The Opportunity Youth Forum was launched in 2012 (as the “Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund”) to leverage momentum of the opportunity youth movement, including the call for community-based solutions, coming out of the White House Council on Community Solutions.
The White House Council called for innovative, place-based, collaborative solutions to reconnect the 6.7 million opportunity youth – 16- to 24-year-olds who were out of work and school – in the United States at that time.
The Forum for Community Solutions launched the Opportunity Youth Forum because we realize that investing in these young people will have a ripple effect on future generations of low-income children and families.
The Opportunity Youth Forum is comprised of a network of over two dozen urban, rural, and tribal communities seeking to scale multiple reconnection pathways that achieve better outcomes in education and employment for opportunity youth. Together, about one-quarter, or about 1.2 million, of all opportunity youth in the U.S. live in the areas in and around Opportunity Youth Forum communities. The communities reach from Seattle to Atlanta, from Hopi to Greenville and from Southern Maine to San Francisco. In total, this network works on creating systems-wide and community level changes. Over the past 6 years, thanks to the efforts of many organizations, leaders and young people, the number of opportunity youth has dropped to 4.6 million.
The Forum for Community Solutions launched the Opportunity Youth Forum because we know that investing in young people will have a ripple effect on future generations of low-income children and families.
The goal of the Opportunity Youth Forum is two-fold:
1) build strong evidence of success for utilizing the collective impact community collaboration strategy to deepen pathways that achieve better outcomes in education and employment for opportunity youth
2) make the case for increased adoption of collective impact and other community-level collaborative strategies that lead to effective employment pathways as important models for community change and impact at scale.
And together, these communities are working to achieve the following five levers of change:
- Collaborating for impact
- Building effective programs and pathways
- Using data to guide decision and assess impact
- Leveraging funding to support and sustain innovation
- Developing supportive policies
Participating communities receive the following benefits:
- Access to our twice annual Opportunity Youth Forum Convening, an opportunity to connect with national speakers and experts, and learn from other communities in the network.
- Become eligible for additional funds raised by the Forum for Community Solutions for specific projects related to opportunity youth (see list of projects below).
- Access to multiple learning communities of practice.
- Having your community profiled in Forum for Community Solutions reports.
The communities of the Opportunity Youth Forum participate in a number of funded projects within the OYF. These include:
The Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund
The 100,000 Opportunities (™) Demonstration Communities
Pathways to Careers Fund
Fund for Youth Connectivity
The Youth Entrepreneurship Fund
In addition to hundreds of local funders supporting the work, more than 40 national and regional funders are also devoting significant resources to the Forum for Community Solutions’ Opportunity Youth Forum: Andrus Family Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ballmer Group, Bank of America, Best Buy, Bezos Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Boeing Company Charitable Trust, The Boston Foundation, The California Endowment, Casey Family Programs, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Citi Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Corporation for National and Community Service, Social Innovation Fund (SIF), Ford Foundation, The Gap Foundation, Google, Greater Texas Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Hyams Foundation, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, James Irvine Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John T. Gorman Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The JPB Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lumina Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Nancy & Miles Rubin, Prudential Foundation, Raikes Foundation, REI, Rise BMOC, Rockefeller Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Starbucks, United Way of King County, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Wal-Mart Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.