Announced during the recent Aspen Ideas Festival, grants of up to $500,000 were awarded to nonprofits in communities across the country for collaboratives working to connect 6.7 million "opportunity youth" between the ages of 16 and 24 to education and employment opportunities. In partnership with Jobs for the Future, the Aspen Forum will support key components of the OYIF collaborative framework in a number of communities and locations, including Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, rural Maine, New York City, New Orleans, Oakland, and the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. The forum also will convene roundtable discussions with mayors, community leaders, philanthropic organizations, and businesses to explore successful community collaboratives and share best practices.
Launched by the Aspen Institute in 2012, OYIF is supported by contributions from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the California Endowment, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Casey Family Programs, Nancy and Miles Rubin, and the Annie E. Casey, Gates, Ford, Greater Texas, Helios Education; Hewlett, Conrad N. Hilton, Irvine, Knight, Joyce, Marguerite Casey, Nellie Mae Education, Rockefeller, and Kellogg foundations.
"Imagine a community where K-12 and higher education leaders, foster care programs and the justice system, philanthropy, and the private sector all came together to build successful pathways for our forgotten youth," said Melody C. Barnes, chair of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions. "Today we are making twenty-one grants to communities that are committed to pulling together these different sectors to create genuine second-chance opportunities for our nation's most vulnerable young adults. We applaud each and every one of these communities for tackling the challenge and building collaborations that can change the life trajectory for opportunity youth."