The 2014 OYIF Fall Convening

The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions gathered its Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund grantees, strategic partners, funders and guests to share emerging lessons and strategies in reconnecting opportunity youth to education and employment through collective impact.


  1. As Melody Barnes, chair of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, recently wrote, "The work to reengage 6.7 million opportunity youth through collective impact initiatives across the country started as a persistent, determined whisper for change. Today, it has become a full-throated chorus."
  2. From October 27 to October 29, the chorus of grantees and strategic partners of the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund came together from across the country to convene in Aspen, Colorado.
  3. There was excitement in the air as the attendees arrived on Sunday and Monday.
  4. But they weren't there just for the beautiful scenery. There were five goals of the Convening:
  5. 1. Learn from OYIF sites’ emerging work across the five areas of the OYIF: Collaborating for Impact, Building Effective Pathways,Using Data to Guide Decisions and Assess Impact, Leveraging Funding forInnovation, and Developing Supportive Policies.
  6. 2. Build momentum for national efforts around opportunity youth.
  7. 3. Engage local, regional and national philanthropy in the collective impact approach.
  8. 4. Highlight local youth leaders on the national stage.
  9. 5. Consider strategies for engaging employers in efforts to improve outcomes for opportunity youth.
  10. With a clear cut mission, the event kicked off on Monday with leadership meetings, and more.
  11. The Youth Leadership track attendees reunited as well, bringing their voices, ideas, and insights to the table.
  12. The opening statements from Executive Director Steve Patrick and chair Melody Barnes set the tone for the next 48 hours.
  13. The speeches were followed by a networking opportunity, where the OYIF family was able to catch up, relax, and get ready to learn and share over the next couple of days.
  14. The next morning, Melody Barnes introduced the keynote speaker, US Department of Education Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton, who inspired the crowd and shined a spotlight on innovation as the key to re-connecting opportunity youth to education opportunities.