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Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. Selected as Grant Recipient of Youth Opportunity Fund to Connect Low-Income Youth in St. Louis to Career Opportunities


The new $3 million Fund, led by the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance, supports innovative city programs that prepare low-income youth for future success


ST. LOUIS (August 26, 2015) –The Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance today announced that the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has been selected as a recipient of the Youth Opportunity Fund, a $3 million initiative to support city-level, innovative and scalable programs connecting youth to opportunities that increase their employability and prepare them for lifelong success.


The Youth Opportunity Fund is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, designed to support direct-service programs that empower urban youth, ages 16 to 24. A total of 12 grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in 10 of the largest U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.



The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. will receive a one-year grant totaling $250,000 to work in collaboration with the City/County Workforce Board and Claim Academy Tech boot-camp along with higher educational partners to provide 250 youth with 21st century IT skills training and credentialing that can lead to long-term employment.



“The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis runs innovative, proven programs that connect young adults to jobs in urban centers,” said Michael McMillan, President and CEO of the Urban League. “Working in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Citi Foundation, we will provide IT skills training that will better prepare more low-income youth in St. Louis creating pathways to academic and career success.”



“The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has long been a provider of outstanding programs that create opportunity within our community,” said Michael K. Holmes, Executive Director of the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE).  “I look forward to working with them, America’s Promise Alliance and the Citi Foundation to connect young adults to good jobs and promising careers. To help accomplish this, SLATE and the local Workforce Development Board will commit On-the-Job Training and work experience funds specifically to help participants gain access to high-growth IT fields.”


“We are pleased to partner with Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, America’s Promise Alliance and the Citi Foundation to help many low-income young people in our community train for and find good jobs and careers,” said Daryl Cothran, Director of Workforce Development of St. Louis County. “We’re eager to work together to help more young adults build a stronger foundation for academic and career success.”


“Increasing the number of people trained to work in the tech industry will boost the St. Louis economy, now and in the future,” said Ola Ayeni, President & Founder of Claim Academy. “We are eager to work with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis – with support from America’s Promise Alliance and the Citi Foundation – to develop homegrown talent, improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens, and help strengthen our communities and our city.”


The Fund supports programs that address youth unemployment through partnerships with municipal governments and collaborations across industries that are core to the economies of the Pathways to Progress cities, including IT, tech, healthcare, the service industry and environmental sustainability. Grantees will collaborate and share best practices on the most effective ways to expand and connect youth to economic opportunity in their communities.


“The future competitiveness of America’s cities hinges on the positive economic outcomes of our young people,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “We launched the Youth Opportunity Fund to support the innovative work of community partners who are helping low-income youth create the on-ramps that will lead towards career success.”


“We are dealing with the mixed reality of our nation’s high school graduation numbers increasing at unprecedented rates, while an estimated 5.6 million young people are not in school or employed,” said John Gomperts, president & CEO of America’s Promise. “The dozen Youth Opportunity Fund grantees are vital to connecting thousands of young people to opportunities that boost their ability to compete in today’s economy.”


In its first year, nearly 25,000 young people have been impacted by the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, a three-year, $50 million commitment to give 100,000 low-income youth in the U.S. the opportunity to develop the workplace skills and leadership experience necessary to compete in a 21st century economy. The initiative includes national organizations such as the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Points of Light, AmeriCorps, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, iMentor and the Cities for Financial Empowerment.
To learn more about the Youth Opportunity Fund and see a full list of grantees visit:






About the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc.


The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc.  is a social service and advocacy organization that works to fulfill its mission of Empowering Communities and Changing Lives. Programs are offered in the areas of Economic Empowerment, Meeting Families Basic Needs, Educational Quality and Equality and Civic Engagement and Social Justice.


About America’s Promise Alliance

America’s Promise Alliance leads an alliance of organizations, communities and individuals dedicated to making the promise of America real for every child. As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce. For more information, visit


About the Citi Foundation 

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit



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