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BRIGHT SP OTS

Be The Change, Inc. 307 7th Avenue, Suite 903 NY, NY 10001 (212) 804-6370 www.opportunitynation.org

Produced by ShopProgress, an Opportunity Nation partner, in its Union shop, using recycled paper, certified wind power, and vegetable-based inks.

Index
10,000 Small Businesses .................. 53 A Place Called Home .......................... 8 Achieving the Dream, Inc .................... 8 Admission Possible............................. 9 The Afterschool Alliance ...................... 9 After-School All-Stars ........................ 28 America’s Promise Alliance ............... 10 Appalachian State University............. 53 Bay Area Council .............................. 54 Bethel New Life ................................ 54 Blue Engine ...................................... 10 Blue Star Families ............................. 55 Boston Rising ................................... 55 Boys & Girls Clubs of America .......... 11 Center for Employment ..................... 28 Opportunities The Center for Music ........................ 12 National Service The Center for Public ........................ 49 Policy Priorities Center for Rural Affairs...................... 56 CEOs for Cities ................................. 12 CFED ............................................... 13 Champion Access ............................ 29 Children Now.................................... 13 The Children’s ................................... 42 Movement of Florida Chrysalis........................................... 29 Citizen Schools ................................. 14 City Connects ................................... 14 City Year ........................................... 15 Coalition for Responsible .................. 56 Community Development Coalition of Urban and ...................... 15 Metropolitan Universities College Bound.................................. 16 Community Action Partnership ......... 57 Community HealthCorps .................. 42 Community Renewal ........................ 43 International, Inc. Connecticut Association ................... 57 for Human Services Corporate Voices for ......................... 30 Working Families The Council for Adult ........................ 11 & Experiential Learning Delaware State University ................. 16 Des Moines Area .............................. 30 Community College Detroiters Working for ....................... 31 Environmental Justice Education Resource Strategies ......... 58 Educators 4 Excellence .................... 17 Equity and Inclusion Campaign ......... 58 Esperanza ........................................ 59 Faith for Change ............................... 17 Family Independence Initiative .......... 59 Feelgoodz LLC ................................. 60 The Financial Clinic ........................... 49 Future Chefs ..................................... 31 Gateway to College .......................... 18 National Network Generation Citizen ............................ 60 Generations United ........................... 43 Global Citizen Year ........................... 31 Green City Force .............................. 32 HandsOn Network ............................ 32 Harlem Children’s Zone..................... 18 Health Leads .................................... 44 HELP USA ........................................ 61 Hillel: The Foundation ....................... 61 for Jewish Campus Life Horizons for ...................................... 44 Homeless Children i.c. stars ........................................... 33 IBM Citizenship................................. 62 Initiative for a Competitive ................. 62 Inner City (ICIC) The Jacobs Center for ...................... 63 Neighborhood Innovation Jobs for the Future ........................... 19 Juma Ventures.................................. 19 Jumpstart for Young Children ........... 20 Kentucky Youth Advocates ............... 45 LIFT .................................................. 45 MassChallenge, Inc .......................... 63 Miami Dade College ......................... 20 Missouri Association ......................... 64 for Community Action Mobilize.org ...................................... 21 National Conference. ........................ 64 on Citizenship National Fatherhood Initiative ............ 46 The National Fund for ....................... 38 Workforce Solutions New Door Ventures .......................... 34 New Jersey Minority ......................... 21 Educational Development New Leaders .................................... 22 New Profit Inc ................................... 65 New York City Coalition .................... 46 Against Hunger One Family, Inc ................................. 34 Otterbein University .......................... 65 Oxfam America ................................. 35 ProInspire ......................................... 66 Repair the World............................... 66 Rock the Vote ................................... 67 Roosevelt Institute | .......................... 67 Campus Network Seattle Community Colleges ............. 35 Share Our Strength........................... 47 Shopprogress.com ........................... 36 Single Stop USA ............................... 22 Solid Ground .................................... 47 Southwire Company ......................... 23 Staples, Inc ...................................... 36 Street Soccer USA ........................... 37 StreetWise Partners .......................... 37 Strive ................................................ 23 Summer Advantage USA .................. 24 The Sustained Dialogue .................... 24 Campus Network Tavis Smiley Foundation ................... 25 Tulane University ............................... 68 United Way Silicon Valley .................. 50 United Way Worldwide ..................... 50 University of Southern California ....... 68 University of Texas- El Paso .............. 69 The Unreasonable Institute ............... 69 Vanguard Leadership Group ............. 70 Verizon Wireless ............................... 25 Wayne County Community ............... 26 College District Women In Need ............................... 51 Workforce Solutions ......................... 38 Collaborative of Metro Hartford Year Up ............................................ 39 Youth News Service/L.A. Youth ........ 39 YouthBuild, USA ............................... 40 YSA (Youth Service America) ............ 26

This book is proudly dedicated to the coalition members and partner organizations of the Opportunity Nation campaign. May you continue to shine brightly in your efforts to provide opportunity to more than 100 million Americans.

Table of Contents

Letter from the Executive Director. .............................................................. 5 How The Book is Organized.......................................................................... 6 From Access to Completion:......................................................................... 7 Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential Opening Pathways to Prosperity:. .............................................................. 27 Expanding Options for Job Training and Success Helping the Whole Family:.......................................................................... 41 A Holistic Approach for Children and Families Achieving Economic Independence:........................................................... 48 Savings and Growth for Small Businesses and Households Promoting Communities of Opportunity:.................................................... 52 A New Opportunity Index Index. ......................................................................................................... 71

Welcome
Welcome to our first edition of Bright Spots: Innovative Solutions Creating Opportunity. In these pages you will find an extraordinary array of nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and businesses that are committed to creating opportunities across the country. These “opportunity generators” are a powerful force in America, working in every state, in urban and rural areas, with the young and old, creating innovative pathways for people to achieve their full potential. Their approaches vary widely: organizations such as LIFT fundamentally re-imagine the way that social services are provided to families at every level; Year Up has re-conceived the workforce development area with an innovative high-expectation, high-support model. The educational institutions featured have each designed programs that tackle the issues of access and completion in ways that transform the communities they serve. And the companies featured here understand that they can be important opportunity creators in communities, and at the same time improve their own bottom lines. What all these organizations have in common is a belief that a person’s circumstance at birth shouldn’t determine their life chances, and that the right combination of guidance and support can transform an individual, a family, a community. These bright spots of innovation shine a light on what’s already working and can be replicated and taken to scale; we are proud to elevate them as initiatives of our Opportunity Nation coalition partners, a growing, multi-sector network of organizations creating opportunity in communities throughout the country every day.

Mark Edwards

How the Book is Organized
The Opportunity Nation campaign is building a coalition of nearly 200 organizations representing millions of Americans around a shared plan to increase economic opportunity and mobility in America. Americans face a landscape of reduced opportunity, mobility, and freedom to reach their potential, and this campaign is a platform for powerful ideas to strengthen the nation. The Opportunity Nation coalition consists of business leaders, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, faith communities, and citizens; all can be described as a “Bright Spot” because their innovative, collaborative initiatives are successfully expanding access to the American Dream every day. There is no silver bullet to increase economic mobility in America. We have to chart a course for a new American Dream that all Americans have the potential to realize. The five principles that we have chosen to form the core of this book are all critical elements of an opportunity society: education; jobs and workforce; families and the social safety net; entrepreneurship and savings; and thriving communities. Each coalition organization featured in this book—most of them nonprofits dedicated to promoting opportunity— has selected the area with which their work is most closely aligned. Bright Spots highlighted in yellow represent our corporate partners’ initiatives in this effort. The corporations included here have incredible programs and practices that increase opportunity for their employees, clients, and communities. Bright Spots highlighted in blue represent our 2012 college partners. Each college partner advances opportunity for its students and neighboring community through strong local partnerships, innovative teaching curricula and generous scholarship programs.

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
As higher education degrees have become key qualifications in our economy, too few students have access to the tools for success in the 21st century and many high schools and colleges seem unable to graduate the students in their charge. Geography, system and educator quality, and limited resources are some factors, but not ones that social entrepreneurs and community organizations let stand in their way.

Dozens of Opportunity Nation’s coalition organizations are committed to erasing the achievement gap and strengthening education as a stepping stone to the American Dream for youth. Many have implemented innovative and successful “out of school time” enrichment programs, worked to improve educator preparedness and quality or serve as alternative education systems for young adults who have left the traditional system. Some focus on a child’s earliest years when we know so much vital learning and development takes place.

The common thread is a steadfast belief that the surest path to opportunity in America is through a solid education, from readiness for kindergarten through a higher education degree or certificate that prepares youth for career and life.

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From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
A Place Called Home
www.apch.org (323) 232-7653 2830 South Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90405
A Place Called Home is a safe haven in South Central Los Angeles where underserved youth are empowered to take ownership of the quality and direction of their lives through programs in education, arts and well being and are inspired to make a meaningful difference in their community and the world. In a community with dropout rates over 50 percent, heavy gang activity, high unemployment and poverty, APCH provides young people from 8-20 years old with a highly successful dropout recovery program and a robust college prep and scholarship program. In the fall of 2011, 58 APCH Scholars went to colleges across the country—56 of them were the first in their families to do so. APCH’s new vocational development initiative supports young people to develop job skills and pursue fulfilling internships and employment opportunities.

Achieving the Dream, Inc.
www.achievingthedream.org (240) 450-0075 8455 Colesville Road Silver Spring, MD 20910
Achieving the Dream is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by improving results at institutions by influencing public policy, generating knowledge and engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today Achieving the Dream is the most comprehensive non-governmental reform movement for student success in higher education history. With 160 community colleges and institutions in 30 states and the District of Columbia, we have more than 100 coaches and advisors and 15 state policy teams working to give 3.5 million community college students a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Admission Possible
www.admissionpossible.org (651) 917-3525 450 N. Syndicate Street, Suite 200 St. Paul, MN 55104
Admission Possible is making college admission and success possible for lowincome students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. Founded in 2000 to help close the socioeconomic college access gap, improve higher education diversity and build a globally competitive workforce, the award winning program has grown to serve more than 8700 students annually in high schools across three metro areas and on 150 college campuses nationwide. Admission Possible’s results are the highest in the field: 98 percent of students have earned admission to college and nearly 80 percent of enrolled students are currently working toward their college degree or have graduated. A 2011 Harvard study found the Admission Possible program to more than double a student’s chance of college. Admission Possible was the first organization in the country to harness the spirit of service through AmeriCorps to help solve the issue of college access and success for low-income students. Using its cost-efficient and scalable model, Admission Possible plans to serve 20,000 low-income students annually in ten metro areas by 2020.

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The Afterschool Alliance
www.afterschoolalliance.org (202) 347-2030 1616 H Street NW Washington, DC 20006
The Afterschool Alliance is the nation’s leading voice for after school and the main organizing body of the after school movement, with a network spanning more than 26,000 after school programs. The Afterschool Alliance works with the Administration, the U.S. Congress, governors, mayors and advocates across the country to advance after school for all. Its efforts have helped expand public and private investments in quality after school programs and systems nationwide. They are a national organization that partners with after school networks in every state. The Afterschool Alliance is working to ensure that every child has access to affordable, quality after school programs. Research has shown that quality programs have a significant impact on school attendance, performance and graduation rates. Students in LA’s BEST after school program, for example, are 20 percent less likely to drop out of school than their peers, and are 30 percent less likely to participate in criminal activities. Another outstanding example, Project Exploration, has achieved a 95 percent graduation rate among its participants.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
America’s Promise Alliance
www.americaspromise.org (202) 657-0600 1110 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20005
America’s Promise Alliance is improving opportunities for the nation’s children and youth by mobilizing all Americans to end the dropout crisis. Only 75 percent of public high school children graduate, and many who do are not college or career ready. The Alliance convened 105 dropout prevention summits—one in each state with an additional 55 in key cities. More than 30,000 young people, mayors, educators and business and community leaders came together to focus on solutions. As a result Detroit launched a $10 million fund to support schools and is reorganizing 11 of the city’s 35 lowperforming schools. Mississippi is requiring every district to implement a dropout prevention plan and Louisville is raising compulsory school age to 18. The Alliance now leads Grad Nation, a ten-year campaign bringing together thousands of businesses, government agencies, schools systems and nonprofits to collaborate to raise the graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, with no school graduating less than 80 percent. Grad Nation is also dedicated to making America again the leader in college completion.

Blue Engine
www.blueengine.org (718) 923-1400 x230 150 Court Street, 2nd floor Brooklyn, NY 11201
Blue Engine harnesses the power of national service to combat a cycle of college under-preparedness by recruiting, training and supporting a professional team of Blue Engine Teaching Assistants (BETAs) dedicated to academic acceleration in high-need public high schools. In our first year, 43 percent of 9th graders at our partner school scored 80 or higher on the Integrated Algebra Regents Exam, nearly tripling the number of students who reached this bar the year before. 45 percent of tested 8th graders at our partner school scored 80 or higher on the Integrated Algebra Regents and we accelerated coursework for two out of three 8th grade sections. Lastly, 89 percent of students supported by Blue Engine passed the Integrated Algebra exam. As a result, there will be more sections of geometry offered next year than ever before. Increasing the number of geometry classes will lead to more Algebra II and Trigonometry classes. Of all high school classes, Algebra II is cited by research as the leading predictor of college and work success.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
www.greatfutures.org (404) 487-5700 1275 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta, GA 30309
Boys & Girls Clubs of America represents a network of some 4000 community-based facilities serving four million young people. We offer a wide array of proven programs to improve academic success, reduce childhood obesity and create a generation of civically engaged young people. Evidence of the organization’s effectiveness is found in the response from a Harris Interactive Survey where 57 percent of Boys & Girls Club alumni said, “the Club saved my life.” A new public service advertising campaign with a PSA directed by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard features a star-studded list of celebrity alumni including Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lopez, Magic Johnson, Shaun White, Martin Sheen, Edward James Olmos, Kerry Washington, Mario Lopez, Gen. Wesley Clark and CC Sabathia—living proof that Great Futures Start in Boys & Girls Clubs. Boys & Girls Clubs are located in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and on U.S. military installations around the world.

