The Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation has announced plans to increase its focus on improving the well-being and prospects of youth and young adults.
Over the next decade, the foundation will dedicate at least 50 percent of its philanthropic investments to ensuring that young people between the ages of 14 and 24 have the family connections, relationships, communities, and educational and employment opportunities they need to succeed. The initiative, Thrive by 25, will focus on youth of color in low-income families and high-poverty communities, those involved in the child welfare or justice systems, and young parents, who often face discriminatory policies and practices that prevent them from reaching their potential.
With the goal of supporting comprehensive solutions that address the multifaceted issues with which young people must contend, the effort will seek to coordinate programs, systems, and resources in five key areas: basic needs, permanent supportive connections, education and credentials, financial stability, and youth leadership.
"Our increased focus on youth and young adults is not a move away from our long-standing dedication to improving the lives of all children," wrote Casey Foundation president and CEO Lisa Hamilton in a blog post. "In fact, much of it is rooted in our existing efforts and acknowledges that adolescence — this critical period of learning and growth — extends well beyond [age] 18. And in doing this work, the [f]oundation is drawing on its decades of experience and partnerships in strengthening families, increasing opportunity and building communities, as well as its expertise in advancing racial equity, using data and evidence to inform policy, transforming public systems, developing effective leaders and engaging youth."