News Article

PYN News Article


Jobs for the Future and the Aspen Institute award $6 million in grants for innovative programs making an impact with opportunity youth.

Category: Project U-Turn | May 8, 2015

Philadelphia (May 8, 2015) – Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), a nonprofit intermediary dedicated to equipping young people for academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success is one of seven community collaborative grantees to receive three-year grants of $240,000-$270,000 per year to dramatically improve education and employment outcomes for opportunity youth, including young men of color, in communities across the country. Opportunity Youth is a term used to describe the 6.7 million young people—between the ages of 16 to 24 in the United States—who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market.

The awards were made by Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Service (AFCS) in response to President Obama’s call to action in launching My Brother’s Keeper to promote successful outcomes for boys and men of color. Grant award recipients were selected after a rigorous and collaborative evaluation by JFF and AFCS. The grantees, representing a diverse portfolio of communities, are taking a cross-system, cross-sector approach towards improving outcomes for young people, with a particular focus on boys and men of color.

PYN serves as the backbone for the Project U-Turn collaborative, a cross-sector campaign focused on dropout prevention and re-engagement, and will work with members to implement and expand post-secondary bridging services at four E3 Centers to increase post-secondary persistence and success. E3 Centers are neighborhood-based service sites designed to help lower-skilled out-of-school youth and youth returning from juvenile placement to build literacy, numeracy, and 21st-century skills, attain a high school credential, and prepare for post-secondary education and careers. These Centers serve a high concentration of boys and men of color.

"The OYIF SIF will help us create a structured post-secondary bridging program that ensures a smoother pathway from secondary to post-secondary credential attainment for some of Philadelphia's most vulnerable young people," said Philadelphia Youth Network President and CEO, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend. "All of the partners involved in this work are thrilled to accept this opportunity. With this investment, the E3 centers will help youth transition into their post-secondary choice and build successful futures filled with economic prosperity and fulfillment."

These grants are funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) through its Social Innovation Fund (SIF). Launched by President Obama in 2009, the SIF tackles the difficult work of social change by applying innovative solutions that work, and making them work for more people. By embracing evidence-based strategies, the SIF is leading the way in guiding how government makes social change investments. In 2014 SIF grant competitions, CNCS prioritized "Traditionally Unserved and Underrepresented Geographic Areas and Populations" and "Presidential Initiatives to Expand Access to Opportunity," awarding almost $18 million in grants to organizations that focused on My Brother’s Keeper priorities.

"The President has made investing in evidence-based interventions or "what works" a key priority of his Administration and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. We applaud Jobs for the Future and the Aspen Institute on its selection of Social Innovation Fund grantees that have a track record of measurable impact, and a plan to get results and create clear pathways to college and career for young people in greatest need," said Michael Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs for My Brother's Keeper.

It is estimated that the 6.7 million opportunity youth cost our country $250 billion annually in lost revenue, earnings, and increased social services. JFF and AFCS have selected a total of seven communities to partner with in an effort to build education and career pathways for these unemployed or underemployed young people.


Project U-Turn is a citywide campaign to understand, focus public attention on and, most importantly, resolve Philadelphia's dropout crisis. It is led by a citywide collaborative whose members include representatives of the School District, City agencies, foundations, youth-serving organizations, parents and young people themselves. The collaborative is managed by the Philadelphia Youth Network, and operates as a subcommittee of the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success. For more information, visit

Jobs for the Future is a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure economic opportunity for all. We develop innovative career pathways and public policies, resulting in increased college readiness and success for students and a more skilled workforce for employers. For over 30 years, JFF has been a leader in building connections between education and work that expand opportunity and strengthen our economy. For more information, visit:

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service and champions community solutions through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit

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