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The Council for Adult & Experiential Learning
www.cael.org (312) 499-2620 55 E Monroe Street, Suite 1930 Chicago, IL 60603
CAEL is a pioneer in Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), the evaluation and assessment of an individual’s lifelong learning for college credit leading to degree completion, certification or professional development. Lifelong learning may be acquired through work, training programs, military service, independent study, community service and more. For example, students like Kim Bove, 39, a student at Widener University with three children, a full-time job and nearly two decades of work experience, was able to earn 12 credits in twelve weeks. CAEL created the standards which institutions nationwide use to benchmark their programs, and is the national leader in connecting learning and work for adults, providing opportunities to access education and meaningful work.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
The Center for Music National Service
www.musicnationalservice.org (415) 860-2723 th 3254 19 Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94110
The Center for Music National Service (MNS) is a nonprofit organization that supports music as a strategy for public good. Through direct programs and advocacy, MNS promotes music as an intervention to improve student success, soothe the sick and strengthen communities of all kinds. MusicianCorps, MNS’s flagship program, trains and places musicians to serve fulltime as teachers and mentors in low-performing public schools, youth centers and other high-need community settings. MusicianCorps uses music to reengage youth in their academic and civic lives, and provide them the skills critical to success in the 21st century. In the midst of a national crisis that has seen high school dropout numbers reach dramatic new heights over the past decade, MusicianCorps Mentors motivate students to stay in school. Since its launch in 2009, MusicianCorps Mentors have empowered 5400 underprivileged youth with ongoing music instruction and music-making opportunities. As a result, seven out of ten high school students say they want to come to school more because of MusicianCorps.

CEOs for Cities
www.ceosforcities.org (312) 553-4630 8 E Randolph, Suite 2603 Chicago, IL 60601
CEOs for Cities has calculated the monetary gains that America’s 51 largest metro areas could realize if they increased their college attainment by one percentage point (The Talent Dividend), reduced vehicle miles traveled by one mile per person per day (The Green Dividend) and reduced the number of people in poverty by one percentage point (The Opportunity Dividend). Together, we call these the City Dividends, and they are worth $166 billion to the nation. The Talent Dividend alone accounts for $124 billion, which is why CEOs for Cities, with the support of the Kresge Foundation and Lumina Foundation for Education, launched the $1 million Talent Dividend Prize. The prize will be awarded to the city with the greatest increase in post secondary degrees granted per 1000 population over a three-year period.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
CFED
www.cfed.org (202) 408-9788 1200 G Street NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20005
Far too many smart, hard-working, low-income students are not able to attend college and graduate. In fact, only eight out of 100 students from low-income families earn a bachelor’s degree by their mid-20s. To address this issue, three national organizations, the United Negro College Fund, the KIPP network of public charter schools, and the Corporation for Enterprise Development, each a leader in its field, have come together to form the Partnership for College Completion (PCC). Building on the foundation of academic rigor and character development in KIPP schools, the PCC offers a comprehensive suite of supports—college savings accounts, college readiness education and financial literacy, scholarships and alumni tracking—that will follow students from the sixth grade through college graduation. The PCC aspires to help tens of thousands of students move to and through college and increase the six-year college completion rate for low-income and minority youth from underserved communities from less than 10 percent today to 40 percent by 2035.

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Children Now
www.childrennow.org (510) 763-2444 1212 Broadway, 5th Floor Oakland, CA 94612
Children Now is building The Children’s Movement of California, an organizing effort dedicated to empowering organizations and individuals resolved to see all children’s basic developmental needs met in order to improve the lives of children and the prosperity of our society. Until now, the voices of those concerned about children’s well-being in California have been disconnected, making it unnecessarily difficult for children’s policy issues to get the attention of the public and policymakers compared to other better organized and more powerful interest groups. The Children’s Movement of California is connecting all those who want to change this unfortunate dynamic by leveraging their collective force to raise awareness and generate the major policy changes kids need.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Citizen Schools
www.citizenschools.org (617) 695-2300 308 Congress Street, 5th Floor Boston, MA 02210
Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low income children across the country. Citizen Schools uniquely mobilizes thousands of adult volunteers to help improve student achievement by teaching skill building apprenticeships after school. The organization’s programs blend these real-world learning projects with rigorous academic and leadership development activities, preparing students in the middle grades for success in high school, college, the workforce and civic life.

City Connects
(617) 552-2350 Boston College, Lynch School of Education 140 Commonwealth Avenue Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
City Connects is a proven school-based intervention developed at Boston College that revitalizes student support in urban elementary schools. This systematic and comprehensive approach to addressing out-of-school factors significantly improves academic performance and narrows the achievement gap. City Connects evaluates the strengths and needs of every student and links each child to a tailored set of intervention, prevention and enrichment services located in the community. For each student, City Connects documents and tracks the service plan and follows up to assure service delivery and assess effectiveness. City Connects students demonstrate significant improvements in report card and state standardized test scores, as well as lower rates of retention. In 2010-11 City Connects linked 6100 students to 33,700 services and enrichment opportunities, ranging from tutoring to mentoring to athletic programs.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
City Year
www.cityyear.org (617) 927-2500 287 Columbus Avenue Boston, MA 02116
City Year unites diverse teams of 17-24 year olds for a year of full-time service in America’s most challenging schools. By focusing on attendance, behavior and course performance, which identify students who are at risk of dropping out, corps members are uniquely able to help students and schools succeed. Since 1988, City Year’s 15,100 corps members have served more than 1.2 million children across the country and completed more than 26 million hours of service. Last year, 87 percent of students tutored by City Year corps members improved scores in literacy, and 58 percent of students identified as off-track in attendance improved their average attendance by the end of the year.

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Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities
www.cumuonline.org (410) 704-3700 8000 York Road Towson, MD 21252
The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities institutions are heavily invested in P-16 community initiatives that partner with schools and educational agencies at the local, state, federal, and global level. 85 percent of CUMU members are currently engaged in university-assisted community P-16 initiatives. P-16 program objectives range from mentoring and college readiness partnerships in high-need communities to global classroom projects where middle schoolers share experiences with students from around the world.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
College Bound
www.collegeboundstl.org (314) 361-4441 110 N. Jefferson Avenue St. Louis, MO 63103
College Bound provides promising high school students from under-resourced backgrounds with the academic enrichment, social supports and life skills needed to apply, matriculate and succeed in four year colleges. Since our founding in 2006, we have succeeded in helping 100 percent of our graduating seniors earn admission to a four-year college. College Bound collegians are on track to graduate at seven times the rate of their low-income peers! The College Bound program begins with students in their freshman year of high school and remains with students until they graduate from college. It has a daily presence in participating high schools and works closely with families, high school staff and university partners, to ensure close alignment between high school preparation and college success. The College Bound culture is one of high expectations and high support with an unwavering focus on degree completion.

Delaware State University
www.desu.edu (302) 856-5397 1200 North DuPont Highway Dover, DE 19901
In 2010, the Delaware General Assembly passed the Inspire Scholarship for Delaware high school students wishing to attend Delaware State University. Up to $3000 per year for three years can be awarded to eligible students to offset the cost of tuition. Among its criteria, the legislation requires that the student maintain a 2.75 GPA or above. Most important, and unique in Delaware, students must complete at least ten hours of community service per semester in order to renew the state-funded scholarship. The recipients of the scholarship will become better prepared graduates with the knowledge and skills to be productive citizens, but also with an understanding of the value of service. The creation of the Inspire Scholarship has already increased the number of applicants to DSU, given more students access to bachelor degree programs, and underscored the culture of giving and service as a value-added component of a quality education.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Educators 4 Excellence
www.educators4excellence.org (212) 279-8510 333 W. 39th Street, Suite 703 New York, NY 10018
As elementary school teachers in the Bronx, Evan Stone and Sydney Morris knew that teaching was an isolating profession, and that teachers did not have a voice in education policy decisions. They founded Educators 4 Excellence to connect teachers to each other and to policymakers, and in just a year E4E has grown to over 3000 teachers committed to elevating the teaching profession and improving outcomes for students. This year, E4E’s teacher-generated policy recommendations were included in a bill that passed the New York state senate, and teachers met with officials like Mayor Bloomberg and UFT President Michael Mulgrew about their ideas. “I’m a part of E4E because it makes me feel that, as a teacher, I have some sort of say in what goes on in the education system in New York City,” says Jarell Lee, a second grade teacher in Brooklyn. “It’s important that classroom teachers have a voice in educational policymaking because they’re the ones doing the work. They’re the ones in the classroom every day.”

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Faith for Change
www.faithforchange.org (202) 870-1181 1380 Monroe Street, NW No.111 Washington, DC 20010
Faith for Change helps people of faith partner with the community, local schools and other organizations working to improve educational opportunities for young children. Our vision is to organize a national network of highly productive schoolcommunity partnerships where every child is prepared to learn, grow and thrive inside and outside the classroom. Currently Faith for Change has organized communities of faith in seven cities and connected them with high needs schools in their neighborhoods to focus on improving the ability of children to read and comprehend information. The population for this program, “The New Future Initiative”, ranges from elementary school through high school. Among our goals are improving academic performance among students in under performing schools, increased capacity of houses of worship to assist at-risk youth and schools in need of assistance, and harness the talents and resources of people of faith to support schools so that they become learning communities where children can succeed.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Gateway to College National Network
www.gatewaytocollege.org (971) 634-1212 529 SE Grand Avenue, Suite 300 Portland, OR 97214
Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN) believes all students can succeed in school, and in today’s economy success means a high school diploma and a college credential. Yet too many of our nation’s young people either drop out of high school or fail to gain traction in college and never earn a degree. GtCNN builds the capacity of communities to support these students through two related programs: Gateway to College and Project DEgree. These are designed to serve at-risk and academically under prepared students age 16-26 through wraparound support in a learning community environment on the college campus, where they develop their skills, increase their academic momentum and change the trajectory of their lives. Since Gateway to College’s inception, students have passed 72 percent of nearly 70,000 college courses with a C or better. On average our graduates have also earned 35 college credits, putting them well on their way to an associate’s degree. Project DEgree, a relatively new program, is showing early promise in helping students move quickly through remedial courses and on to college transfer level classes.

Harlem Children’s Zone
www.hcz.org (212) 360-3255 35 East 125th Street New York, NY 10035
Harlem Children’s Zone has created a new paradigm for fighting poverty. Our model focuses on the social, health and educational development of children. We provide programs that improve the children’s family and neighborhood environments by serving an entire neighborhood comprehensively and at scale, creating a pipeline of support and building community among residents, institutions and stakeholders. In 2011 across all four early childhood programs, 100 percent of children attained a school readiness classification of average or above. Participants in the HCZ Asthma Initiative have missed fewer days of school (6.8 percent vs. 25.7 percent) and have fewer emergency-room visits (14.8 percent vs. 45.7 percent) due to asthma. A Harvard University evaluation of HCZ’s Promise Academy Charter Schools concluded HCZ “is enormously effective at increasing the achievement of minority children.” Taken at face value, the effects in middle school are enough to reverse the black-white achievement gap in mathematics and reduce it in English Language Arts. The effects in elementary school close the racial achievement gap in both subjects.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Jobs for the Future
www.jff.org (617) 728-4446 88 Broad Street, 8th Floor Boston, MA 02110
Over the past three years, the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District in the Texas Rio Grande Valley has seen a dramatic improvement by recovering over 700 dropouts. With support from Jobs for the Future and the Texas High School Project, the District is incorporating an early college design in all its schools with college coursework for all students. A huge part of this success is the College, Career and Technology Academy operated in partnership with South Texas College. The Academy emphasizes the skills needed for college, using a strategy of tutoring, college ready classroom courses and online skills remediation. Students take classes to address their specific skill gaps, and a flexible schedule allows them to meet family and work obligations. They transition into college courses as soon as they pass the necessary state tests. Jobs for the Future, in partnership with the Texas Education Agency, is replicating the model in five nearby districts. In more than 200 communities across 43 states, Jobs for the Future improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.

