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A blog series of reflections and learnings from the OYIF community


Leveraging Partnerships for Financial Capability: A Conversation with Juma Ventures

Success: There are 1.2 Million Fewer Opportunity Youth

Seattle/South King County Convening Just Five Weeks Away

New Book: Exploring the Health, Economic and Quality of Life Disparities in America and Challenging This Inequity

Youth Leader: Lose Yourself in the Service of Others

New Study: Collective Impact Produces Real Changes in the Lives of Real People

NEW REPORT: Putting Equity at the Center – The Opportunity Youth Forum

National Opportunity Youth Organizations: Year-In-Review and 2018 Goals

Full Circle: A Former Opportunity Youth Gives Back to Her Community

NEW REPORT: Including All Voices – Achieving Opportunity Youth Collaboration Success Through Youth and Adult Engagement


NEW REPORT: Shift Happens – The Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund Accelerates Systems Change

NEW REPORT: Opportunity Lost? Maximizing Large Federal Funds to Support Opportunity Youth

In Case You Missed It: OYIF Fall 2017 Convening Plenary Videos

Leveraging the Teachable Moments by Brandee McHale

This is How We Alleviate Poverty by Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend

AFCS Statement on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

In Case You Missed It: Videos from the Boston OYIF Convening

Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund Convening Livestreams

Trends in Education and Workforce Indicators for Boston Youth and Young Adults, 2006 to 2016

Systems are Changing: Evaluation of Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund Sites Shows Quick Progress

23 Opportunity Youth Communities Build Collaboration, See Results in 2016


Fall Post-Convening Blogs

Accountability Within the Movement: Addressing Indigenous and Gender Disparities in Rural California by Jacob Patterson and Jermaine Brubaker

Lessons from the Bronx Opportunity Network on Promoting CBO-Community College Partnerships by Jim Marley

Working at the Intersections: How to be “Gender-Responsive” When Engaging Opportunity Youth by Monique W. Morris

The New Era of Youth Engagement: Insights from Aspen by Amanda Shabowich

Spring Post-Convening Blogs

Leveraging Community College Innovations for Opportunity Youth: Reflections from Boston

Leveraging Community College Innovations for Opportunity Youth: Reflections from New Orleans

Responding to the Urgency of Now and Building the Momentum for Boys and Men of Color

Resourcing the Village


Pre-Convening Blog

Equity and Inclusion: Sustaining Commitment by Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend

Post-Convening Blogs

Four Takeaways from the OYIF Fall Convening by Steve Patrick

The Employer Perspective, by Blair Taylor

The Implementation Perspective, by Terry Grobe

The Re-Engagement Perspective, by Jansen Azarias

The Community College Perspective, by Mildred Lewis

The Youth Leader Perspective, by Maria Valdez

Pre-Convening Blogs

The Youth Leader Perspective, by Shawnice Jackson

The Funder Perspective, by Chauncy Lennon, Senior Vice President, Workforce Development, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase

The Community Perspective, Part 1, by The Hopi Opportunity Youth Initiative

The Community Perspective, Part 2, by Employment and Mobility Pathways Linked for Opportunity Youth

The AFCS Perspective, by Melody Barnes, Chair of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions

The Post-Convening Youth Leader Perspective

Maria Photo

By Maria Valdez

I work for a backbone organization (Workforce Solutions) on the Austin Opportunity Youth Collaborative as their Community and Opportunity Youth Advocate. My work is all about sustaining relationships with local non-profits and organizations that serve Opportunity Youth and integrating youth voice into the AOYC’s mission and vision. Read more…

The Pre-Convening Youth Leader Perspective


 By Shawnice Jackson

Being a youth leader at the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund’s convenings is a unique and humbling platform. Despite what one might assume, the networking and relationship building is always unforced. In a sea of other OYIF stakeholders like policy experts, nonprofit CEOs, and government officials, serving as a youth leader is regarded with the same esteem. Read more…

The Funder Perspective

Chauncy Lennon

By Chauncy Lennon

Philanthropy sees the ebb and flow of buzzwords, new ideas, and fads that are going to change the world. But the concept of collective impact is no flash in the pan. Early successes in communities across the country suggest that this approach deserves our attention. Read more…



The Community Perspective, Part 1

photo(23) (1)By The Hopi Opportunity Youth Initiative

Early on, we decided that our pathway development needed to leverage Hopi strengths. Our solutions needed to be low to the ground and rely on local community resources. They needed to be rooted in the Hopi culture. And they needed to leverage the web of family, clan, and village relations that have sustained us in the past. Read more…

The Community Perspective, Part 2

pyd_logoBy Employment and Mobility Pathways Linked for Opportunity Youth 

In the next five years, it’s projected that 42,000 positions in the Petrochemical, Advanced Manufacturing, and Energy industries will become available, the majority of which will require a high school degree and various levels of skilled training. At the same time, there are 30,000 opportunity youth – young men and women between the ages of 16 and 24 who are disconnected from employment and education – in the New Orleans region. We recognized that by collaborating across systems, we could change the lives of the area’s opportunity youth while simultaneously bolstering the economy for the city and region. Read more…

The AFCS Perspective

Melody Barnes, color photoBy Melody Barnes, Chair of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions

The work to reengage 6.7 million opportunity youth through collective impact initiatives across the country started as a persistent, determined whisper for change.  Today, it has become a full-throated chorus, but that evolution did not occur overnight.  Anyone who works with mission-oriented organizations can tell you there is no formula or playbook for movement building. Achieving authentic and sustained commitment to a common goal takes hard work, coordination and collaboration among key stakeholders. Read more…