Three OYF Communities Receive Grant Funding


The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions is pleased to announce that three communities have been selected to receive Systems Improvement grants as a part of our Data for Impact project.

This marks the launch of the next phase of our data capacity improvement effort within the Opportunity Youth Forum (OYF). The Data for Impact project will dramatically improve how the OYF network supports opportunity youth, including a focus on disaggregating data to reveal inequities, thus allowing OYF communities to achieve better outcomes for more opportunity youth.

Each of these communities will receive up to $800,000 over a four-year period thanks to an investment from Ballmer Group Philanthropy, which has invested in building data capacity for the broader Opportunity Youth Forum network for several years now, with an overall investment to the OYF network totaling $3.2 million.

As a national network at scale, this support enables us to continue our commitment to quality and to metric impact by working with a handful of community partners to build out dramatically improved data capacity at both the community and partner level. The communities receiving Systems Improvement grants are:

  • The Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative, which will engage their largest institutional partners, Boston Public Schools and Bunker Hill Community College, in a data capacity and analysis project to provide system-level and continuous improvement data to reduce high school and postsecondary disconnection rates.
  • The Philadelphia Youth Network, Inc., on behalf of Project U-Turn, will work with partners to expand its data tracking and reporting capacity to accelerate citywide efforts to reduce Philadelphia’s community disconnection rate by 20 percent over the next four years.
  • The Community Center for Education Results (Seattle/South King County, Washington) through their collaborative, the Road Map Project, will support the development of data-driven continuous improvement capacity within high school reengagement programs in order to improve student outcomes and close gaps in their opportunity youth work.

The Data for Impact – Systems Improvement grant has two primary goals: increasing collaborative data capacity, especially the utilization of data to drive equity and improvement based on one or more of the Data Use Framework elements (to learn about the Data Use Framework, please refer to page two in this report) and significantly improve at least one youth-level opportunity youth outcome in alignment with the OYF Common Measures (to learn more about the OYF Common Measures, refer to page one in this report).

The Forum for Community Solutions is committed to improving our partner communities’ capacity to access and analyze data, and to effectively use data to better understand opportunity youth and their needs, and to improve opportunity youth outcomes while driving improvement, accountability, quality and sustainability.

In 2020, we will also be establishing data capacity-building strategies to support all OYF members to set goals for improvement of OY outcomes. Community goals can foster transparency and accountability and aid in making strategic programmatic changes to improve and allow OY outcomes to be tracked at the community and national levels.

Our data use project was launched in fall 2018 by a $1 million investment from Ballmer Group Philanthropy. Phase one of this work, known as Equity Counts, worked in partnership with Equal Measure (our OYF technical assistance and evaluation partner) and 17 of the OYF network communities to establish a common approach to measuring OY across the network and supported data capacity assessment and planning.

To learn more about both phases of our data use initiative, including a detailed look at the Data for Impact projects at the three sites, and developments in the coming months, please visit our webpage on this project.