Urban Alliance awarded $160,000 Citi Foundation/Prosperity Now grant to prepare underserved youth for economic success in Chicago, Baltimore

WASHINGTON, D.C.The Citi Foundation, in partnership with Prosperity Now, awarded youth workforce development nonprofit Urban Alliance a $160,000 grant as part of its inaugural Pathways to Progress Youth Financial Capability Fund, an initiative to support young people on their path toward economic independence. Urban Alliance is one of only five organizations selected for this award.

The Citi Foundation grant will help Urban Alliance to enhance and update the financial capability training component of its flagship High School Internship Program in two regions, Chicago and Baltimore, starting in January 2018. The program provides economically-disadvantaged high school seniors with paid, 10-month internships, professional development and life skills training, one-on-one mentoring, and intensive case management both during and after the program to prepare students for a life of economic self-sufficiency. This program’s unique structure allows students to immediately apply the financial capability skills they learn to the real world, as they work to budget and save their internship paychecks.

“At Urban Alliance, we provide our young people with the skills, knowledge, networks, and experience needed to succeed in adulthood,” said Eshauna Smith, CEO of Urban Alliance. “Financial capability is an essential skill in today’s economy, and this grant will help us to better prepare our students for lifelong economic success.”

Prosperity Now will provide technical assistance to all awardees, as well as convene a community of learning for organizations to share best practices in financial capability education. The Youth Financial Capability Fund is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, which supports organizations around the world that are helping empower young people and connect them to the opportunities, knowledge, and skills needed to succeed in a competitive, 21st century job market.

“The chance to earn a first paycheck is also the perfect opportunity to learn key money-management lessons that can set young people up for financial success down the road,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation. “Local NGO partners are on the forefront of preparing young people for the world of work. We are proud to support these innovative community changemakers through the Pathways to Progress Youth Financial Capability Fund.”

“For years, we’ve found that financial capability services that meet people where they are can be transformational,” said Andrea Levere, President of Prosperity Now. “But more and more, we’re finding that this is especially true when it comes to our young people. We are so thrilled to work with Urban Alliance as they meet young people where they are with the knowledge, skills and services they need to look forward to a lifetime of financial security.”

Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1996, Urban Alliance has since expanded to Baltimore, Chicago, and most recently, Northern Virginia. To date, Urban Alliance has placed nearly 4,000 students in paid internships, and served another nearly 18,000 through job skills training. This summer, Urban Alliance also released the results of a six-year, randomized controlled trial showing that completing the High School Internship Program boosted the likelihood of young men – young black men in particular – attending college by 23 percentage points and of middle-tier students (2.0 – 3.0 average GPA) enrolling in a 4-year college by 18 percentage points, and resulted in greater comfort with and retention of soft skills, especially among young men.