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Juma Ventures
www.jumaventures.org (415) 371-0727 131 Steuart Street, Suite 201 San Francisco, CA 94105
In 1993, Juma Ventures became the first nonprofit organization to own and operate a commercial franchise— a single Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop. The store provided a handful of jobs to homeless youth in San Francisco. Since then, Juma has grown from a job training and placement program serving 25 youths to a nationally recognized youth development organization operating seven social enterprises in three cities. Juma has employed more than 2800 young people who have earned $3 million in wages and saved more than $2 million for higher education. Juma has received numerous awards for its work including the National Youth Employment Coalition’s PEPNet Award and a Community Achievement Award as the national organization of the year from the Social Enterprise Alliance.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Jumpstart for Young Children
www.jstart.org (857) 542-5867 308 Congress Street, 6th Floor Boston, MA 02210
More than 80 percent of young children living in poverty enter kindergarten without the skills necessary to succeed in school. Jumpstart, a proud AmeriCorps program, addresses this achievement gap by recruiting and training college students and community volunteers, called Jumpstart Corps members, to implement a high quality, research-based early education curriculum in early learning centers. Jumpstart Corps members spend up to 15 hours in preschool classrooms each week during the course of the school year, helping young children develop the literacy and language skills critical for success in school. The majority of children who participate in Jumpstart’s program demonstrate gains of one developmental level or more, indicating significant gains in key school readiness skills. By helping children develop critical language and literacy skills, Jumpstart’s high-quality program sets children on a path to succeed in kindergarten and in life. In the 2010-11 school year, more than 9000 preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in 14 states and the District of Columbia benefited from more than 1 million hours of service from more than 3450 Jumpstart Corps members.

Miami Dade College
www.mdc.edu (305) 237-8888 300 NE 2nd Avenue Miami, FL 33132
MDC’s American Dream Scholarship provides every public or private high school graduate in Miami-Dade County the opportunity to attend college. Students are required to achieve a 3.0 final grade point average (GPA) and demonstrate college readiness on entrance exams. MDC then extends a full tuition scholarship for two years of full-time study at MDC. American Dream Scholars are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA in their college studies. MDC’s American Dream Scholarship confronts the reality of greater Miami. The City of Miami is America’s third poorest major city according to median family income, and sixth poorest based on the number of residents living in poverty. One-quarter of Miami’s children live in poverty. The city and surrounding county both trail the national average in attainment of bachelor’s degrees.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Mobilize.org
www.mobilize.org (202) 642-4320 1875 K Street NW, 5th Floor Washington, DC 20006
Mobilize.org believes that community college students can provide an essential voice in the college completion discussion. Students themselves can take a leadership role in identifying the obstacles they face in completing their education, and develop innovative solutions they can champion and implement in their communities and on their campuses. In order to engage community college students in the discussion, Mobilize.org created a summit series titled Target 2020: My Education, Our Future to address community college completion on the local and national level. Mobilize.org has convened over 200 Millennials from North Carolina and California to discuss the challenges they face in completing their education and collaborate on sustainable community solutions to address them.

21

New Jersey Minority Educational Development
www.usent.org (856) 541-3926 2834 Pierce Avenue Camden, NJ 08105
The New Jersey Minority Educational Development (NJMED) organization was formed as a nonprofit organization in August 1995. The mission of the organization is to provide an alternative lifestyle for minority youth through higher education, by providing innovative programming and technical assistance to existing educational, business and community organizations. In 2011, NJMED’s 100 percent Graduation Rate Program became the nation’s first 21st Century at-risk minority male dropout prevention evidence-based model. The program has a 95 percent high school graduation rate and 3 percent dropout rate. Starting in 2012, NJMED will launch its 12 Million Drive for 2025 campaign to increase the US high school graduation rate, by raising the nation’s minority student’s graduation rates by 30 percent by the year 2025.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

22

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
New Leaders
www.newleaders.org (646) 792-1070 30 West 26th Street New York, NY 10010
In the last decade, New Leaders has trained more than 800 school leaders who are now serving a quarter million students in our public schools. In addition to selecting and training new principals, New Leaders works with districts, charter organizations and states to develop the leadership policies and practices that support improvements in teaching and learning across a system. RAND found students in K-8 schools headed by a New Leader significantly outperform students in similar schools. James Griffin walked into Manassas High School as the new principal in the fall of 2010. It was a new building that suffered from low expectations, low test scores and graduation rates, frequent fights and a loss of hope. Under Griffin’s leadership, that quickly changed. At the end of the school year graduation rates moved up 25 points. Along with improved rates came college scholarships that increased from $500,000 in 2010 to more than $4,000,000 in 2011. Of 135 graduating seniors, 104 received college acceptances compared to only 25 college acceptances for 98 seniors in 2010.

Single Stop USA
www.singlestopusa.org (212) 480-2870 1825 Park Avenue, Suite 503 New York, NY 10035
Single Stop provides comprehensive services like free tax preparation services, full benefits access, financial counseling and civil legal services at community colleges to low-income students and student households in need. By doing so, the percentage of those able to stay in school through completion—which is currently below 40 percent nationally—can be dramatically increased. By partnering with community colleges and integrating its successful economic empowerment model with student service centers and financial aid offices, Single Stop seeks to harness two of the country’s most effective anti-poverty tools: coordinated access to America’s safety net and a postsecondary education.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Southwire Company
www.southwire.com (770) 832-4242 One Southwire Drive Carrollton, GA 30119
Southwire Company is a privately held wire and cable manufacturer headquartered in Georgia whose commitment to improving the communities in which it operates has put it on the leading edge of education initiatives for decades. Southwire’s dedication to improving the education and skill level of their employees prompted creation of 12 for Life, a one of a kind program to help at-risk youth or previously untapped talent graduate from high school and make successful transitions to work and post-secondary education. Through contextualized work-based learning, a robust support system and a paycheck, Southwire’s 12 for Life program gives at-risk students a pathway to success by completing 12 years of school while meeting Southwire’s high production standards and filling the company’s talent needs. Southwire, in close partnership with the local school system, surpassed its goal of 175 graduates by 2012. To date, 297 students have received their high school diplomas. The overall graduation rate in Carroll County Schools system has increased by approximately 10 percent since the inception of 12 for Life in 2007.

23

Strive
www.strivenetwork.org (513) 929-1156 One West Fourth Street, Suite 200 Cincinnati, OH 45202
Strive works to ensure the success of every child, cradle to career, by helping communities to develop a civic infrastructure to promote what works for kids. Building on lessons learned from five national demonstration sites, Strive has developed a framework that helps cross-sector community partnerships use existing resources to target the needs of every individual child so that they have support to succeed in their learning journey. The approach focuses on creating a shared community vision, using evidence-based decision making and collaborative continuous improvement, and aligning investments to support and sustain what works. Some early Strive communities are already seeing results as key indicators from cradle to career are trending in the right direction. More than 30 communities have joined Strive’s Cradle to Career Network.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

24

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Summer Advantage USA
www.summeradvantage.org (617) 818-1959 1001 Marina Drive, Suite 410 Quincy, MA 02171
A century of research shows summer learning loss is responsible for declines in academic development among all children, accounting for two thirds of the 9th grade achievement gap. Children across the country are losing the fight for their future, and it is happening during the summer. Summer Advantage USA harnesses the power of summer learning to raise the achievement of all children. Focused on both the academic and social development of children, Summer Advantage offers rigorous academic instruction in the morning and a diverse array of enrichment in the afternoon; a healthy breakfast and lunch; service projects and inspirational guest speakers, fun field trips and an annual college campus visit. As opposed to experiencing the typical loss of over two months of academic skills during the summer, which is also known as summer learning loss, Summer Advantage scholars gain over two months of reading, writing and math skills. These gains translate into higher performance during the school year, setting children on a path to proficiency and graduation.

The Sustained Dialogue Campus Network
www.sdcampusnetwork.org (202) 393-7643 444 North Capitol St NW, Suite 434 Washington, DC 20001
The Sustained Dialogue Campus Network develops everyday leaders who engage differences as strengths to improve their campuses, workplaces, and communities. Sustained Dialogue® was founded by Hal Saunders (former US diplomat and key drafter of the Camp David Peace Accords), and Princeton students adapted the process in 1999. With 14 campuses, an annual participation by 1000 students and with 4000 alumni, SDCN creates inclusive environments through its proven dialogue-to-action process. Post-Sustained Dialogue participation indicates significant increases in the skills most sought after and most deficient in entry-level workers such as empathy, the ability to work effectively in diverse teams, critical thinking, communication and problem solving. Headquartered in Washington, DC, Sustained Dialogue Campus Network works with institutions of higher education, communities and workplaces throughout the country.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Tavis Smiley Foundation
www.youthtoleaders.org (323) 290-1888 4434 Crenshaw Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90043
Ezekiel Phillips was among the 2011 graduating class at Morehouse College. It was a stunning achievement for a young man who six years prior was headed nowhere fast in juvenile detention. But his pastor sent him to the Tavis Smiley Foundation’s Leadership Institute. Ezekiel says the experience changed his life because the exposure to thought-leaders and youth who were achievers gave him a new vision of what his life could be. Ezekiel recently completed an internship with the Bill Clinton Foundation. Our mission is to enlighten, encourage and empower youth by providing leadership training. Through the Institute teens learn characteristics common to successful leaders, including completing high school and college as a path toward economic opportunity and mobility. To date more than 6500 students have participated in our programs and 98 percent finish high school. We have awarded $500,000 in college scholarships to 200 alumni.

25

Verizon Wireless
www.verizonwireless.com 1 Verizon Way Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

From day one of employment, Verizon Wireless, a high-tech wireless provider, encourages new hires to think about their future career pathways. To aid its employees in progressing up the career ladder, Verizon Wireless supports academic attainment by providing full- and part-time employees an annual tuition assistance allowance that covers up to 100 percent prepaid tuition, textbooks and certain fees. Courses can be related to their current positions or other career opportunities. Supervisors coach their direct reports and encourage them to participate in the program, called LearningLINK, to enhance their career development opportunities. One of their employees stated, “I recently graduated with my bachelor’s degree in business administration and I have Verizon Wireless to thank . . . I am fortunate to be working for a company that is willing to invest in its employees. While several of my classmates are now struggling to pay off their student loans, I am a buying a new house!” In 2010, 20 percent of the Verizon Wireless workforce, almost 17,000 employees, participated in Learning LINK and 700 employees earned an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees in that year.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

26

From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential
Wayne County Community College
www.wcccd.edu (313) 496-2600 801 W Fort Street Detroit, MI 48226
Wayne County Community College District will be expanding the Middle College High School Educational Exchange Program (MCMEEP) that offers Detroit area students the opportunity to work together in a diverse college-classroom environment that is otherwise not available via their respective high schools. They also earn free college credit while engaging a Cultural Studies/American Studies based curriculum that will be directly relevant to their academic work at the college/university level. Further, the program provides opportunities for its diverse range of students to engage in collaborative projects that relate to civic and social issues directly affecting their communities. The expansion involves the development of an on-line component to the program that can be utilized to greatly expand the scale of our efforts on a local and potentially the national level. WCCCD will be able develop pathways of communication between otherwise racially/economically segregated high schools via on-line student dialogues that will be conducted with participating classes and coordinated via WCCCD and its nationally affiliated educational partners.

YSA (Youth Service America)
www.ysa.org (202) 296-2992 th 1101 15 Street NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20005
Youth Service America strengthens communities worldwide by increasing the number and diversity of children and youth, ages 5-25, who are learning in meaningful ways. STEMester of Service, a YSA Grants program, supports service-learning programs in middle schools located in communities with high poverty and high school dropout rates. This program engages educators and students in addressing critical environmental and disaster preparedness needs and connecting them to STEM curricula in order to increase student academic achievement and workforce skills. The STEMester of Service program was evaluated by RMC Research. In the 20102011 school year, the evaluation found that students in the program had statistically significant higher gains in academic engagement, 21st century skills, interest in STEM courses and skills and interest in STEM careers than the comparison group. As service-learning duration and intensity increased, so did students’ ratings for these four outcome areas. Teachers reported that service-learning resulted in students’ increased ability to work with others from diverse backgrounds, to be engaged in school, to possess greater leadership skills and to collaborate with others.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
We have a jobs crisis in America. Unemployment remains consistently above 9% in official counts, but when you count those who have given up looking, or need additional hours to make ends meet, it is well in the double digits. At the same time, the American workforce has fewer than half the number of qualified candidates needed to fill existing high-skill and middle-skill positions. The mismatch between jobs and skills will become even more pronounced in the future if we do not change course. Better skills for many Americans is the key to social mobility and global economic competitiveness.

Opportunity Nation’s coalition organizations are dedicated to help Americans find work, prepare for good jobs and gain skills to further their careers. Organizations have implemented training programs designed to fulfill both the workers’ and the employers’ needs, and include small businesses that meet their bottom line by investing in the community. Other groups offer loans, networking opportunities and business training to assist entrepreneurs in reaching their full potential.

The common thread is building multiple pathways to careers that support families and strengthen communities.

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Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
After-School All-Stars
www.afterschoolallstars.org (310) 275-3232 th 1101 15 Street, Suite 203 Washington, DC 20005
Today’s youth are growing up in a globally competitive and rapidly changing economy. Technology is making many traditional, well-paying fields obsolete while creating entire new job sectors never imagined 10 years ago. The recent trends of jobs outsourced overseas, high unemployment, increased bankruptcy rates, financial scandals, credit card and mortgage defaults underscore the difficult economic times in which we live. After-school programs have an opportunity and responsibility to better prepare students for success in the future economy. While middle school is not always the perfect time in life for a person to choose their career, After School All Stars believes it is a great time for students to begin exploring career options. After School All Stars tackles the opportunity gap through career exploration, engaging mentors and introducing students to financial literacy, entrepreneurship, professional workplace conduct and real world problem solving skills to help young people expand their skills and horizons.

