In February Corporate Voices for Working Families joined with the Forum for Youth Investment and the Ready by 21 National Partners to launch Ready by 21 – an initiative that challenges business, state and community leaders to think and act differently about preparing all youth for college, work and life.

The following is an update from Donna Klein, president and founder of Corporate Voices for Working Families, that provides information about a significant planning grant Ready by 21 has received from Altria and looks at the progress that has been made thus far.

 

As you may recall, in February 2008 Corporate Voices for Working Families joined with the Forum for Youth Investment and the Ready by 21 National Partners to launch Ready by 21®.  I am writing today to let you know about the significant progress we have made to date and the next steps planned for the Ready by 21 National Partners:

·      Corporate Voices for Working Families

·      Forum for Youth Investment

·      United Way of America

·      American Association of School Administrators

·      America’s Promise Alliance

·      National Collaboration for Youth

·      National Conference of State Legislatures

·      Search Institute 

Ready by 21 challenges business, state and community leaders to think and act differently about preparing all youth for college, work and life. With thousands of young people at risk in every state, Ready by 21 has an ambitious yet doable goal: provide young people the support and opportunities necessary to beat the odds and succeed. Ready by 21 National Partners, representing national, state and local nonprofit, business, government and education leaders, are committed to providing leaders with information, resources and coaching tools to work together effectively and efficiently.  This guidance helps communities adopt a “big picture” approach to solving a fundamental problem that’s undermining the future of our young people and country. Bringing precision to the passion of state and community leaders will ensure that young people are ready by 21. 

After the Ready by 21 launch last February, the Ready by 21 National Partners came together to craft a major $1.46 million, seven-month joint proposal to develop a five-year strategic plan for combining organizational resources to help more than 2,000 leaders in more than 200 states and localities ensure that all young people have the support and opportunities they need to be Ready by 21® — ready for college, work and life.  We are very proud to report that our collective hard work paid off: Philip Morris USA, an Altria company, recently agreed to fund the proposal!

The Ready by 21 National Partners are now deeply involved in an intensive strategic planning process. Each of the partners is devoting significant staff time to shape this endeavor.  The Bridgespan Group, a premier nonprofit consulting firm, has been secured to support the planning process.

In our monthly partnership meetings to date we have discussed the fundamentals of Ready by 21’s expansion, including how each partner will be involved, whom Ready by 21 will target, and how success will be measured. Future meetings will focus on synthesizing the business and implementation plan.

I am delighted at the significant progress the Partnership has achieved thus far.  I am excited by the scale and scope of the work we are preparing to undertake.  Through Ready by 21 we will be helping local leaders throughout the private and public sectors “bring precision to their passion.”  Through this planning process, we are practicing what we preach: we are bringing precision to our own passion.