the fundamental resources needed to grow up to be healthy, independent and responsible adults. Called the Five Promises, these resources include Caring Adults, Safe Places, a Healthy Start, an Effective Education and Opportunities to Help Others.

Since 1997, the America’s Promise Alliance has grown to become the nation’s largest multi-sector Alliance focused on the well-being of young people. Today, America's Promise encompasses more than 400 partner organizations representing the business community, nonprofits, communities and policymakers. Among some of the accomplishments of this alliance are the following:

  • When Hurricane Katrina displaced millions from their homes in 2005, America's Promise launched Katrina’s Kids — an initiative that united local public and nonprofit sectors along with elected officials to ensure disadvantaged young people displaced by natural disasters receive the resources they need including the Five Promises.
  • Also in 2005, America's Promise launched the 100 Best Communities for Young People competition.
  • In 2006, America's Promise launched First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization committed to making children and their families a priority.
  • In 2007, America's Promise celebrated its 10th Anniversary, including an event attended by Presidents Bush and Clinton. To learn more about how that milestone was recognized, please visit the 10th Anniversary site.
  • To raise awareness and energize coordinated action, America's Promise launched a nationwide Dropout Prevention Campaign in 2008. The campaign generated more than 300 million media impressions. As part of the campaign, America's Promise convened dropout prevention summits in all 50 states and 55 key cities.
  • In 2009, America's Promise began formally recognizing Promises Places where young people can experience all Five Promises under one roof.
  • In 2010, President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined Gen. and Mrs. Powell in announcing the America's Promise Grad Nation Campaign — the largest undertaking in America's Promise history — to mobilize Americans to end the dropout crisis.

Fifteen years, and more than 400 partners later, America’s Promise seeks to deliver the Five Promises by ensuring that all young people graduate from high school and receive a post-secondary education – ready for success, work and life.