Press Release

Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance Announce Youth Opportunity Fund Grant Recipients in 10 U.S. Cities

$3 million Fund will support 12 organizations selected for their innovative, scalable ideas to help connect low-income youth to career opportunities

Washington, D.C. (August 26, 2015) – The Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance today announced that 12 nonprofit organizations have been selected as recipients of the Youth Opportunity Fund, a $3 million initiative to support city-level, innovative and scalable programs connecting more than 3,500 youth to opportunities that increase their employability and prepare them for lifelong success. 

The Youth Opportunity Fund is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, designed to support direct-service programs that empower urban youth, ages 16 to 24. The Fund has awarded one-year grants of $250,000 to nonprofit organizations in 10 U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. 

“The future competitiveness of America’s cities hinges on the positive economic outcomes of our young people,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation. “We launched the Youth Opportunity Fund to support the innovative work of community partners who are helping low-income youth create the on-ramps that will lead towards career success.”

“We are dealing with the mixed reality of our nation’s high school graduation numbers increasing at unprecedented rates, while an estimated 5.6 million young people are not in school or employed,” said John Gomperts, president & CEO of America’s Promise. “The dozen Youth Opportunity Fund grantees are vital to connecting thousands of young people to opportunities that boost their ability to compete in today’s economy.”

The Fund supports programs that address youth unemployment through partnerships with municipal governments and collaborations across industries that are core to the economies of the Pathways to Progress cities, including IT, tech, healthcare, the service industry and environmental sustainability. Grantees will collaborate and share best practices on the most effective ways to expand and connect youth to economic opportunity in their communities. 

“To get ahead, young people need two things: opportunity and access,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Together, we can leverage resources and develop talent that could have a major impact on our business communities and lead to a more stable future for youth across each city. We are grateful to the Citi Foundation for its support of our Expanding NYC Service Years initiative. Their commitment is helping New York City address critical city needs through the expansion of neighborhood-based service year programs which recruit and develop a local workforce pipeline.”

“Partnerships, like those with the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance’s Youth Opportunity Fund organizations, will allow cities to connect even more of our most vulnerable young people to skills training, work experience and first-time paychecks,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “These opportunities will not only help put youth on a path to success but also benefit their families, our communities and our local economies.”  

Below is a full list of grantees:

  • BOSTON: In partnership with the Office of the Mayor, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley will enroll youth participants in Boston Youth Venture (BYV), a civic engagement and entrepreneurship program focused on communication and project management skills for college and career.
  • CHICAGO: In collaboration with the Office of the Mayor and Cook County Board, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership will prepare young people for local job opportunities through employer-customized workforce development programs that build leadership and workplace skills.
  • DALLAS: In partnership with the Dallas County Juvenile Department, Café Momentum will help the community’s most at-risk youth participate in life and leadership skills training, mentorship, and paid internships to foster successful re-entry into the community.
  • LOS ANGELES: In a joint effort with the Office of the Mayor and the Los Angeles Unified School District, UNITE-LA, an affiliate of the L.A. Chamber of Commerce, will provide youth with workforce readiness training and certification that may lead to paid summer employment opportunities at partner healthcare institutions.
  • LOS ANGELES: Center for Powerful Public Schools, in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Linked Learning Office, will help prepare low-income youth, ages 16 to 18, for promising careers in energy engineering and sustainability.
  • MIAMI: In partnership with private and public partners, Communities in Schools of Miami will provide youth with workplace mentoring throughout the school year and with paid summer internships.
  • NEW YORK CITY: Building on strong relationships with the New York City Housing Authority, Per Scholas will establish a scalable, borough-specific model and citywide federal education and training network that will help young adults finish school, attend college and/or start a career.
  • NEW YORK CITY: Together with the Office of the Mayor and NYC Service, United Way of New York City will launch Expanding NYC Service Years, a project that will mobilize new service members to contribute a year of full-time service to their community with the goal of helping youth define their own pathways towards success.
  • NEWARK: YouthBuild Newark, in conjunction with the City of Newark and Newark Public Schools, will provide young people who are out-of-school and served in a community-based setting and/or enrolled in its partner alternative high schools with job training, career exploration, and national service opportunities.
  • ST. LOUIS: The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. in collaboration with the City/County Workforce Board and Claim Academy Tech boot-camp along with higher educational partners will provide youth with 21st century IT skills training and credentialing that can lead to long-term employment.
  • SAN FRANCISCO: Through collaboration with more than 40 top Bay Area companies, academic partners and San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Year Up Bay Area will educate and train young people in 2016 to fill the thousands of tech-based “middle-skills jobs” that remain unfilled year after year in corporations that are leaders in a wide range of business sectors.
  • WASHINGTON, D.C. Through public and private partnerships in Washington, D.C., Urban Alliance will empower 250 young people to work and succeed through formal training, paid internships and mentorship.

In its first year, nearly 25,000 young people have been impacted by the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, a three-year, $50 million commitment to give 100,000 low-income youth in the U.S. the opportunity to develop the workplace skills and leadership experience necessary to compete in a 21st century economy. The initiative includes national organizations such as the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Points of Light, AmeriCorps, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, iMentor and Cities for Financial Empowerment.

To learn more about the Youth Opportunity Fund and each grantee visit:  


About America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance leads an alliance of organizations, communities and individuals dedicated to making the promise of America real for every child. As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce. For more information, visit

About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit