United Way Capital Area, Ready By 21 Coalition receive national support to launch youth programs

October 28, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
October 28, 2007 - (Austin, TX) - United Way Capital Area announced today that it has been selected as a Ready By 21 Quality Counts site. The Ready By 21 Quality Counts Initiative—a national organization that aims to have youth prepared for life and work by the age of 21—awarded United Way Capital Area the designation as one of 12 communities to receive funding, consultation, and tools to launch a three-year effort to improve the quality and reach of youth programs.

"This is a big deal. We know we can make an impact in the lives of the youth in Austin," said Todd Moore, who oversees United Way's efforts to serve and support youth. "Receiving this designation means not only will we have a wealth of resources to employ in the community, but it means we can target programs and services that really work, that meet youth where they are, that quite simply help produce a generation of educated, happy, and successful adults."

The Initiative will provide United Way Capital Area with a bold challenge, an infusion of national and local momentum, an opportunity to apply for up to $100,000 in pass-through funding, and an accompanying suite of tools and technical assistance valued at up to $150,000. These tools will allow United Way to map program availability, assess program quality, document workforce characteristics and supports, and identify public and private resources.

Communities across the country are committed to ensuring that all youth are Ready by 21 - ready for college, work and life. In many places, this commitment has translated into an increased focus on building broader supports for youth, in school and out. However, according to Karen Pittman, executive director of the Forum for Youth Investment that oversees the Initiative, "changing the quality of young people's daily experiences requires that we engage the programs where young people spend their time."

The Initiative selected Austin as a Quality Counts site because of United Way's expressed commitment to providing children and youth with the supports they need to live healthy, happy, and successful lives; and because our community is well-suited for taking on such a targeted, innovative, bold approach to improving the quality of these services.

"We are extremely excited to begin work with United Way Capital Area," said Karen Pittman, executive director of the Forum for Youth Investment.

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About United Way Capital Area
United Way Capital Area is working to make an impact. By focusing on narrowing the "opportunity gap" in Central Texas—between those who are falling behind and those who are getting ahead—United Way aims to move the needle on critical social issues. Quite simply, United Way Capital Area (UWCA) wants engage every person in Central Texas, and help ensure that everyone has the same chance for success and happiness. After listening to years of community feedback and expertise, United Way has identified three Focus Areas that guide its work, funding, and collaborations. They are: Education, Community Health, and Financial Stability.

UWCA manages a number of programs, in addition to its role as fundraising organization for local nonprofit agencies. They include the premier volunteer center in the community, Hands On Central Texas; a leading collaboration focused on early childhood services, Success By 6; and the dialing code that helps link thousands of people to social services and programs every day, 2-1-1.


About Ready By 21
The Ready by 21 Coalition of Austin/Travis County is a collaborative group of youth service providers, educators, government agency representatives, and teen advisors who are concerned about the youth in our community, especially youth who face challenges to achieving self-sufficiency. Youth succeeding in school, participating in productive activities, and avoiding criminal behavior and health risks saves tax money in the long run, and contributes to community well-being.
For more information about the Ready by 21 Quality Counts Initiative, contact Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom at the Forum for Youth Investment at 202-207-3333 or alicia@forumfyi.org.