The 2015 OYIF Spring Convening

This May, The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions gathered in New Orleans, LA with Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund grantees, strategic partners, funders and guests to share the latest strategies in reconnecting opportunity youth to education and employment, and to make one big announcement.


  1. Just days before the Spring Convening, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network, discussed the importance of equity and inclusion in collective impact. It was no coincidence that at this year's Spring Convening, we wanted to focus on how equity could help solve the complex social issues our communities face and the structural causes of inequality along race, class, gender and cultural lines. We couldn't be happier with how the event turned out; the discussions and energy cultivated here are critically important to the work we all produce. Thank you so much for attending.
  2. From May 5 to May 8, the chorus of grantees and strategic partners of the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund came together from across the country to convene in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  3. Goals of the OYIF Spring Convening:
  4. