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Helios Education Foundation Helps Direct Resources to "Opportunity Youth"

Posted on: July 1, 2013

Helios Education Foundation has invested $150,000 to help fund an Opportunity Youth Grant through the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions.  The collaborative, led locally by the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, will harness the power of cross-sector collaboration to make substantive progress for opportunity youth, defined as Americans 16-24 who are disconnected from education and work.

The Aspen Institute is working with similar collaborations in 21 cities and towns across the nation. 

 "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, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Chair of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions. "Today we are making 21 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."

Each year, the overall cost to the United States from opportunity youth is over $250 billion - including lost revenue, earnings, and increased social services. In 2011 the lifetime societal cost of opportunity youth was $4.75 trillion according to research conducted by Queens College, City University of New York and Teachers College, Columbia University.

The collective impact work will bring stakeholders together from all sectors of the community to improve education and employment outcomes for opportunity youth. Simultaneously, the Aspen Forum will convene roundtable discussions around the country with mayors, community leaders, philanthropies, and businesses to explore successful community collaborations and share best practices.

Category: Innovative

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