Foundation Announces Multiyear Partnerships in Three Communities to Help Youth Thrive by 25
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has launched multiyear partnerships in three communities — in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Atlanta and Baltimore — as part of its Thrive by 25® commitment to investing in the well-being and success of young people ages 14 through 24.
These partnerships will help guide comprehensive local efforts — already underway — to advance opportunities for young people. The goal in each place is the same: Help youth build skills and enter the workforce while supporting their basic needs and relationships with family and mentors.
Providing both grants and expertise, Casey will work with a lead partner in each community. These are:
- Future Focused Education, an internship and work-based learning organization in Albuquerque;
- United Way of Greater Atlanta; and
- Baltimore’s Promise, a citywide collaborative composed of public, business, higher education, nonprofit, community and philanthropic leaders.
“The Foundation’s investments and technical assistance will expand capacity for these locally-driven efforts to build opportunities for large groups of youth and young adults across these communities and regions,” says Tomi Hiers, vice president of the Foundation’s Center for Civic Sites and Community Change.
Baltimore and Atlanta are both Casey civic sites — communities where the Foundation has hometown ties and has long invested in integrating promising programs and approaches for serving children and their families.
New Mexico has housed a variety of Casey initiatives, including JDAI®, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative®, Thriving Families for Safer Children and Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP)™, as well as the Albuquerque Justice for Youth Community Collaborative, which brings together more than 20 Albuquerque-based organizations in a multi-year effort to ensure that all young people are healthy and thriving.
Future Focused Education: Advancing Internships and Work-based Learning in New Mexico
Future Focused Education works to transform education and schools to better respond to students’ needs and connect them to college and career opportunities.
The organization incubated, developed and supports the Leadership Schools Network, a group of industry-focused schools in Albuquerque that seek to serve the nearly 40% of students who are disengaged from the traditional school system.
With Casey support, Future Focused Education plans to:
- expand X3, its internship program that pairs students with local employers in communities that have historically been disconnected from such opportunities.
- develop a new version of the internship program, X3 NeXt, to support intern transitions to college;
- support schools and districts in strengthening or implementing new work-based learning programs; and
- develop a funding pool that community leaders — including youth — allocate to local nonprofits.
United Way of Greater Atlanta: Creating Apprenticeships While Supporting Basic Needs
United Way of Greater Atlanta works to improve the well-being of local children and youth, especially the nearly 500,000 children and youth in Greater Atlanta who lack access to the basic opportunities and resources they need to thrive.
Casey will support this work through two main strategies:
- CareerReady ATL, a new effort to expand local apprenticeship opportunities for young people of color who are furthest from opportunity and offer them multiple pathways to economic well-being and self-sufficiency; and
- grant funding and coordination with partners in the areas of academic support, pathways to careers, college planning, secure housing and basic needs.
Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement will further these strategies by engaging young people, educators, employers and other partners.
Baltimore’s Promise: Advancing Youth Skills, Opportunities and Decision Making
Baltimore’s Promise works to help all Baltimore City youth travel a safe, healthy and successful educational path from cradle to career. The organization will use demonstration projects, research and advocacy to improve outcomes for Baltimore City’s young people, ages 14 through 24, while working to promote equity and eliminate racial disparities.
Through its partnership with Casey, Baltimore’s Promise will:
- leverage its Grads2Careers initiative, which connects high-school graduates to supportive services and job training programs that lead to career paths in a variety of fields
- share lessons and stories to build resources and opportunities;
- develop and disseminate evidence that supports reshaping systems and removing opportunity gaps; and
- shift key governance structures so that young people are decision makers and better positioned to enhance equity and opportunities.
About Thrive by 25 and Casey’s Commitment to All Kids
For more than seven decades, the Foundation has been committed to building a brighter future for America’s children, families and communities and working to ensure that all young people — no matter their race, background or ZIP code — can realize their full potential.
To advance this work, Casey announced an increased focus on young people ages 14 through 24. This decision is rooted in research indicating that rapid brain development, identity formation and growth occur during this period — and important implications for success in adulthood.
Through Thrive by 25, the Foundation will devote half of its grant making over the next decade to coordinating and connecting programs, systems and resources in five key areas to help youth thrive. These areas are:
- Basic needs: Young people need immediate support to meet their basic needs — food, housing, safety, physical and mental health, transportation and child care — so that they can focus on long-term goals and become self-sufficient.
- Permanent connections: Young people deserve to have stable, permanent connections with a loving family and other supportive and caring relationships with adults in their community who can help them navigate school, work, finances and life issues.
- Education and credentials: Young people should have the support they need to graduate from high school and obtain a post-secondary credential that will position them for economic success.
- Financial stability: Young people need access to traditional or entrepreneurial employment and financial tools and products that allow them to build savings and credit.
- Youth leadership: Young people can develop skills to advocate for themselves, promote policies that will help them and their families succeed and play a leadership role in making their communities stronger and safer over the long term.