Youth Opportunity Fund 2015 Grantees

The national graduation rate is 82.3 percent, the highest in history, and the greatest gains have been made by students of color and students from low-income families. Still, there are more than 5 million young people ages 16-24 who are not in school or working. More must be done to help connect young people to opportunities that lead to meaningful educational and career pathways. 
America’s Promise and the Citi Foundation are working together to support ideas that help young people obtain skills that will allow them to reach their full potential and achieve their American Dream.
The Youth Opportunity Fund provides grants to nonprofits working in innovative ways to place low-income young adults on a path towards college and career success in ten cities across the United States: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. 
In 2015, the Citi Foundation and America's Promise selected 12 organizations as inaugural grant recipients. Each grantee is implementing an innovative program that will increase the employability of young people and connect them to economic opportunities in their cities. Read the full press release>>

2015 Grantee News Features and Blogs

How are 2015 Youth Opportunity Fund grantees finding creative ways to prepare young people for 21st century careers? Read these in-depth news features and blogs to find out. Note: this series is in progress—more stories to come!
Drawn by Manufacturing, These Young People Are Making Things Happen. Manufacturing Careers Internship Program, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Chicago, Illinois, June 1, 2016
Youth Explore Health Careers by Getting to Know Those in the Know. UNITE-LA, Los Angeles, California, May 25, 2016
The Power of High Expectations - and Strong Support. Year Up Bay Area, San Francisco, California, May 17, 2016. 
New YouthBuild Partnership: Three Campuses, One Mission. YouthBuild Newark, Newark, New Jersey. April 26, 2016. 
How My Urban Alliance Mentor Helped Me Succeed. (Youth Blog), Urban Alliance, Washington, D.C., April 12, 2016
How This Tech Training Program Helped Build My Future. (Youth Blog), Per Scholas, New York City, March 10, 2016
This Afterschool Program Helps Youth Change the World. Youth Venture, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Boston, March 9, 2016
New Tech Program Combats Youth Unemployment in St. Louis. Youth Tech, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, March 3, 2016
Want to Serve Youth? Try Helping Them Serve. City Service Corps, NYC Service, New York City, February 5, 2016
What Do Disadvantaged Youth Need More than Anything Else? Urban Alliance, Washington, D.C., January 12, 2016

2015 Grantees


In partnership with the Mayor Marty Walsh, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley is engaging 300 youth participants in Boston Youth Venture (BYV), a civic engagement and entrepreneurship program for youth age 16 to 20. BYV invests in teams of youth to develop, launch, manage and sustain community-benefitting projects, and provides them with ongoing training, mentoring and financial support to actualize their ideas. Working with industry leaders in the fields of marketing, technology, community development and finance, BYV provides experiential learning opportunities that build readiness for jobs and careers through communication and project management, leadership and teamwork.


The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) is a nonprofit agency created under the joint leadership of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. The Partnership's mission is to improve workforce development services and support job creation and economic development across Cook County by helping job seekers prepare for and find jobs, while better serving the needs of employers for a skilled labor force. The Partnership designs employer-customized training programs that build leadership and workplace skills in young adults and connects them with employment opportunities. With support from the Youth Opportunity Fund, 250 youth are completing workforce training programs and have opportunities for industry certification and full-time employment.


More than 6,500 youth enter the Dallas County Juvenile system each year. Upon release, youth often return to our communities with insufficient social and life skills. Café Momentum is a restaurant and culinary training facility that transforms young lives by equipping the Dallas community’s most at-risk youth with life skills, education and employment opportunities to help them achieve their full potential. Through a partnership with the Dallas County Juvenile Department and support from the Youth Opportunity Fund, 250 adjudicated youth are learning life and leadership skills through various programs and paid internships. They rotate through every aspect of the restaurant industry, working side-by-side with established chefs while learning culinary and social skills and earning a livable wage. Participants receive continued mentoring and support to foster successful re-entry into the community.

