Paula Young Gentry is a senior associate for youth Engagement at the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, where she leads efforts to ensure all young people are empowered to direct their own futures through authentic partnerships with caring adults.
Prior to this role, Gentry led the Foundation’s Child Welfare Strategy Group assessment team. She also created and led the group's race disparity portfolio, managing communications, data collection and analysis and strategy development.
Before joining the Foundation, Gentry worked for the State of Michigan, where she managed the statewide Jim Casey Initiative site’s implementation of extended foster care to age 21 and its data collection for the National Youth in Transition Database. Gentry was responsible for creating and facilitating a statewide youth leadership board and supporting youth engagement in policy decisions. Her efforts led to increased youth participation and matching in the Opportunity Passport™ program and active community partnership boards. Her work also resulted in meeting federal requirements and securing ongoing grant funding and additional staffing for the Jim Casey Initiative. Gentry served as an older youth expert in Michigan and worked in partnership with national permanency experts to maintain a commitment to train staff on achieving permanency outcomes for older youth in foster care.
Gentry earned a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh.