United Way of New York City Selected as Grant Recipient of Youth Opportunity Fund

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The Youth Opportunity Fund is a new national $3 million fund, led by the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance, supporting innovative city programs that prepare low-income youth for future success.

NEW YORK, NY - August 26, 2015 –  The Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance today announced that United Way of New York City has been selected as a recipient of the Youth Opportunity Fund, a $3 million initiative to support city-level, innovative and scalable programs connecting youth to opportunities that increase their employability and prepare them for lifelong success. 

Together with the Office of the Mayor and NYC Service, United Way of New York City will help launch Expanding NYC Service Years, a project that will mobilize 200 new service members to contribute a year of full-time service to their community with the goal of helping 600 youth define their own pathways towards success.

“This opportunity will give youth hands-on, professional experience, readying their talents for the workforce,” said Sheena Wright, President and CEO of United Way of New York City. “Thanks to The Citi Foundation and America’s Promise, starting this September, UWNYC and NYC Service will support Expanding NYC Service Years members who will impact thousands of students and their parents by adding capacity and strength to our community schools.”

“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.”

“NYC Service is proud to work with the Citi Foundation and the United Way of New York City to provide additional opportunities for young people to build critical workplace and leadership skills,” said Paula Gavin, NYC Chief Service Officer. “We congratulate Per Scholas for also being a Youth Opportunity Fund grant recipient and we look forward to working together to invest in our city's future."

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. A total of 12 grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in 10 of the largest U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. 

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.

“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.”

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 the Cities for Financial Empowerment.

To learn more about the Youth Opportunity Fund and see a full list of grantees visit: www.americaspromise.org/youthopportunityfund.     

For more information, visit unitedwaynyc.org or join us on Facebook at facebook.com/unitedwaynyc. Follow us on Twitter at @unitedwaynyc.

For media inquiries please contact Jake Oliver at The TASC Group at jake@thetascgroup.com.

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About United Way of New York City
For more than 75 years, United Way of New York City has been the activist inside, working deep within the system to weave a net of interconnected solutions to catch our poorest neighbors. We orchestrate hundreds of partners in a symphony of hope, and mobilize communities to break down barriers and build opportunities that improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers for the benefit of all. We help ensure that short-term needs are being met while simultaneously working on long-term solutions to the city's most intractable problems. We envision caring communities where all individuals and families have access to quality education and the opportunity to lead healthy and financially secure lives. We are the activists inside, working to make New York City work for every New Yorker. Follow, Like and Pin us, and learn more at unitedwaynyc.org. 

About NYC Service
NYC Service – a division of the Mayor’s Office – promotes volunteerism, engages New Yorkers in service, builds volunteer capacity and mobilizes the power of volunteers and service years to impact New York City’s greatest needs. Our vision is to inspire and empower all New Yorkers to volunteer and serve New York City and each other. Learn more and search for service opportunities by skill, borough and interest at nyc.gov/service

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 www.americaspromise.org.

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 www.citifoundation.com.