Center for Employment Opportunities
www.ceoworks.org (212) 422-4430 32 Broadway New York, NY 10004
The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is dedicated to providing effective and comprehensive employment services to people with recent criminal convictions. CEO’s vision is that anyone returning from prison who wants to work has the preparation and support needed in order to find a job and stay attached to the labor force. A three-year independent, randomized, controlled study of CEO by MDRC, showed that for individuals recently released from incarceration, participation in CEO resulted in lower rates on all measures of recidivism, including arrests, convictions and returns to jail and prison. Convictions of a crime fell by over 22 percent, and re-incarceration for a new crime fell by over 26 percent—outcomes MDRC not only deemed statistically significant but rare for rigorous studies of this kind. CEO has created thousands of transitional job opportunities that have led to over 15,000 full-time job placements for formerly incarcerated individuals. Our program helps people acquire the workplace skills that allow them to become self-sufficient, productive members of society.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
Champion Access
www.championaccess.org (646) 649-8062 56 W 22nd Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10010
Manufacturing jobs which were once plentiful have been replaced by low-wage jobs in the food industry. Whereas food industry jobs were once occupied by teenagers looking for temporary or part-time work, they are now largely occupied by adults. A majority of these food industry workers have a high school degree or less. Most are not making a livable wage and move, willingly or otherwise, from one low-wage job to the next. This low and inconsistent income is perpetuating the cycle of generational poverty. Champion Access is challenging the notion that these low-wage workers are not worth investing in by saying that for a marginal investment we can improve their economic mobility and help businesses improve their operations. Our training program complements employers’ needs by providing participants with the technical skills, management skills, expanded professional networks and individualized support to improve their access to a promotion. Supporting an industry at the center of New York City’s economy will have ripple effects on the entire city.

29

Chrysalis
www.changelives.org (213) 806-6350 522 South Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90013
Chrysalis is dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. Offering a hand up, rather than a hand out, Chrysalis empowers its clients to complete a self-directed job search. In 2010, Chrysalis helped 1500 individuals find jobs. With its services needed now more than ever, Chrysalis is expanding its program capacity to meet the increasing demand of its clients. Chrysalis Enterprises, a transitional jobs program for clients with the greatest barriers to employment, provides valuable work experience so clients can gain the necessary skills needed to re-enter the job market. In 2010, Chrysalis Enterprises created over 218,000 hours of employment and $2.5 million in wages.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

30

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
Corporate Voices for Working Families
www.corporatevoices.org (202) 467-8130 th 1020 19 Street NW, Suite 750 Washington, DC 20036
Corporate Voices for Working Families is the leading national business membership organization shaping conversations and collaborations on public and corporate policy issues involving working families. Corporate Voices continues to expand its increasingly important initiatives to improve workforce and workplace practices, especially those involving lower-wage and nonexempt employees. Corporate Voices focuses the national spotlight on the significant issues of jobs and our economy, workplace flexibility and the imperative to strengthen education and increase educational attainment so workers have the skills they need to succeed in today’s workplace. Corporate Voices believes when businesses, working families and communities collaborate and succeed, all ages and all socioeconomic levels prosper. The competitiveness of American business is tied to the quality and skills of a workforce that is shaped and nurtured in a lifelong talent development pipeline.

Des Moines Area Community College
www.dmacc.edu (515) 964-6638 2006 South Ankeny Boulevard Ankeny, IA 50023
Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is a comprehensive community college serving more than 38,000 credit and 33,000 non-credit students. It was recently selected as one of the Best Workplaces in Iowa by the Des Moines Register and has received many other community honors. DMACC’s goal is to improve each students’ quality of life and financial circumstance—and the well-being of Iowa. Its Core Goals are Quality, Service, Affordability. DMACC works extensively with all area organizations and populations and was the first non-business to receive the Greater Des Moines Partnership Diversity Award. DMACC offers a variety of continuing education courses that help workers upgrade their job skills and maintain professional accreditation. Business Resources staff works extensively with business and industry to provide quality training to new or existing employees. DMACC is the Service Provider for the Workforce Investment Act and was key partner in developing the comprehensive and inclusive dual client workforce system—Central Iowa Work.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice
www.dwej.org (313) 833-3935 4750 Woodward Avenue, Suite 406 Detroit, MI 48201
Since 2008, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) has trained over 200 historically disadvantaged Detroiters in industry recognized certifications in the green economy. They spend six weeks in basic skills and six to eight more weeks in technical training, and graduate trainees with a diverse set of marketable credentials. In the process, DWEJ’s trainees become environmentally literate, and advocates for environmental justice and for each other. Graduates have gone on to help clean up and green up our communities in work involving oil spill cleanup, environmental site remediation, asbestos and lead abatement, historic renovation and weatherization. Graduates work on projects such as the Detroit Residential Parcel Survey, which inventoried the entire city’s vacant houses, and home lead interventions. Impressed by their passion and work ethic, DWEJ has hired two trainees themselves, to be their Job Developer and Community Organizer. The two of them have reached out to former graduates who are now fanning out as a network of job developers for each other.

31

Future Chefs
www.futurechefs.net (781) 899-8311 681 Main Street, Suite 2-4 Waltham, MA 02451
Future Chefs seeks out urban adolescents with culinary curiosity and budding talent and helps them transition from high school to a successful career. Future Chefs unites these Greater Boston students with a community of culinary arts professionals, teachers and caring citizens, helping them prepare for fulfilling jobs. After journeying through a three-phase program, students receive ongoing support, guidance and professional connections. Future Chefs goes full circle as the students take their places as engaged individuals and good citizens, who, in turn, are compelled to give back to their communities. Future Chefs’ vision is that one day all of Greater Boston’s exceptional youth will receive equal opportunity to succeed in careers that allow them to be both economically self-sufficient and personally fulfilled. Serving 80-90 youth annually with a special brand of high expectations, opportunities and support, the program was selected as the 2011 Social Innovation Forum Innovator for Education and Employment for Vulnerable youth.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

32

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
Global Citizen Year
www.globalcitizenyear.org (415) 963-9293 466 Geary Street, Suite 400 San Francisco, CA 94102
Global Citizen Year believes that a year of immersive international experience between high school and college unlocks a lifetime of potential. Each year, the organization recruits a diverse corps of high potential graduating seniors and supports them through a bridge year with apprenticeships in Asia, Africa and Latin America before they begin college. Through a 10-month, intensive leadership training program, Global Citizen Year Fellows develop critical global competencies and skills that prepare them for college and career success. The organization, founded in January 2009, will have 100 alumni by May 2012. 100 percent of the first class returned from their Global Citizen Year proficient in a new language and with demonstrated gains on a global citizenship behavior index. Additionally, returned Fellows achieved heightened levels of maturity, motivation and focus. Ultimately, the organization envisions a world where global citizen years are the norm, not the exception, resulting in a corps of emerging leaders who are better able to access college and 21st century careers.

Green City Force
www.greencityforce.org (718) 923-1400 150 Court Street, Suite 2 Brooklyn, NY 11201
Green City Force’s Clean Energy Corps prepares urban young adults for careers and college while addressing critical needs in New York City. Of the most recent cohort, 75 percent were placed in college or work with 88 percent still employed after 6 months. Wilson Feliz, 19, was “watching his baby daughter’s clothes get smaller” with no prospects for work. Selected from nearly 150 applicants, he joined a team performing energy audits in low-income homes. The rigors of the program and fatherhood were almost overwhelming. Daily feedback and the dream of becoming a full-time energy auditor spurred Wilson to earn national certification and full-time employment with GCF partner Community Environmental Center upon graduation. GCF’s goal is to engage 200 Corps Members annually by 2013.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
HandsOn Network
www.handsonnetwork.org (404) 979-2900 600 Means Street NW, Suite 210 Atlanta, GA 30318
Several HandsOn Network affiliates run volunteer-led programs that provide academic support and training to adults and young adults so that they can improve their job prospects. One such program is New York Cares’ GED Prep with Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow. Once a week, volunteers assist adults to develop the academic skills that will lay the foundation for a GED preparation course. The adults and young adults in this program advance toward self-sufficiency and financial security through job training, academic reinforcement, improved life skills, job placement, and support services. Another affiliate-led program is the United Way of King County Volunteer Center’s Bridge to Basics program. Bridge to Basics volunteers are stationed in the community to connect folks with money-saving services such as food stamps, low cost health coverage and utility assistance. Since the fall of 2009, Bridge to Basics volunteers have helped more than 7000 people connect to food stamps, children’s health insurance, heat and utility assistance and job training.

33

i.c.stars
www.icstars.org (312) 275-5730 212 West Superior, Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60654
Formed in 1999, i.c.stars has a goal to develop 1000 Community Leaders by 2020. Using project-based learning and full immersion teaching, i.c.stars provides an opportunity for change-driven future leaders to develop skills in business and technology. i.c.stars offers a unique two-year program that provides an opportunity for low-income young adults to develop advanced technical and leadership skills while earning an Associate’s Degree. On average, i.c.stars participants have an annual income before the program of $10,490. The average annual salary after the first year following the program is $31,358. The initial placement rate for graduates is 93 percent with an IT industry retention rate of 76 percent. Graduates are working in jobs that pay 201 percent better than their previous jobs.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

34

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
New Door Ventures
www.newdoorventures.org (415) 920-9200 3075 21st Street San Francisco, CA 94110-2626
New Door Ventures helps high-risk youth get ready for work and life through real jobs, training and deep support. The program’s effectiveness is reflected in its exceptional outcomes. Of the youth who completed New Door’s employment programs in 2010, 86 percent were employed or in school upon exit, 94 percent of youth with a prior criminal background did not re-offend within six months of program exit, and 100 percent of homeless youth acquired stable housing within six months of program exit. New Door attributes its success over the past 30 years to its unwavering commitment to providing services that address the needs of the whole person, from deep support to real jobs that empower youth to help themselves. With New Door alongside them every step of the way, youth who face enormous challenges are able to work their way out of poverty, and into self-sufficient lives—ultimately as contributing members of society. “I learned how to communicate, be reliable and respect myself. I’ll never give up, never!”

One Family, Inc.
www.onefamilyscholars.org (617) 423-0504 186 South Street, 4th Floor Boston, MA 02111
One Family values higher education as the surest pathway out of poverty for families. The One Family Scholars program provides flexible college scholarships to formerly homeless and low-income single parents, helping them secure a degree and enter a family-sustaining career. Unlike traditional scholarship programs that offer only tuition assistance, the One Family Scholars model combines financial aid with programming to provide four building blocks that will help secure each Scholar’s future: college success, financial success, career success and leadership success. These building blocks are delivered through an alliance of partners, including colleges and universities, program providers and community agencies. The impact of the program has been dramatic. Last year, Scholars attended 25 colleges and universities earning an average GPA of 3.19. To date, 133 One Family Scholars have graduated with college degrees. Year-to-year retention of Scholars is 81 percent, well above the national average of 74.9 percent. Seventeen Scholars and alumnae have purchased their own homes, and in 2010, our graduates working full-time earned, on average, $40,700.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
Oxfam America
www.oxfamamerica.org (800) 776-9326 226 Causeway Street Boston, MA 02114
Oxfam America, an international relief and development agency, works in coalition with community groups in the Gulf Coast to increase the resilience of socially vulnerable communities, making sure local people qualify for the well-paying jobs from as much as $20 billion that could come to the region for coastal restoration. A key partner is Reverend Tyrone Edwards, Founding Executive Director of Zion Travelers Cooperative Center in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Reverend Edwards is a lifelong community organizer and tireless advocate for coastal communities affected by hurricanes and last year’s BP oil spill. After the oil spill, when Louisiana fishers were reeling from the loss of livelihoods, Reverend Edwards helped them get jobs with the Vessels of Opportunity program in the clean-up effort. Later he formed the Getting the Water and Jobs Rights coalition, uniting more than 20 organizations and hundreds of community members from coastal Louisiana and Mississippi. This summer, the coalition brought together 100 people, including community groups, nonprofits, engineering firms, academics and government officials to devise solutions for communities to benefit from coastal restoration efforts.

35

Seattle Community Colleges
www.sccd.ctc.edu (206) 934-4100 1500 Harvard Avenue Seattle, WA 98122
Pathway to Careers is a partnership between Seattle Community Colleges, the City of Seattle, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Jobs Initiative, SkillUp Washington, Seattle Port Jobs, the Seattle Foundation and the Service Employees International Union. The goal of the partnership is to build educational pathways to middle-class jobs for youth and low-income working adults. Pathway to Careers focuses on four industry sectors—health care, manufacturing, international trade and logistics and business services. Our goals include doubling college completion rates for degrees and certificates, increasing placement rates for students in those sectors and closing the skills gap for those key industries—the gap between the number of available skilled workers and the number of openings in the industry.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

36

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
ShopProgress
Union-made, US-made, and Eco-friendly products…simplified.

www.shopprogress.com (855) 805-6484 30 Cobble Hill Road Somerville, MA 02143

ShopProgress provides a streamlined and efficient way to buy Union-made, USmade and eco-friendly promotional items. Our mission is to promote widespread adoption of fair labor and manufacturing practices by making such products accessible and affordable to political campaigns, companies and not-for-profit organizations alike. ShopProgress is the brainchild of Grossman Marketing Group, a 101-year-old, fourth generation, Union print and promotional products company with a storied history of serving political campaigns, progressive causes and sustainable-minded organizations nationwide. Grossman Marketing Group recognizes the need for those seeking Union-made, US-made and eco-friendly products to have a resource they can trust. Grossman makes specific product recommendations because they are “best-in-class” and are available at competitive prices in a short time frame.

