Sponsoring Organizations


In 2012, a group of seven national organizations dedicated to Opportunity Youth came together to create the National Council of Young Leaders in order to give a more powerful voice to the constituency they represent. This group of sponsoring organizations has steadily expanded since then.

Each organization listed below sponsors between one and three members of the National Council of Young Leaders, which is now the steering committee of Opportunity Youth United. The sponsoring organizations pay for their representatives’ travel and stipend, and work closely with them in implementing actions. They participate in strategic decisions affecting the direction of OYU.

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions is focused on addressing all the issues undermining the success of Opportunity Youth.

Sponsored Council Members: Kimberly Pham (Philadelphia, PA) and Kyle Knox (Phoenix, AZ)

City Year

City Year works to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support that students actually need, and what their schools are designed and resourced to provide. In doing so, they’re helping to increase graduation rates
across the country, and changing the lives of the students they serve.

Sponsored Council Member: Jarrett Jones (Chicago, IL)

College Advising Corps

College Advising Corps, based in Chapel Hill, NC, is a national nonprofit that works to increase the number of low-income, first-generation college, and underrepresented high school students who enter and complete higher education. They do this by training and placing recent college graduates as full-time college advisers in our nation’s high schools.

Sponsored Council Member: Gilbert Bonafé (Hartford, CT)

The Corps Network

The Corps Network provides critical leadership to the Corps movement and to our nation’s Service and Conservation Corps as they harness the power of youth and young adults to tackle some of America’s greatest challenges and transform their own lives. They have had a particular focus on conservation, providing full-time training placements for young people in environmental protection around the country. There are 135 service corps in America engaging 25,000 young people/year.

Sponsored Council Members: Philan Tree (rural Arizona) and Timothy Gunn (South Carolina)

Foster Youth in Action

Foster Youth in Action (FYA) believes in the power of the foster youth voice. They organize a grassroots network of foster youth-led groups through training, leadership opportunities, shared learning and advocacy. With 16 foster youth-driven partners in 17 states, FYA is the only national organization raising up and connecting independent, grassroots groups fighting to secure rights and opportunities that current and former foster youth deserve.

Sponsored Council Member: Pending

Gateway to College National Network

Gateway to College National Network supports communities in building sustainable pathways for disconnected youth to a high school diploma and a meaningful college credential.

Sponsored Council Member: Tekoa Hewitt (Flint, MI)

Jobs for the Future (JFF)

Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a national nonprofit partnership that works to ensure educational and economic opportunity for all. JFF develops innovative career pathways, educational resources and public policies that increase college readiness and career success, and build a more highly skilled workforce.

Sponsored Council Member: Ramean Clowney (Philadelphia, PA)

Mikva Challenge

Mikva Challenge develops youth to be informed, empowered, and active citizens and community leaders. We do this by engaging youth in action civics, an authentic and transformative learning process built on youth voice and youth

Sponsored Council Member: James Fields (Chicago, IL)

National Congress of American Indians

National Congress of American Indians, a non-profit organization, advocates for a bright future for generations to come by taking the lead to gain consensus on a constructive and promising vision for Indian Country. The organization’s policy issues and initiatives are driven by the consensus of our diverse membership, which consists of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, tribal citizens, individuals, and Native and non-Native organizations.

Sponsored Council Member: Pending

The National Guard Youth Foundation

The National Guard Youth Foundation addresses the growing dropout crisis and its impact on our nation’s youth, economy and national security. They assist adolescents who drop out of school with the opportunity to improve their
life skills, education and employability, creating the next generation skilled workforce in America. The National Guard ChalleNGe program provides a five month residential program for 15 to 18 year olds who have left high school without a diploma, plus many months of follow-up engagement. There are 40 ChalleNGe programs in America engaging 20,000 students/year.

Sponsored Council Member: Humberto Palacios (Santa Ana, CA)

Partners for Education at Berea College

Partners for Education at Berea College utilizes a place based, student focused approach to improve educational outcomes in Appalachian Kentucky.

Sponsored Council Member(s): Julie Jent (Berea, Kentucky)

The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN)

The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) is an intermediary organization dedicated to connecting systems and leveraging resources to increase the number of opportunities for youth. PYN has been working for nearly two decades with
communities to create coordinated systems which promote the attainment of academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success. We manage and support large-scale cross-sector initiatives while developing targeted programs to expand access to services for underserved young people. We work with Jobs for the Future to sponsor our Council member.

Sponsored Council Member: Ramean Clowney (Philadelphia, PA)

Public Allies

Public Allies is a national network of community-based organizations grounded in the conviction that everyone can lead. Their mission is to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it.  They place low income young leaders in non-profit year-long internships, coupled with in depth leadership training, and support them after completion in alumni activities. There are 25 Public Allies sites in America.

Sponsored Council Members: Francisco Garcia (Phoenix), Shawnice Jackson (Baltimore), Teresa Rivera (New York City)

YouthBuild USA

YouthBuild USA engages low-income opportunity youth who have left high school without a diploma in a full-time program that integrates academic studies, job training, personal counseling, leadership development, and hands-on community service building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people in their neighborhoods. There are 250 YouthBuild programs in hard-pressed urban and rural communities across America engaging 9,000 young people/year.

Sponsored Council Member(s): Jamiel L. Alexander (York, PA), Lashon Amado (Brockton, MA), Adam Strong (Appalachia, KY)

© 2018 Opportunity Youth United