Fighting Poverty for More Than 30 Years
We have been a leader in education and community empowerment over the past three decades.
The Youth Policy Institute (YPI) has been a leader in education and community empowerment over the past three decades. Originally part of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, Kennedy’s lifelong friend, David L. Hackett founded YPI and developed it into a national nonprofit organization targeting anti-poverty and youth related issues. Under Hackett’s leadership, YPI created the first national anti-poverty program based on a community action approach, in which local organizations could operate federally funded programs with community input. YPI also published cutting edge research in youth and education policy, including a highly regarded national newsletter, and trained several generations of public policy leaders.
INCORPORATION AND HOPE VI
Hackett incorporated YPI as a nonprofit in 1983, which signaled YPI’s shift to national planning and community development consulting. Hope VI, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that targeted public housing projects for revitalization, became a focus of YPI efforts. From 1995-2000, YPI partnered with 13 Hope VI programs across the country and solidified its reputation as a leading advocate for low-income communities. Among YPI’s numerous highlights were a series of technology and workforce grants that implemented technology, education and workforce programs in San Francisco, Chicago, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Albuquerque and Washington, D.C. YPI also partnered on a $5 million grant in 1999 for Welfare-to-Work, which placed AmeriCorps VISTA members in seven cities, including Los Angeles.
SLINGERLAND APPOINTED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Upon Hackett’s retirement in 1996, Dixon Slingerland became Executive Director and moved YPI to Los Angeles. YPI under his leadership increasingly focused on providing direct education and human need services for low income families and communities. Slingerland introduced YPI’s trademark approach of place-based initiatives in target communities that provide an array of education, training, and technology services in partnership with families and other public and private organizations.
FULL SERVICE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS IN LOS ANGELES
Since the 1990’s, YPI has successfully blended multiple funding streams and partnerships to saturate Los Angeles communities with critically needed services. YPI adopted Pacoima as its first hub in Los Angeles and began implementing this place based model in a neighborhood corridor that focused efforts on Pacoima Elementary School (later Pacoima Charter School) and the San Fernando Gardens (the only public housing project in the San Fernando Valley).
Services included early childhood education (Even Start and preschool services), parenting services, college preparation, and computer technology (the Family Technology Project, a Neighborhood Network Center, and dozens of Public Computer Centers). Other resources included a Full Service Community School program that unified multiple community services at each school, as well as physical education and nutrition services. YPI worked with families to provide financial literacy, case management and support with basic needs, as well as job training in high demand fields such as Health Careers. YPI provided summer youth employment and a YouthSource Center dedicated to high school graduation, postsecondary enrollment, and career preparation. YPI partnered with multiple Los Angeles Unified School District and charter schools to operate afterschool and supplemental educational tutoring services using innovative models such as AmeriCorps tutors.
In 2003 and 2005, YPI expanded these transformative efforts by opening two charter middle schools, first in Pacoima with Bert Corona Charter School, and then in Pico Union with Monsenor Oscar Romero Charter School. More recently, YPI began duplicating this place-based effort in other high need communities. Pico Union saw not only the opening of the charter middle school, but the implementation of a second Full Service Community Schools program. In Hollywood, additional efforts included the opening of the City of Los Angeles funded FamilySource Center in 2010.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education validated these efforts by awarding YPI one of only 21 Promise Neighborhoods planning grants. Promise Neighborhoods is President Barack Obama’s signature education and anti-poverty initiative, and the Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood led by YPI draws upon the extensive experience described above. A 18-month needs community assessment laid the framework for the $30 million Promise Neighborhoods implementation award YPI received in 2012. This targets Pacoima and Hollywood, and is one of only seven implementation grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Education in 2012. YPI had the highest ranking proposal in the nation and is using this funding with matched support from more than 60 public and private partners to completely transform Pacoima and Hollywood schools and communities into vibrant centers of excellence and opportunity.
Today, YPI is the only non-profit in the country to receive all three signature White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative grants under President Obama: Promise Neighborhood, Choice Neighborhood, and Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation. In 2014, we became the lead implementation partner for the Los Angeles Promise Zone initiative (one of the first five in the nation) targeting high-poverty neighborhoods in East Hollywood, Pico-Union, and Koreatown. YPI is also the only agency in Los Angeles operating city-funded YouthSource, FamilySource, and WorkSource Centers.
YPI currently operates a $41 million budget and employs more than 1,200 staff. YPI now serves more than 100,000 youth and adults annually at a total of 125 program sites throughout high need Los Angeles neighborhoods. In addition to transforming 19 neighborhood schools in the LAPN, our anchor sites—the Hollywood FamilySource Center and the YPI Center in Pacoima—serve thousands of students and families every year. In April 2015, YPI was selected as a recipient of the Mayor’s National Service Award, and was also named as the chief implementation partner for the Operation AmeriCorps funding awarded to the City of Los Angeles by the Corporation for National and Community Service. YPI has also received U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s Excellence in Education Award; we have also been recognized by Cisco with their Growing with Technology Award, and selected by the National Council of La Raza as their 2011 Affiliate of the Year for the California region.