Staples, Inc.
www.staples.com (508) 253-7957 500 Staples Drive Framingham, MA 01702
Staples’ ultimate goal is to recruit qualified diverse talent from the communities we serve. They want to reflect the face of their customers in every community where they do business. Staples focuses on a balance of gender diversity among our manager population through progressive succession and development plans. They enlist associates to help refer new employees to our business. This has enabled Staples to get solid talent from the local community. Staples works with their store General Managers to network within their local communities and get to know local leaders, retirement organizations, diverse non-for-profit organizations, small business owners, unemployment networks and all other local organizations that touch the people within the community directly. This has been a tremendous source of diverse talent.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
Street Soccer USA
www.streetsoccerusa.org (212) 400-7044 5 Hanover Square, 17th Floor New York, NY 10004
Street Soccer USA’s mission is soccer for social change. Through our twenty-city league we aim to get homeless men, women and youth off the streets—scoring goals on the field, and achieving their goals in life. Through a systematic approach SSUSA builds community and trust through sports with participants and volunteers, transforming the context within which they live from one of isolation, abuse and marginalization, to one of community, purpose and achievement. We empower participants by marrying clinical services to sports programming and providing access to educational and employment opportunities through our Jobs Academy. By undergoing the SSUSA process, players improve social skills, self-esteem, physical and mental health and eliminate barriers to employment, making them more likely to achieve housing and job placement than their peers. The program has changed the lives of over 700 homeless youth and adults in the last three years by connecting them to jobs, housing, mental health and substance abuse services and further education opportunities.

37

StreetWise Partners
www.streetwisepartners.org (646) 705-0029 594 Broadway, Suite 510 New York, NY 10012
StreetWise Partners is a highly effective, cost efficient career development program that works with low-income individuals to help them overcome employment barriers, break the cycle of poverty, obtain better jobs and achieve short term as well as long term economic self-sufficiency. StreetWise Partners taps into the expertise of volunteer corporate professionals who provide customized one-on-one job skills training, access to professional networks, career coaching and job search assistance. StreetWise Partners assists people in proactively developing their career, not just their next job, and provides the tools and support required to set and achieve specific career goals. StreetWise Partners was founded in 1997 when young professionals, working in New York’s financial sector, envisioned a program that would meaningfully help unemployed and underemployed individuals develop the skills, confidence and connections needed to break their cycle of poverty. Today, StreetWise Partners transforms the lives of more than 300 motivated trainees annually while engaging the human capital of more than 1000 corporate volunteers from leading global firms.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

38

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions
www.nfwsolutions.org (617) 728-4446 88 Broad Street, 8th Floor Boston, MA 02110
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is a national initiative dedicated to providing the skills to low wage workers need to obtain good careers while also ensuring that employers have the high quality human capital necessary to compete in today’s global economy. The Fund has raised over $30 million to support 31 communities that contributed an additional $112 million in local resources. Each of these communities created a regional funding collaborative that invests in sectoral workforce partnerships. These partnerships organize training services that help jobseekers find employment and workers get promoted. The Fund has served over 18,000 individuals, providing them with 10,000 degrees, skill certificates and/or career readiness credentials and placing more than 5000 in jobs.

Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford
www.ctunitedwayinc.org (860) 493-6800 30 Laurel Street Hartford, CT 06106
United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut leads the Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford (WSCMH), a public/private network of 18 partnering organizations that facilitates a sector-based approach to career advancement of lower-income workers. WSCMH raises resources and leverages them to ensure a systematic approach to workforce development. We increase financial stability for workers by improving qualifications for jobs with family supporting wages and advancement potential. Finally, WSCMH helps develop a skilled workforce to meet employer needs and enhance regional competitiveness. Since 2009 WSCMH has helped 681 workers receive education and training specific to employer-identified competencies; 2005 workers gained access to income supports; and 151 employers participated.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
Year Up
www.yearup.org (617) 542-1533 93 Summer Street, 5th Floor Boston, MA 02110
Since opening the doors at their first site in Boston in 2001, Year Up has grown into a national leader in workforce development by creating enterprising pathways to prosperity. Today Year Up serves over 1,300 students a year in eight cities across the country and is eagerly pursuing plans for continued and innovative expansion. Year Up’s high-expectation, high-support program combines marketable job skills, stipends, corporate internships and college credits. The program cycle lasts one year. During the first six months, students attend classes at a Year Up site, learning technical and professional skills that prepare them for success in a corporate environment. During the second six months, students gain experience in internships at leading companies. After completion of the program, 84 percent of graduates are employed or are in college full time within four months of graduation. Those who are working earn an hourly wage of $15 an hour (about $30,000 per year), more than twice the federal minimum wage.

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Youth News Service/L.A. Youth
www.layouth.com (323) 938-9194 5967 West Third Street, Suite 301 Los Angeles, CA 90036
L.A. Youth gathers and reports the news while helping youth develop literacy skills. Adult staff members and volunteers provide mentoring, guiding students from identifying a story idea, developing its theme, editing and making sure that what appears in print represents the students’ insights. The Foster Youth Writing and Education Program provides youth in the juvenile justice system with opportunities to share their experiences. Our bureau at Locke High School in Watts brings the program to a community where students need to acquire skills and share their opinions. We hold Letters to the Editor and essay contests to elicit participation from diverse readers and help L.A. Youth gather teen opinion from communities throughout the region. Our intensive, 6-week Summer Writing Workshop helps teens keep their minds and skills sharp as they await the next school year. More than 700 middle and high school students, most of whom come from low-income households, participate annually in the publication of L.A. Youth, and an average of 70 students contribute to each of the newspaper’s six annual issues.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Opening Pathways to Prosperity: Expanding Options for Job Training and Success
YouthBuild, USA
www.youthbuild.org (617) 623-9900 58 Day Street Somerville, MA 02144
YouthBuild is a youth and community development program that simultaneously addresses core issues facing low-income communities: housing, education, employment, crime prevention and leadership development. In YouthBuild programs, low-income young people ages 16 to 24 earn their GED or diploma while learning job skills by building affordable housing for homeless and lowincome people. Students spend six to 24 months in the full-time program, dividing their time equally between the construction site and the YouthBuild alternative school. Strong emphasis is placed on leadership development, peer support, and community service. Autonomous community based nonprofit organizations or local public agencies sponsor the programs. Each program raises its own private and public funds. Primary support comes from the US Department of Labor through the authorized annual YouthBuild appropriation. There are 273 YouthBuild programs in 46 states. Over 100,000 students have built 20,000 units of affordable, increasingly green, housing since 1994. Research shows a $7.80 ROI for every dollar invested in YouthBuild.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Helping the Whole Family: A Holistic Approach for Children and Families
Successful skill development throughout one’s life is essential to the creation of an opportunity society, but not everyone begins life with equal tools to take advantage of opportunity. Children in struggling families and communities have extra challenges. Over the last several decades, states and the federal government have created a “safety net” of programs designed to help disadvantaged children and families. These efforts are critical but can be uncoordinated, bureaucratic and confusing at a time when people are most vulnerable. It is important that safety net programs recognize the person, rather than their underlying problems, and to assist them in the context of their family and community.

Coalition organizations are working in a variety of ways to help families in a holistic manner and help improve the systems that serve them. Many are multi-service programs that are a lifeline in communities: offering food, shelter, clothing and safety that are the basic building blocks of family survival. Some coalition organizations have established co-located services or offer support through existing networks or affiliations to improve accessibility and reduce the burden on families. Many offer supports for parents to be their best and early-childhood education programs that help kids be ready for school.

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Helping the Whole Family: A Holistic Approach for Children and Families
The Children’s Movement of Florida
www.childrensmovementflorida.org (305) 646-7136 rd 3250 SW 3 Avenue, 6th Floor Miami, FL 33129
Each child should be our child. Each child should have the fullest chance to be successful in school and in life. The Children’s Movement of Florida’s focus is on all children because all children need the basics of health and education and nurturing and love. This approach is American to its core. When we say “our” child and “all” children, we do so in the deepest belief that parents must be front and center in a child’s growth—cognitively, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. A real “movement” must be about everyone’s child, while realizing, of course, that some children need more help than others. In the Movement’s first year we held Milk Parties in 17 cities with 15,000 Floridians attending, grew our weekly email mailings to more than 260,000 and raised more than $2 million in private and foundation dollars.

Community HealthCorps
www.communityhealthcorps.org (301) 347-0400 7200 Wisconsin Avenue Bethesda, MD 20814
Founded in 1995 by the National Association of Community Health Centers, Community HealthCorps is the largest health-focused, national AmeriCorps program that promotes healthcare for America’s underserved, while developing tomorrow’s healthcare workforce. The mission of the Community HealthCorps is to improve healthcare access and enhance workforce development for community health centers through national service programs. The vision of Community HealthCorps is to become a national service pipeline for careers in community health centers that are improving access to necessary primary and preventative care services for the medically underserved. About 500 full-time Community HealthCorps members served over 560,000 unduplicated people across the country.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Helping the Whole Family: A Holistic Approach for Children and Families
Community Renewal International, Inc.
www.communityrenewal.us (318) 425-3222 PO Box 4678 Shreveport, LA 71134
Community Renewal International (CRI) was formed to provide the solution to the problem of societal decay by methodically rebuilding the system of relationships at the most basic level. CRI has created an intervention methodology based on initiating, growing and nurturing mutually enhancing relationships delivered through activities in three strategic areas; the Renewal Team (city-wide), Haven House (block by block) and Friendship House (low-income, high-crime neighborhoods). These activities grow individuals to wholeness in six areas of competency and compassion. The results speak for themselves: A 49.5 percent average drop in major crime in Friendship House target neighborhoods; 48,000 members of the We Care Team (people actively caring about and reaching out to their neighbors and others in the community); and 2725 children and teens helped through Friendship House programs.

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Generations United
www.gu.org (202) 289-3979 1331 H Street NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20005
Catalyst. Advocate. Champion. These three words probably best describe Generations United’s multiple roles as it works to improve the lives of children, youth and older people. As a catalyst, Generations United promote intergenerational collaboration by bringing together children and aging groups to find common ground, and they support the growth of intergenerational programs nationwide. Their grassroots initiative, Seniors4Kids, mobilizes older adults in support of the care and education of the next generation. As an advocate, they promote policies that meet the needs of all generations. Generations United was one of the founding co-sponsors of the Fourth National GrandRally, which brought grandparents and other relatives raising children from across the country to the US Capitol to focus lawmakers’ attention on the contributions relative caregivers make and ensure that lawmakers create and preserve policies that support these families. As a champion for all generations, Generations United promotes efforts to value and engage each generation’s unique talents, skills and wisdom in order to build stronger communities and a better society. Their motto says it best, “Because we’re stronger together.”

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Helping the Whole Family: A Holistic Approach for Children and Families
Health Leads
www.healthleadsusa.org (617) 391-3633 111 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02199
Every day in America, doctors prescribe antibiotics to patients who have no food at home or are living in a car. Of course, medicine alone won’t solve these problems, and many of the patients will return with more serious—and more expensive—illnesses. In clinics where Health Leads operates, a doctor can “prescribe” food, housing or other critical resources—just as they would medication. Patients take their prescriptions to the clinic waiting room, where Health Leads’ college volunteers are ready to connect them to these resources. Nearly 60 percent of Health Leads patients solve at least one critical need like receiving food or getting their heat turned back on within 90 days of getting their “prescription.” Last year, Health Leads’ 850 volunteers worked with over 9000 patients and their families.

Horizons for Homeless Children
www.horizonsforhomelesschildren.org (617) 553-5455 1705 Columbus Avenue Roxbury, MA 02119
This year, 1.5 million US children will experience homelessness, more than 100,000 in Massachusetts alone. As child and family homelessness rises across the state and nation, Horizons for Homeless Children (HHC) provides the tools and support services that help stabilize families, provides very young children experiencing the trauma of homelessness with high quality early childhood education geared to meet their needs and shares its expertise with educators and service providers across the country. HHC provides NAEYC-accredited education each day for 175 children ages six and under living in homeless shelters to ensure that they develop on par with their peers and are school-ready, laying the foundation for future social and academic success. HHC supports parents as well, offering assistance with education and training, employment and parenting and life-skills classes. HHC also provides 2200 young children living in shelters each week across the state with opportunities for play and developmental activities through Playspaces in the shelters, while training and placing over 1400 volunteers to be Playspace Activity Leaders to engage the children.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Helping the Whole Family: A Holistic Approach for Children and Families
Kentucky Youth Advocates
www.kyyouth.org (502) 895-8167 11001 Bluegrass Parkway, Suite 100 Jeffersontown, KY 40299
Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) is a trusted, independent voice for Kentucky’s children and has worked for over 35 years to improve child well-being and public policies that influence the lives of children and families. Our vision is to make Kentucky the best place in America to be young. KYA’s work relies on the power of coalition building and collaboration. Since 2007, KYA has brought together child advocates to speak with one voice for state-level policy change through the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children initiative. This effort includes advocates from across Kentucky who focus on issues such as early childhood, education, health, economic well-being and juvenile justice. Blueprint supporters work on common goals to promote safe and healthy families, a fair deal for working parents and a fair opportunity for every child. KYA and partners have successfully worked to increase access to health insurance for kids, improve dental health for children and raise awareness about the danger of the debt trap caused by high interest rates associated with payday loans.

