November 16, 2016
After the 2016 presidential election, the world today might not be the world we imagined it was a little over a week ago. But our responsibility here at YPI remains the same: to help those we serve break the cycle of poverty once and for all. We thank you for being our partners in this important work, past, present, and future.
We have an even deeper commitment to our mission with the understanding that our diverse community—including many who are undocumented—needs our advocacy more than ever. We will coordinate with local leaders and stand up for the dignity and safety of our Promise Zone families as we have always done.
YPI’s programming in education, workforce training, and essential services for youth and families will continue uninterrupted, with our centers and schools open, ready to continue serving our communities. Every day before this election and every day afterward, we care for our participants by embodying the pillars of empowerment, access, and hope.
We are grateful to all of you for being committed to the same purpose of humanity, acceptance, and equal rights. As we face this uncharted future together, YPI looks forward to fighting alongside you to strengthen our communities in Los Angeles and beyond.
YPI plans to proceed under the expectation that programs to help children and families can survive and thrive under any president.
I can’t help thinking back to 2000, not only to another contentious election after eight years of a Democratic administration, but to YPI at that time, just getting started in L.A., with an annual budget under $1 million. Eight years later when George W. Bush left office, our budget had grown to $14 million, mostly driven by federal funding. There is a precedent for bipartisan support of efforts to break the cycle of poverty. YPI plans to proceed under the expectation that programs to help children and families can survive and thrive under any president. Moreover, federal grants on hand for our place-based approach to fighting poverty, fully appropriated by Congress, extend out as far as 2021, with the majority of these initiatives ending in 2019 or later.
Since 2000, YPI has built an unparalleled network of collaboration among charter and district schools, community-based agencies, and local and state government that will endure for decades as the basis for coordinated services to make a real difference in some of our most underserved neighborhoods. YPI and our partners have the resources and resolve to continue this effort in any administration.
YPI will also be relentless in pursuing the additional resources that our families desperately need, whether it’s the $63 million in pending federal grants that will be decided in the next couple months or the more than $50 million in 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding from the state that we are applying for next month. Thanks to the leadership of our state legislature, high schools in Los Angeles also just received $24.5 million in new college readiness funding.
Two key YPI programs, Promise Neighborhoods and Full-Service Community Schools, are now a permanent part of education law, regardless of who the president is, thanks to the Every Student Succeeds Act passed by a Republican congress last year. And this year the Republican-led Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions sponsored a resolution about the importance of extending the Promise Neighborhoods work (read here).
As for the Los Angeles Promise Zone, the federal designation extends through the end of 2023. Not only has the current administration ensured that there are binding commitments between the federal government and the 22 Zones nationally, but for the first time, the White House has created formal partnerships between federal agencies (15 of which have funded the L.A. Zone). This alignment and silo-busting will not only outlive President Obama in these structural ways, but it is also the career staff in federal departments who have come to believe in this better way of doing business. It is worth noting that 12 of the Promise Zones are located in states represented by a Republican Senator, and in total, 19 Republican Senators represent a Promise Zone in their home state. As well, champions like our good friend Tim Kaine now return to the U.S. Senate, with a higher profile than ever before.
Not only has the current administration ensured that there are binding commitments between the federal government and the 22 Zones nationally, but for the first time, the White House has created formal partnerships between federal agencies (15 of which have funded the L.A. Zone).
We are thankful for the leadership of Mayor Eric Garcetti and the generosity of Los Angeles and California voters. And as we look ahead, we are energized to announce that there will be a statewide measure on the ballot in November 2018 which would dedicate billions of dollars annually to fighting childhood poverty in California—the largest investment in fighting poverty in our history. This measure will fund proven solutions—early childhood education, job training, and a network of Promise Zones in communities across the state. Get involved.
If you want two minutes of something more light-hearted, please watch the highlights from our gala in October, when we honored two community champions. In addition to our gala sponsors, we want to express a big thank you to those private partners who have come in with new support just in the last month or two: California Wellness Foundation, Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Target, OneWest Bank, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Union Bank, WHH Foundation, and the Best Buy Foundation. We cannot do this work without you.
Team YPI volunteering alongside Aramark employees to assemble Thanksgiving harvest baskets for 100 families on Monday, November 14.
If you are looking for a way to express what you’re feeling right now and join the fight, all donations to YPI this month will support our FamilySource Center which serves the undocumented and supports DREAMers, or give to another great charity, volunteer, join a nonprofit board. Our youth and families need you more than ever.