Center for Youth and Communities

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Community Youth Development

  • The Center is working as the evaluation and learning partner with the Skillman Foundation as the Foundation implements its “Good Neighborhoods and Good Schools Initiative.” The Initiative is designed to concentrate Foundation resources in six Detroit neighborhoods with the goal of transforming the neighborhoods into healthy, safe and supportive environments for children, youth, and their families by working directly with concerned citizens and organizations in specific neighborhoods.  Brandeis is working with the Foundation to refine the initiative plan and to develop and manage a wide-ranging evaluation strategy for this comprehensive, multi-year initiative.  As part of that role, the Center is also conducting evaluations of specific, targeted aspects of the Initiative and the Foundation’s role, including a study of the Foundation’s shift in approach from “Grant Maker” to “Change Maker.”
  • Center staff are also working with several communities to help develop comprehensive support strategies for young dropouts and youth at risk of leaving school.  As part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Multiple Pathways to Education Initiative, the Center is working with Jobs for the Future in providing strategic planning and program design assistance to a network of cities participating in the project.
  • The Center is the evaluation and learning partner with the Hyams Foundation Teen Futures Initiative (2009-2012). The initiative is designed to improve the success of young people (ages 16-22) who have dropped out of school and are not employed by increasing the number who gain their high school credential and commence a path towards higher education/career training program through increasing the quality and the quantity of programs that combine education, skill development, and employment. The Center worked with the Foundation and grantees to design the evaluation and is conducting annual  studies to test the Theory of Change and determine youth outcomes.
  • The Center was the evaluation partner for America’s Promise: The Alliance for Youth during the 18-month Communities of Promise demonstration, the nation’s largest community mobilization project to promote health and well-being of young people.  America’s Promise's logic model was developed and used as a guide to examine the context, implementation, and outcomes of the America’s Promise approach through collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data from fifteen Communities of Promise. Subsequently, as a management consultant, the Center conducted extensive research and produced reports on collaboration, replication, social movements, and community readiness, preparing a crosscutting analysis and specific recommendations.
  • Another recent project focused on community collaboratives was a retrospective case study review of community-wide initiatives in five communities.  The goal of this retrospective inquiry was to assist the Annie E. Casey Foundation to more effectively retrieve lessons about long-term impacts from its own community investments and from those others have supported, and then use those insights to influence the next generation of AEC grantmaking. The major activities for the project were the development of case studies of five major foundation youth and community initiatives aimed at identifying longer-term impacts and lessons for grantmakers from each of the initiatives. 

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