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LIFT
www.liftcommunities.org (202) 289-1151 800 7th Street NW Washington, DC 20001
LIFT’s mission is to combat poverty and expand opportunity for all people in the United States. With one in six Americans currently struggling under the weight of poverty, LIFT’s model re-imagines the way that social services are provided in the U.S. at every level—from office environment, to customer service, to clinical methodology to cost structure and effectiveness. LIFT engages volunteers—mostly college students—to work one-on-one with thousands of underserved community members. Our clients and volunteers work together to find stable employment, secure housing, apply for public benefits and access referrals for other critical social services. In the process, the lives of our volunteers are transformed as they grapple with the issues and challenges that their clients are facing. Since its founding in 1998, LIFT has placed over 40,000 families on a path out of poverty with the dedication of 6000 volunteers, rendering over 800,000 unique services to those families—all at a cost of $250 per family served.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Helping the Whole Family: A Holistic Approach for Children and Families
National Fatherhood Initiative
www.fatherhood.org (301) 948-0599 20410 Observation Drive, Suite 107 Germantown, MD 20876
National Fatherhood Initiative is the #1 provider of fatherhood skill-building materials in the nation. NFI has distributed over 5.8 million fatherhood resources since 2004. Since 2002, NFI has trained 11,549 practitioners from 5374 organizations on how to deliver fatherhood programming into communities. NFI’s work has been evaluated and found to be effective. For example, NFI’s InsideOut Dad program for incarcerated and reentering fathers was found to be an evidence-based program through a rigorous evaluation conducted by Rutgers University. The study found that there were statistically significant increases in dads’ attitudes, skills, knowledge and behavior compared to a control group. NFI’s flagship 24/7 Dad program has also had successful evaluations conducted showing its impact on the attitudes and knowledge of fathers. It is critical that fathers are included in services to families, which have traditionally been focused on serving mothers and children. There is a father factor at play in the issues that we care about most—poverty, crime, education, child abuse and more. Helping dads builds stronger children and families.

New York City Coalition Against Hunger
www.nyccah.org (212) 825-0028 50 Broad Street New York, NY 10004
The New York City Coalition Against Hunger represents—and is the voice for— the more than 1200 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City and the more than 1.4 million low-income New Yorkers who live in households that can’t afford enough food. The coalition works not only to meet these residents’ immediate food needs but also to enact innovative solutions to help society move “beyond the soup kitchen” to ensure economic and food self-sufficiency for all Americans. This past summer we engaged 50 AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates to promote the Summer Food Service Program and conduct outreach for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Summer Associates served for eight to ten weeks in 15 states in food pantries, soup kitchens and other anti-hunger agencies. We had 611 volunteers serving 1675 hours, made $1700 in awarded grants with another $120,000 pending, and provided 8772 meals for children who may otherwise not have had breakfast or lunch available to them. This is an increase of 41.58 percent over the 5125 served last summer.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Helping the Whole Family: A Holistic Approach for Children and Families
Share Our Strength
www.strength.org (202) 393-2925 1730 M Street NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC 20036
Share Our Strength is ending child hunger in America. Through the No Kid Hungry campaign, Share Our Strength works with governors, mayors and community, faith and private sector leaders to connect families facing hunger with the programs that can help them. Share Our Strength funds local anti-hunger organizations and builds effective partnerships that bring together private funders, public officials and nonprofits to create a plan with measurable goals to end child hunger. No Kid Hungry partnerships throughout the country innovatively surround at-risk children with food where they live, learn and play. Through the Colorado School Breakfast Challenge, for example, 95 participating schools served 130,000 more breakfasts, a per-school average increase of 66 percent over the previous year. Similarly, the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland boosted participation in summer meals in 2010 by more than 35 percent through creative marketing efforts and other program improvements. As Share Our Strength brings these programs to more communities, we get that much closer to No Kid Hungry in America.

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Solid Ground
www.solid-ground.org (206) 694-6700 1501 North 45th Street Seattle, WA 98103
Kelly and her young daughter never had stability. “We were homeless, living at grandma’s, never really had a place. I’d get a job and lose it...” Solid Ground gets over 64,000 people the resources and support they need to overcome poverty and thrive. After just a year in transitional housing, working intensively with Darlene, a Solid Ground case manager, Kelly and her daughter became the first family to move into the permanent affordable housing Solid Ground recently built at a former Navy base. “What really helped me was making realistic goals,” Kelly says. “I made a goal plan every three months. Darlene helped me get on paper what I needed to do for me—and my girl. And I’ve achieved every goal I’ve made.” Solid Ground gives Kelly “the stability I need to raise my daughter, and be self-sufficient.”

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

Achieving Economic Independence: Savings and Growth for Small Businesses and Households
Asset development is a critical strategy to increasing economic mobility. Numerous studies have proven that everyone has the ability to save money and develop assets when given the opportunity to do so, and that the awareness of even a small amount of savings can give youth the confidence to feel that higher education or other opportunities are within reach. When paired with a steady income, financial education, access to traditional financial institutions and wealth building programs can help people increase their economic mobility.

Opportunity Nation’s coalition organizations recognize this and are dedicated to helping families reach economic independence in a variety of ways. Some organizations work one on one with families to educate them on money management strategies to yield economic independence, including savings, tax credits, home ownership, and small business development. Others work at the community, state or national level to ensure that there is a suitable climate for working Americans to have the opportunity for a sound financial footing.

The common thread is that promoting and supporting work and savings creates a reliable basis for future economic prosperity—making it less fragile and more durable for all of us.

Achieving Economic Independence: Savings and Growth for Small Businesses and Households
The Center for Public Policy Priorities
www.opportunitytexas.org (512) 320-0222 900 Lydia Street Austin, TX 78702
Promoting saving at tax time is increasingly seen as an important asset building opportunity. OpportunityTexas, a joint project of the Center for Public Policy Priorities and RAISE Texas, promoted savings during the 2011 tax season by extending grants to organizations or their community partners operating VITA sites—free tax preparation sites—in nine communities across Texas. The grants provided cash incentives to VITA clients to save a portion of their tax refund through a US Savings Bond. Altogether, the communities distributed savings incentives to 265 filers, which generated participant savings of nearly $30,000, over double OpportunityTexas’ initial grant investment. These projects created many new savers, with 74% of incentive recipients reporting first time tax refund savings. They also motivated filers to save for education, the most common reported savings purpose of incentive recipients. OpportunityTexas published a guide that outlines best practices for promoting tax-time savings and summarizes results from our investments.

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The Financial Clinic
www.thefinancialclinic.org (646) 810-4050 115 West 30th Street, Suite 702 New York, NY 10001
Founded in 2005, The Financial Clinic is a nonprofit financial development firm that builds working poor families’ financial security by addressing their immediate challenges and helping them create trajectories for long-term goals and financial mobility. The Clinic works towards its mission through a combination of services that include: immediate access to tax and FAFSA preparation and financial education workshops; legal assistance on personal financial issues; and long-term, one-on-one financial coaching aimed at identifying goals as well as creating and maintaining the financial habits necessary to achieve those goals. In the last five years, the Clinic has served over 6000 working poor New Yorkers, securing nearly $10 million in cash value services. The Clinic’s vision is that of systemic change. By leveraging its on-the-ground lessons, the Clinic seeks to create system level solutions that impact the working poor at scale. By integrating financial development strategies into a wide range of social service models the Clinic has demonstrated success in scaling financial security, as well as creating greater impact.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Achieving Economic Independence: Savings and Growth for Small Businesses and Households
United Way Silicon Valley
www.uwsv.org (408) 345-4300 1400 Parkmoor Avenue, No. 250 San Jose, CA 95126
As the lead organization for the Bank on San Jose Initiative, United Way Silicon Valley partners with banks, credit unions and community organizations to empower low income residents to take advantage of mainstream financial products and services. We provide families with practical money management skills that help them use their income wisely, manage debt, increase credit scores and access resources from financial institutions. The unique and innovative United Way Silicon Valley Credit Coaching Program matched 64 highly trained volunteers with 110 hard-working individuals and families in Santa Clara County who are interested in improving their credit and financial management skills. Credit scores are more important now than ever before. Our volunteer credit coaches are trained to educate individuals and families about existing free resources and to support them as they adapt the use of these resources in their everyday lives. Since launch, more than 80% of the participants are still in the program and typically are seeing their FICO scores increase by 30-50 points.

United Way Worldwide
www.liveunited.org (703) 836-7100 701 North Fairfax Street Fairfax, VA 22314
United Way Worldwide’s financial stability initiative promotes community change strategies to help families meet their basic needs, while gaining the financial stability that will allow them to plan for-and accomplish their long-term financial goals. In partnership with the Bank of America and Walmart Foundations, United Way Worldwide provides funding and technical assistance to almost 100 United Ways to support an approach to increasing financial stability that combines the critical short-term cash infusion provided by tax credits and refunds with financial education and other programs and services that provide longer-term benefits. Last tax season, United Ways and their partners provided free tax preparation services to well more than one million lower-income workers, returning almost two billion in total tax refunds.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Achieving Economic Independence: Savings and Growth for Small Businesses and Households
Women In Need
www.women-in-need.org (212) 695-4758 115 West 31st Street New York, NY 10001
Women In Need’s programs include supportive housing for 226 formerly homeless families headed by women who are victims of domestic violence, have histories of substance abuse or have aged out of foster care. These women strive to reach economic independence while overcoming years of abuse, addiction or abandonment. WIN offers a range of services from intensive counseling and job readiness to parenting and life skills training. For many clients, this is their first stable home, and they stay an average of 36 months. For example, Jessica, a program client, began running away from home at age 13 when her stepfather began hitting, burning and degrading her. At 17 she began her journey through a string of foster homes and over the years gave birth to two daughters. After aging out of foster care she entered WIN’s supportive housing. With the help of WIN staff, Jessica and her daughters have remained in their own apartment for more than two years and Jessica is pursuing her dream—studying to become a Crime Scene Investigator.

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BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Today, the most commonly discussed measure on economic security is the poverty rate. The focus on the poverty rate obscures the full situation of economic well being and does not provide communities the data they need to understand the progress they can make in boosting measures of economic mobility, such as graduating from high school and college. This forged our interest in developing an Opportunity Index that measures a number of indicators at the county and state levels that contribute to economic opportunity and mobility. We include indicators that have a demonstrated connection to expanding or restricting economic mobility and opportunity.

Opportunity Nation’s coalition organizations work tirelessly to make neighborhoods, cities and towns safe, healthy communities of opportunity. In ways big and small, they understand that the chances and choices someone has for work or education are not theirs alone, and they promote economic development and affordable housing, violence reduction and green spaces, efficient transportation and a vibrant civic life.

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
10,000 Small Businesses
www2.goldmansachs.com (617) 785-0807 200 High Street, Third Floor Boston, MA 02110-3036
Small businesses have been the engines of economic growth in America, creating two-thirds of net new jobs. In today’s economy, small businesses matter even more. 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million initiative to unlock the job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States. Funded by the Goldman Sachs Foundations the program is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that greater access to a combination of education, capital and support services best address the barriers to growth. The program brings together a network of local academic and non-profit partners who understand the needs of their local business communities to empower business owners to grow and create jobs.

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Appalachian State University
www.appstate.edu (828) 262-2060 ASU Box 32117 Boone, NC 28608
Appalachian State University’s longtime dedication to providing a challenging curriculum in a student-centered environment is reflected in our students’ deep commitment to volunteer work and service learning. Our students’ passion for service has earned Appalachian recognition from the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll and the Carnegie Foundation, among others. Our sustainable development program integrates academics with community engagement and outreach, combining the important areas of environment, economics and social equity. In the past four years, our students have spent 368,247 hours serving the local community; provided $7.2 million of volunteer value to the local economy and raised $144,400 in direct funds for local community agencies. Our students choose to understand complex problems through field experience. Appalachian organized nine student-led international and 17 domestic Alternative Spring Break trips in 2010-11, during which our students worked to benefit others through various service activities. This achievement earned the university a ranking of 10th in the nation for the number of alternative break programs by the national non-profit Break Away.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Bay Area Council
www.bayareacouncil.org (415) 981-6600 201 California Street, Suite 1450 San Francisco, CA 94111
As the voice of business for over six decades in the San Francisco-Silicon ValleyOakland Bay Area region, the Bay Area Council is proud to have a role in promoting communities of opportunity through our public policy initiatives. The work to which we are all committed recognizes a simple fact: economies that involve and empower all members of society are successful economies. The Council and its more than 275 member companies have facilitated transformation in lives and communities through our research, advocacy, programs, thought leadership and action. From work on regional planning and infrastructure to healthcare and education reform, the Council has helped lead the way toward a more equitable society for everyone who lives, works, plays and serves within the nine counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay. Our hope is to achieve our vision of improving the competitiveness and vitality of the Bay Area region by informing and mobilizing business, civic and political leaders on the most critical issues and opportunities.

