JUST IN TIME FOR FOSTER YOUTH: Pathways to Financial Power

Organization’s overall annual budget: $214,000 (for this new program)

Requested dollar amount for this grant: $40,000

Suggested dollar amount for this grant: $25,000

Description of how the funds will be used: Out of 850 youth served annually by Just in Time, “Pathways to Financial Power” accepts 55-65 youth into each new cohort. These youth are joining 30-40 individuals from the previous group, totaling approximately100 youth at any given time served in this program.

Description of Project/Program: The challenges facing young people leaving foster care are daunting:

• 60% of foster youth emancipate into poverty, earning incomes at or below $6,000 per/yr.

• Within 18 months of emancipation, 40-50% become homeless

• 50% experience high rates of unemployment within five years

• Only 3-6% graduate from college

• 70% of the inmates in our state penitentiary are former foster youth Impact Giving has invested in JIT’s Basic Needs services so transitioning foster youth in San Diego have things basic to survival: access to food, housing and transportation.

Thanks in large part to IG, hundreds of former foster youth did not become casualties of foster care. Building on that foundation, JIT conducted research on what is needed beyond survival mode to achieve the Impact that is necessary for children to do more than survive: to thrive as productive, purpose-driven young adults. From this research, “Pathways to Financial Power” emerged, a multi-year comprehensive approach mirroring what healthy families provides their children.

Describe the Organization or Project as it pertains to the following Impact Giving Grant Standards: High Impact, Direct Benefit, Education, Sustainability, Community Building, Innovative, Measurable:

Impact/Benefits/Education/Community Building/Innovative: Yearly, with backing from community volunteers and organizations, 65-100 youth participants are given essential opportunities and connections to identify specific goals, overcome obstacles, and do what is needed to move toward financial security. In summer, participants attend workshops led by Ultimate Staffing and Manpower Inc. where they cultivate relevant, professional resumes and interview skills. In September, the Pathways Conference officially launches their journey with successful local professionals and peers leading inspirational presentations and workshops on topics as “Your Personal Brand.” Inspiration and information is combined with actual employer interviews that are selected specifically to suit skills and interests of the youth. Professional attire guidance and stipends are given, as well as a LinkedIn profile, professional photo, and a specific plan for success. Most important, vital connections are made with volunteer advisors who play a critical support role in implementing their plans in the months to come. Post-conference is where the real work begins. This includes participation in other JIT services with specific intentions of enhancing progress toward one’s goal, i.e., Career Horizon and Bridges to Success (gaining confidence that comes from powerful relationships in an environment of success), Financial Fitness (learning successful money management and a savings match toward a qualified asset), Changing Lanes (obtaining a driver’s license and reliable transportation), and Healthy Practices (addressing presenting issues from a traumatic childhood to improve one’s physical fitness). “Pathways” is an exploration of all avenues that assist participants to arrive at their desired destination. Isn’t that what a healthy family does for its children, to meet their unique and diverse needs? Sustainability: This is the second full year of this new program; however, JIT has successfully operated since 2003.

Measurability: Pathways’ impact is measured with both quantitative and qualitative data and evaluated in two ways: observable outcomes, and lasting impact toward our ultimate goal: personal empowerment. To that end, JIT staff tracks quantitative outcomes as: • Effective resumes, job interview skills and elevator speech • Creation of a budget with incremental savings • Development of a support network • Success in obtaining a job at a living wage We also track qualitative impact regarding: • Confidence and investment in their success • Awareness and utilization of personal strengths • Involvement in supportive communities • Effective advocacy for self and others

Organization’s Mission Statement: Just in Time for Foster Youth engages a caring community to help transitioning foster youth achieve self-sufficiency and well-being.