What's Citi Doing to Help Low Income Youth Get on a Path to Career Success?

We've been following Citi's Pathways to Progress efforts for about a year, and now the grantmaking to nonprofits in this arena is really taking off. This work is amping up employment opportunities for low-income youth, and it's a great way to build a more inclusive economy.

Currently, grant submissions are open until May 22 for the following cities to apply for up to $250,000 in funding to get low-income youth on a path to college and career success: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

The Citi Foundation's work centers on economic progress and quality of life improvement for low-income folks. With a particular focus on financial inclusion, workforce development for youth, and innovative strategies for urban renewal, Citi Foundation prides itself on having a "More than Philanthropy" approach that leverages the company's financial expertise to help address social problems.

Nonprofits applying for these funds need to focus their plans on reaching a minimum of 250 low-income youth ages 16 to 24. In addition, the program must provide entrepreneurship training, mentorship, service and leadership opportunities, and/or summer jobs.

To get one of these grants, nonprofits might also want to engage municipal government partners (think parks programs, housing authorities, schools) and incorporate some digital skills aspect to the program. Having a plan to do data collection to assess outcomes will also put your organization in good stead.  

Who Else Is Involved in Pathways to Progress?

Technical assistance for this project is being provided by America’s Promise Alliance, an organization that grew out of a 1997 compact of all four living PresidentsCarter, Bush, Clinton and Fordand Nancy Reagan representing her late husband, which called for making children and youth a top priority in the nation. This is a new project that America's Promise Alliance is taking on, allowing Citi Foundation to build off of the organization's strong history in leading the way with helping kids graduate from high school and get on a career path. 

The Youth Opportunity Fund also plays a big role in this project. Led by the Citi Foundation, this fund is designed to support city-specific initiatives that are using government-collaborative and cross-sector approaches to tackle youth unemployment. 

A host of national organizations are involved in these initiatives including the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, AmeriCorps, iMentor and Cities for Financial Empowerment. According to foundation sources, nearly 25,000 young people were reached in the first year of the Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress initiative.

"The Youth Opportunity Fund seeks to support local innovators addressing the social and economic cost of youth unemployment in America's cities," said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation. "In collaboration with America's Promise, the Fund will allow us to source new, effective approaches that can be replicated to reach even more urban youth and help them achieve life-long economic success."

Grant recipients are scheduled to be announced in July 2015. To sign up for a recommended webinar for applicants, go here