Bethel New Life
www.bethelnewlife.org (773) 473-7870 4950 W Thomas Avenue Chicago, IL 60651
Bethel New Life is a catalyst for positive transformation on Chicago’s West Side. Bethel invests in people who are ready to invest in themselves and in one another to create a healthy community. Bethel’s goal is to create a healthy, stable and just community where people want to live. Bethel’s efforts result in participants becoming agents of transformation for themselves and their communities. Bethel invests in people of all ages and families and communities on Chicago’s West Side. Bethel works to assure that the conditions exist for healthy people, healthy families and healthy communities. By creating healthy conditions, the community and its people become autonomous, empowered and self-reliant to meet their own needs. Bethel New Life was founded in 1979 to rebuild Chicago’s West Side communities. It is nationally recognized for its innovative approach to community development. Bethel has equipped tens of thousands to start businesses, find employment, buy and maintain homes, embrace aging with dignity, attend college and advocate for safer neighborhoods and better schools.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Blue Star Families
www.bluestarfam.org (202) 630-2583 P.O. Box 322 Falls Church, VA 22040
Blue Star Families is proud to be part of Operation Honor Cards (OHC), a joint project with the American Red Cross and ServiceNation: Mission Serve, working together with Veterans Affairs, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Department of Defense. Inspired by the First Lady’s Joining Forces campaign for military families, the program aims to create an atmosphere of shared service and a WWII sense of “all give some” by encouraging Americans to perform service in honor of military families and veterans. OHC will collect Honor Pledges of community service and maintain a running tally of hours of community service committed and fulfilled in honor of military families, service members and veterans. OHC will also collect physical honor cards that organizations can fill out to thank military families. These cards will be displayed at military installations and events across the country. More than three million hours have been pledged so far, with pledges from organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA, Lions Club International, Virginia Department of Volunteerism, American Red Cross, Blue Star families, Service Nation: Mission Serve, Operation Gratitude, The Mission Continues, BAE Systems and Blue Shield of California.

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Boston Rising
www.bostonrising.org (617) 236-0094 711 Atlantic Avenue Boston, MA 02111
Boston Rising is an antipoverty fund with a mission to end the cycle of poverty once and for all in Boston by clearing a path for the next Rising Class. We do two things: we mobilize resources and we invest for huge impact. Boston Rising believes each individual knows best his or her own goals and ambitions, so we invest in programs and leaders who believe the same and do business accordingly. By connecting and engaging an unprecedented number of advocates for and with the Rising Class we will break the cycle in Boston once and for all. Breaking the cycle means transforming communities from within. Understanding this, Boston Rising uses an Impact Zone model. The Impact Zone is Boston Rising’s entry point for investment and we have chosen to start our work in the greater Grove Hall neighborhood of Boston. Our approach focuses on our three investment areas of social connections, education and jobs and community wealth. Resident partnership is a key component of everything we do.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Center for Rural Affairs
www.cfra.org (402) 687-2100 145 Main Street, PO Box 136 Lyons, NE 68038
Rural Nebraska is vast, covering over 75,000 square miles—an area larger than all of New England. It is sparsely populated, with about 997,000 residents. In rural Nebraska, small business and self-employment is king. Approximately one-third of all workers in the region are self-employed. In the more rural areas, the number climbs as high as 90 percent. Approximately 367,000 rural citizens don’t live in an incorporated community—they are farmers, ranchers and small rural community residents. The Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP program specializes in serving these rural entrepreneurs with loans, technical assistance, business training and networking. REAP offers services to every Nebraska community except Lincoln and Omaha. Last year, REAP helped startup and existing entrepreneurs throughout Nebraska, placed the most loans in the history of the program, and reached large numbers of women and Hispanic entrepreneurs. REAP is closing fast on placing $7 million in total lending.

Coalition for Responsible Community Development
www.coalitionrcd.org (323) 231-0871 3101 South Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90007
The Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) is a neighborhood-based community development corporation in the Vernon-Central neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Vernon-Central is renowned for its role in jazz history from the 1920’s to the 50’s, and is home to historic landmarks such as the Historic 28th Street YMCA and the Dunbar Hotel on Central Avenue. CRCD leads initiatives to foster a safe and economically vibrant neighborhood—a place where young people can thrive and contribute to neighborhood revitalization. With effective partnerships, CRCD promotes public safety and civic pride; trains and hires unemployed youth to beautify their neighborhood; engages young people in education, training and career-building at Los Angeles Trade Technical Community College; builds permanent supportive housing for former foster youth and other low-income residents; and strengthens small businesses to promote economic growth.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Community Action Partnership
www.communityactionpartnership.com (202) 449-9774 1140 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 1210 Washington, DC 20036
The Community Action Partnership is a national membership organization comprised of private non-profit and public agencies. The Partnership promotes economic security, especially for those people and families who are low-income and vulnerable. The Partnership lives by its promise: “Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.” Last year 1060 Community Action Agencies provided services to 20.3 million lowincome individuals. Programs include emergency food, shelter, and home energy, Head Start, childcare, home weatherization, economic development, job training and placement and many others.

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Connecticut Association for Human Services
www.cahs.org (860) 951-2212 110 Bartholomew Avenue, Suite 4030 Hartford, CT 06106
The Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS) promotes family economic security strategies that empower low-income working families to achieve financial independence. CAHS’s mission is to end poverty and engage, equip and empower all families in Connecticut to build a secure future. CAHS plays a unique role as a catalyst and convener. CAHS works to reduce poverty and build family economic success through outreach, education and policy work. CAHS champions important issues by promoting collaboration among ongoing initiatives to help end poverty in Connecticut; creating a supportive cross-sector network for policies and practices that ensure family economic stability; connecting to the state’s plans for strengthening its talent pipeline, recharging its economy and reducing child poverty; and developing and strengthening policies and programs to move families out of poverty and prevent families from falling into poverty by providing access to opportunities for low to middle-income families. A key strength of CAHS is the ability to collaborate with others, and bring together diverse interests like concerned citizens, policy makers, human service providers, corporate leaders, labor leaders, academics, state and municipal organizations and religious organizations.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Education Resource Strategies, Inc.
www.erstrategies.org (617) 607-8000 1 Brook Street Watertown, MA 02472
Education Resource Strategies, Inc. (ERS) is a non-profit organization helping urban school systems organize talent, time and money to create great schools at scale. The only nonprofit organization that connects resource analysis to improving instruction, ERS has partnered with many leading urban systems across the country to understand how they are allocating resources and what they can improve. ERS offers a library of approaches that can guide district leaders in their own resource analysis and help leaders align resource decisions with becoming a successful district in the information age. Elizabeth Arons, Senior HR Policy Advisor with the New York City Department of Education said, “ERS is the best in the country at saying that if you invest your resources this way, it correlates with this end result.

Equity and Inclusion Campaign
www.equityandinclusion.org (504) 872-9403 1610 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard New Orleans, LA 70113
Equity and Inclusion Campaign (E&I) is a coalition of faith-based and community organizations working to end persistent poverty and inequity in the South. E&I recently succeeded in uplifting a community of opportunity in Trinity Gardens, Alabama with local partner Leevones Dubose. The Equity and Inclusion Campaign worked to shed light on the unmet and devastating housing needs there, and succeeded in bringing HUD Secretary Donovan to the area. “Washington hadn’t forgotten us—they didn’t even know we were there,” said Ms. Dubose. “First came Secretary Donovan’s visit, then 37 homes financed through the Community Stabilization Trust, then support from national development organizations. Now, they’ve got 64 homes to go, down from a waiting list of 400. With each home rebuilt comes access to better jobs and better opportunity.”

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Esperanza
www.esperanza.us (215) 324-0746 4261 North 5th Street Philadelphia, PA 19140
Esperanza is a Hispanic faith-based community development corporation promoting communities of opportunity by spurring educational and economic advancement for low-income families. Esperanza’s institutions and programs maintain a high standard of excellence, evidenced by the transformative outcomes achieved. Esperanza Academy Charter High School graduates 90 percent of its minority students on time, while Pennsylvania graduates only 78 percent and Philadelphia’s school district graduates 57 percent. Over 90 percent of Esperanza graduates are accepted into college. Esperanza College, a two-year associates degree-awarding branch campus of Eastern University, graduates 65 percent of its students in two years compared to a national community college graduation rate of about 25 percent in three years. Esperanza also offers comprehensive housing counseling services (and serves as a national HUDcertified intermediary), adult literacy and ESL instruction, arts and music education, immigration legal services, welfare-to-work job training and more.

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Family Independence Initiative
www.fiinet.org (510) 452-9341 1203 Preservation Park Way, Suite 100 Oakland, CA 94612
The Family Independence Initiative (FII) is a national center for anti-poverty innovation that over the last decade has proven that when the self-determination of low-income communities is supported they can improve their own economic and social mobility. For decades the only support systems for low-income families have been based on responding to people’s needs rather than their strengths. While the “safety net” approach is critical for those in crisis, it does not support real, self-sustaining advancement for low-income communities. Inspired by the historical successes of poor and immigrant communities who worked together toward self-sufficiency, FII is leading the development of an approach that more effectively supports low-income families who want to leave or are not a part of the safety net system. More than 1000 individuals from more than 150 families are currently participating in demonstrations of FII’s approach. On average, these families increase their income by more than 20 percent and their savings by more than 200 percent. Significant numbers also improve their children’s grades, start businesses, buy homes, drop government subsidies, increase civic engagement and become community leaders.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Feelgoodz LLC
www.feelgoodz.com (504) 400-7882 6320 Cartwright Drive New Orleans, LA 70122
Feelgoodz LLC, a marketer and distributor of natural flip-flops, aims to create a new industry for the world—The Dandelion Project. Feelgoodz CEO Kyle Berner plans to build an industrial infrastructure in the New Orleans area that manufactures, distributes and exports upwards of 30,000 rubber products harvested from dandelion latex. This industry could create upwards of 1000 employees for the Gulf Coast, turning communities into nodes of opportunity.

Generation Citizen
www.GenerationCitizen.org (212) 601-9353 373 Park Avenue South, 6th Floor New York, NY 10016
Generation Citizen’s mission is to empower under-represented youth to be active participants in the democratic process. Operating in New York, Boston and Providence, RI, Generation Citizen promotes communities of opportunity by giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to make effective change in their communities, whether it’s lobbying legislators on gang violence, holding teen jobs fairs, or convincing their Mayor to build a youth center. Being engaged in politics is crucial to a better opportunity and economic pathway.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
HELP USA
www.helpusa.org (212) 400-7000 5 Hanover Square, 17th Floor New York, NY 10004
HELP USA’s mission is to provide housing and the supportive services necessary for the homeless and people in need to become and remain self-reliant. Through the development of quality housing with on-site support services, HELP USA provides resources for its residents to become independent and self-sufficient. HELP USA breaks the cycle of dependency by addressing underlying causes in a way that respects the dignity of those we serve. HELP USA helps their clients help themselves. HELP USA has served over 250,000 homeless men, women, children and families since 1986. The comprehensive continuum of services offered at HELP USA residences includes employment training and placement, life skills education, childcare and domestic violence counseling. As clients build confidence and skills, they take control of their lives and find a new beginning.

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Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
www.hillel.org (202) 449-6500 800 8th Street NW Washington, DC 20001
Hillel is working to provoke a renaissance of Jewish life. The largest Jewish campus organization in the world, Hillel gives Jewish students the opportunity to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity through its global network of regional centers, campus Foundations and Hillel student organizations. Hillel student leaders, professionals and lay leaders are dedicated to creating a pluralistic, welcoming and inclusive environment for Jewish college students, where they are encouraged to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially. Hillel helps students find a balance in being distinctively Jewish and universally human by encouraging them to pursue tzedek (social justice), tikkun olam (repairing the world) and Jewish learning, and to support Israel and global Jewish peoplehood. Hillel’s Campus Entrepreneurs Initiative and Peer Network Engagement Internship encourages 15,000 students by fostering social entrepreneurship, community organizing and peer engagement. Our Alternative Breaks combine hands-on volunteer service with service learning and reflection, giving 8000 students the chance to join their peers in pursuing social justice.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
IBM Citizenship
www.smartercitieschallenge.org (914) 499-5033 New Orchard Road Armonk, NY 10504
Last year, IBM Citizenship launched the Smarter Cities Challenge—a three-year, $50 million initiative to contribute the skills and expertise of teams of top-performing IBMers to address the key challenges facing 100 competitively selected cities around the world. Each city participating in the Challenge receives a team of five or six IBM experts to work with the city for a three-week period to craft a strategic roadmap that addresses a challenge identified by the mayor and top city leaders. Challenge engagements have been completed in 27 cities around the world, including 11 cities in the United States, on topics ranging from affordable warmth and youth services to property vacancy and urban agriculture. By sending IBM’s most valuable resource—human capital—to support the efforts of forward thinking city leaders, the initiative aims to promote the development of data driven strategies to address the core needs of constituents: economic development, education, social services, public safety and more.

Initiative for a Competitive Inner City
www.icic.org (617) 292-2363 200 High Street, Third Floor Boston, MA 02110
Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) is a free program sponsored by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and Bank of America designed to stimulate the flow of capital to inner city businesses. ICCC is the country’s only program that educates investment-ready companies about equity and other sources of capital and matches them with investors to grow their businesses and create jobs. ICCC has an outstanding track record of bringing entrepreneurs together with the sources of capital they need to build strong companies and create jobs. Approximately 100 alumni of the ICCC program have raised $406 million for their companies and helped create 2790 jobs.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation
www.jacobscenter.org (619) 527-6161 404 Euclid Avenue San Diego, CA 92114
The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation is committed to the belief that residents must own the plans, process, and assets of neighborhood change for that change to be meaningful and sustainable. Working in the Diamond Neighborhoods of San Diego, thousands of residents worked in teams to plan, design, lease, build, operate and now own a commercial and cultural center called Market Creek Plaza. As residents saw the impact of their work on the Plaza, they wanted to invest their own hard-earned money in the project. At that time, there was no way to transfer ownership of a community asset into the hands of local residents. Thanks to a resident-led team that included JCNI staff and a team of lawyers, the nation’s first Community Development IPO was created. After six years and three submissions to the California Department of Corporations, a first-of-its kind offering made ownership possible for more than 400 resident investors. With investments as small as $200 and as large at $10,000, they are now earning a full 10 percent return every year.

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MassChallenge, Inc.
www.masschallenge.org (888) 782-7820 One Marina Park Drive Boston, MA 02210
MassChallenge is a $1 million global startup competition and accelerator designed to catalyze the launch and success of high-growth, high-impact new businesses. MassChallenge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and does not take equity from startups or place any restrictions on winners. The 111 startups supported in the 2010 MassChallenge accelerator raised over $90 million in outside funding and created 500 new jobs in under 12 months. In 2011 MassChallenge received 733 applications from 24 countries and 34 states. Every entrant receives training, feedback, PR and networking support via expert volunteers from partner organizations. 125 of the highest-potential startups receive more than three months of acceleration support, including intensive mentorship, free office space and targeted introductions to customers and funding sources. While the accelerator is based in Massachusetts, there is no requirement to create a presence there at any time. The very best startups are identified by expert judges to receive cash awards toward launching their businesses along with enhanced PR and privileged access to top investors.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Missouri Association for Community Action
www.communityaction.org (573) 634-2969 2014 William Street Jefferson City, MO 65109
United in purpose, the Missouri Community Action Network inspires and engages people to ensure that all families and communities thrive. To achieve this vision, MACA has the Community Action Poverty Simulation, a copyrighted learning tool for organizations wanting to promote a greater understanding of poverty. MACA believes that understanding the day-to-day reality people face while living in the crisis of poverty is important for everyone involved in fighting poverty—from policymakers to service providers. To date, we have distributed 581 poverty simulation kits throughout the United States, Canada and Singapore. Recipients include universities, public school districts, city governments, nursing and medical schools, United Way agencies, extension offices, faith-based organizations, other state community action associations and communities involved with poverty reduction initiatives. We believe that by allowing people to experience for themselves the stress of poverty, we open opportunities for community dialogue that can bring about real change.

National Conference on Citizenship
www.ncoc.net (202) 729-8038 1875 K Street NW, 5th Floor Washington, DC 20006
Promoting communities of opportunity, the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) is a dynamic, non-partisan non-profit working at the forefront of the nation’s civic life. NCoC continuously explores what shapes today’s citizenry, defines the evolving role of the individual in our democracy, and uncovers ways to motivate greater participation. Through events, research and reports, NCoC seeks new ideas and approaches for creating greater civic health and vitality throughout the United States. As part of NCoC’s commitment to building communities of opportunity nationwide, they recently produced a report that found that states with higher levels of civic engagement are more resilient in an economic downturn. The report identifies five measures of civic engagement—attending meetings, helping neighbors, registering to vote, volunteering and voting—which appear to protect against unemployment and contribute to overall economic resilience. This new research helps clarify how critical engagement is. Getting involved, attending a neighborhood meeting, or registering to vote are not just good things to do. They are essential to unlocking our own, our community’s and our nation’s potential to thrive.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
New Profit Inc.
www.newprofit.com (617) 252-3220 2 Canal Park Cambridge, MA 02141
New Profit Inc. identifies innovative leaders and their organizations and works to strengthen, connect and amplify their potential. Since 1998, we have partnered with more than 30 non-profit organizations seeking to alleviate poverty, fix our broken education systems and build healthy communities across America. To date the organizations in our portfolio have impacted more than two million children and families. Through our signature initiative, America Forward, we work to create greater opportunity for all citizens by connecting on-the-ground, replicable solutions of social innovators to policy makers looking for the most effective ways to use public and private resources. Through our annual event, the Gathering of Leaders, we bring together social entrepreneurs to catalyze the development of new ideas, relationships and resources targeted at helping communities of opportunity and solve some of the most pervasive problems facing our nation.

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Otterbein University
www.otterbein.edu (614) 890-3000 1 South Grove Street Westerville, OH 43081
Otterbein University’s commitment to enhancing economic mobility for women is evidenced by our community youth programs dedicated to helping young girls develop an awareness about the impact of their education on their futures; our campus programs to retain women in higher education by supporting their academic and psychosocial development; and our new Women’s Leadership Development Initiative that is building an innovative alliance of local women leaders committed to changing the economic landscape for women. The Women’s Leadership Development Initiative will serve as the organizing strategy for integrating both curricular and co-curricular programs designed to help women develop the skills and experiences to overcome existing barriers. In addition to formal educational programs, the initiative will create and support a network of intergenerational mentoring relationships linking individuals in various age groups with mentors who are one generation ahead of them. These groups will range from girls in the K-12 community through senior executives who are mentoring women aspiring to advance to corporate boards and CEO positions.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
ProInspire
www.proinspire.org (703) 741-0899 1305 North Taylor Street Arlington, VA 22201
ProInspire is building the next generation of nonprofit leaders by expanding the talent pipeline, developing professionals and increasing diversity. ProInspire’s flagship program, the Inspire Fellowship, recruits outstanding business professionals to spend one year working full-time in an analytical or strategic role at a leading nonprofit organization. ProInspire’s nonprofit partners are creating paths for opportunity through education and youth development, economic development and international development. Recent work by Inspire Fellows include Laura Stephenson, a former consultant at Booz Allen, who helped the Latin American Youth Center get approval for a new charter school in Washington D.C. Rashan Jibowu, another Inspire Fellow, is a former analyst at Morgan Stanley and Parthenon Capital, and helped City First Enterprises structure a community development fund that will provide $20 million of support to local communities.

Repair the World
www.weRepair.org (646) 695-2700 555 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1703 New York, NY 10018
Repair the World is leading the way in using service as a tool for social change. Founded in 2009 to make service a defining element of American Jewish life, learning and leadership, Repair the World seeks to inspire individuals and communities to give their time and effort to serve those in need by elevating the quality, quantity and capacity of effective and meaningful volunteer opportunities. According to a recent study by Repair the World, while more than 70 percent of Jewish young adults engage in some form of civic activity or volunteerism, with a majority of this work performed locally, they do so sporadically. Repair the World supports, develops and encourages authentic, regular volunteerism, enabling 4800 young adults to perform a term of service, 26,000 volunteers to serve in their communities and recording 93,000 days of service to date. Repair the World mobilizes others toward effective service and volunteering so that as a community Jews can help address the world’s most pressing issues.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Rock the Vote
www.rockthevote.com (202) 719-9910 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 640 Washington, DC 20036
Rock the Vote’s (RTV) mission is to engage and build political power for young people using music, popular culture, new technologies and grassroots organizing. RTV has registered more than five million young people, including a record shattering 2.5 million registration downloads in the 2008 election. In 2010, Rock the Vote logged nearly 300,000 voter registration downloads as part of the largest midterm election outreach in our organization’s history. This year RTV has been leading the charge toward making the electoral process more accessible to young people through a high school civics program, Democracy Class, and by rallying youth to stop unfair registration laws. Rock the Vote is preparing for its largest voter engagement campaign yet in 2012.

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Roosevelt Institute Campus Network
www.rooseveltcampusnetwork.org (212) 444-9130 570 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10022
The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, the largest student policy organization in the country, engages young people in a unique form of progressive activism that empowers them as leaders and promotes their ideas for change. Roosevelt members have presented student policies on Capitol Hill, testified before city councils, implemented legislation and worked directly in their communities. To empower its students, the Campus Network gives its 10,000 members the tools they need to identify the challenges facing their communities and to develop ideas to solve them. Known as Think Impact, our model engages young people to create positive, sustainable change fueled by innovative, community-driven student ideas. This past summer, the Campus Network Summer Academy collaborated with students from underserved communities in New York City to research and propose solutions to chronic problems facing their communities. From eliminating food deserts in public schools to expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program until age 24, the students not only thought of ways to increase access to opportunity in New York City, but also demonstrated how they could become thought leaders in their own right.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Tulane University
www.tulane.edu/empowers (504) 865-5000 6823 St. Charles Avenue New Orleans, LA 70118
In 2010, Tulane President Scott Cowen launched Tulane Empowers, enhancing the university’s efforts to encourage social innovation and develop the next generation of community-minded citizens and leaders in New Orleans—and around the world. One of the newest efforts of Tulane Empowers is the Grow Dat Youth Farms, a four-acre urban farm located in New Orleans’ City Park. Grow Dat is a typical Tulane Empowers effort in that it brings together the university and its surrounding community in a partnership that relies on the total commitment from both. Tulane architecture students will design the farm’s infrastructure while New Orleans youth will clear the land, till the soil and grow the produce. Tulane will identify low-income food distribution centers for Grow Dat produce. At the centers, youth will prepare meals using their produce. The farm aims to produce 10,000 pounds of food in its first year. At full production, 40 percent of the food will be donated to local shelters and 60 percent will be sold.

University of Southern California
http://communities.usc.edu (213) 743-5267 3551 Trousdale Parkway Los Angeles, CA 90089
The University of Southern California’s signature community outreach programs include the USC Good Neighbors Campaign wherein USC employees, alumni, and friends of the university give a single donation—or in the case of employees a percentage of their monthly income—to support local community organizations. In 2010 $1.2 million was awarded to fund 48 university-community partnership outreach grants. Other programs which demonstrate a long and trusted commitment to the community and schools surrounding the campus include the Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI), a six year, pre-college enrichment program designed to prepare and support low-income neighborhood students and their families for admission to the university and the college going experience. The program provides full financial packages minus loans to NAI scholars admitted to USC.

OPPORTUNITY NATION

Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence
www.epcae.org • (915) 747-5778 University of Texas at El Paso Education Building Room 413 El Paso, TX 79968
As the only major Texas university within 350 miles of El Paso, the University of Texas-El Paso recognized 20 years ago the critical importance of building partnerships with regional stakeholders to share responsibility for raising the aspirations and educational attainment of all young people in El Paso’s bi-national metropolitan area of 2.5 million residents. To that end, UTEP led the development of the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence to align and integrate the investments and work of all the area school districts, the community colleges, and civic and business leadership. Among the most exciting developments was the establishment in each of the six area school districts accelerated Early College High Schools that enable students to complete their high school diplomas and associate’s degrees concurrently. They can then transfer to UTEP as juniors and complete their bachelor’s degrees within two years of graduating from high school. Overall high school graduation rates have increased significantly, and high school achievement gaps between Hispanic and non-Hispanic students in the El Paso area have been greatly reduced.

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The Unreasonable Institute
www.unreasonableinstitute.org 1321 College Avenue, No.150 Boulder, CO 80302

The Unreasonable Institute is a mentorship-driven program that provides resources to for-profit enterprises creating solutions to the world’s biggest social and environmental problems. Fundamentally, the Institute helps build stronger, more financially sustainable businesses that can be scaled to impact millions of lives. Each year, the Unreasonable Institute invites 25 entrepreneurs from every corner of the globe to live under the same roof for six weeks in Boulder, Colorado. These entrepreneurs receive training and build long-term relationships with 50 worldclass mentors, ranging from the co-founder of Google, to the CTO of HP, to an entrepreneur who’s enabled over 19 million farmers to move out of poverty. They pitch to one hundred potential investors and capital sources, form relationships with at least 20 impact investment funds and foundations, and grow profitable, globally scalable ventures that can serve the needs of at least one million people.

BRIGHT SPOTS

www.opportunitynation.org

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Promoting Communities of Opportunity: A New Opportunity Index
Vanguard Leadership Group
www.vanguardleadershipgroup.com (404) 915-3518 PO Box 54124 Atlanta, GA 30308
Vanguard Leadership Group (VLG) is a leadership development organization for top students at the nation’s colleges and universities. Its curriculum identifies Nine Pillars of Dynamic Citizenship, a set of insights and competencies that are inherent to the successful African American leader of tomorrow. VLG members promote communities of opportunity by integrating the Nine Pillars into high impact projects and initiatives. Its members have collectively traveled to over 35 countries, held internships with elected officials and engaged with prestigious institutions such as the Aspen Institute, the UN World Tourism Organization, Booz Allen and the US Department of State. VLG led a successful Sudanese and Iranian divestment campaign in the city of Atlanta, and recently hosted White House officials Michael Strautmanis and Michael Blake at the Atlanta University Center. Recognized as a Top Program by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, Vanguard Leadership Group contends that America needs new talent to face the challenges of globalization and the organization is unequivocally determined to provide it.

OPPORTUNITY NATION