Los Angeles

Research indicates that a shortage of health professionals and lack of diversity impact access to healthcare in California. To address these pipeline gaps, UNITE-LA, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce that promotes business-education partnerships and provides workforce development opportunities for youth in the Los Angeles area, developed a program for high school students that is providing students with opportunities to explore careers in health care through job shadowing, career fairs and curriculum development. Support from the Youth Opportunity Fund is allowing UNITE-LA to expand its career pathways program by providing 375 youth with workforce readiness training and certification that may lead to paid summer employment opportunities at partner health care institutions through the city’s HIRE-LA’s Youth program. 
Engineering Environmental Innovation (EEI) is a school-based technical skills and job-training program developed by Center for Powerful Public Schools.  The program is focused on preparing low-income youth, age 16 to 18, for promising careers in energy engineering and sustainability in Los Angeles. EEI students are gaining engineering skills, exposure to efficiency contracting, and experience in career pathways at the frontline of making climate resilient cities. With support from the Youth Opportunity Fund, at least 250 youth participants are receiving hands-on experience and developing technical skills in energy engineering and sustainability.


Communities In Schools of Miami works to empower at-risk students by surrounding them with a community of support through mentoring, tutoring, life skills development, case management, counseling and job readiness training. The Communities Helping Adolescents Mentor Program (CHAMP) facilitates relationships between youth and businesses while providing critical workplace exposure, hands-on experience, and personal, career and academic mentoring. With support from the Youth Opportunity Fund, 450 youth are receiving workplace mentoring throughout the year, along with paid summer internships.


YouthBuild Newark is an education-focused, youth and community development agency that supports the achievement of 16-to-24-year-old young adults who are academically under-skilled, under-employed, and/or have been involved with the juvenile justice system. The Youth Opportunity Fund is allowing 300 youth participants who are out-of-school and served in a community-based setting and/or enrolled in partnering alternative high schools to create individualized career path plans, engage in AmeriCorps service, and obtain industry-recognized vocational credentials.

New York City

Over 200,000 out-of-school and out-of-work young adults reside in New York City. Together Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Service, and United Way of New York City launched Expanding NYC Service Years, a project that creating high-impact service programs that mobilize youth and young adults to contribute a year of full-time service to their communities. With funding from the Youth Opportunity Fund, 200 new Expanding NYC Service Year members are gaining workforce skills and experiences and building their capacity for leadership and civic engagement while addressing pressing social issues in their communities.
Per Scholas is a neighborhood-based professional IT workforce development program in New York City. It's mission is to break the cycle of poverty by providing technology education, access, training and job placement services for people in underserved communities. With funding from the Youth Opportunity Fund, Per Scholas is building on its strong relationships with the New York City Housing Authority and the Bronx Youth Center to establish the Career Access Network, a citywide referral, education and training network that is empowering 250 young adults to finish school, attend college and/or start a career. Through employer-driven IT training and job placement services, program participants will have opportunities for internships and certifications, helping them launch successful, family-sustaining careers in the technology sector.

San Francisco

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are an estimated 58,000 low-income young adults who are either unemployed or underemployed and not in college, yet they live at the doorstep of companies at the epicenter of technology and innovation. Year Up Bay Area, in collaboration with more than 40 top Bay Area companies, academic partners and the San Francisco Office of Economic Office of Workforce Development, is educating and training 400 talented young people in 2016 to fill some of 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 Through rigorous technical, business communications and professional skills training and real-world experience in internships, Year Up Bay Area participants learn the in-demand skills that prepare them for tech-based careers, including information technology, network support, quality assurance (code testing), project management, sales operations, web development and cybersecurity.

St. Louis

The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis (ULSTL) empowers African Americans and others to secure economic self-reliance and social equality. Through community programs in three counties across a bi-state region, ULSTL helps its clients climb out of poverty by helping them to find economic opportunity, providing educational excellence and community empowerment and encouraging civil rights and advocacy. With support from the Youth Opportunity Fund, ULSTL, in collaboration with the City/County Workforce Board and Claim Academy Tech boot-camp along with higher educational partners is providing 250 low-income youth with 21st century IT skills training and credentialing through its Youth Tech Workforce Initiative.

Washington, D.C.

Urban Alliance empowers under-resourced youth to aspire, work and succeed through formal training, paid internships and mentorship in Washington, D.C. With support from the Youth Opportunity Fund, Urban Alliance is engaging 250 young people in an innovative spectrum of services designed to set them on a path to continued education and wage-earning careers. These programs range from paid, professional internship experiences to workforce training and life skills courses with transferable college credit. Through these intensive yearlong employment programs, young people prepare for lives of work and self-sufficiency.


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. 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.
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Updated June 6, 2016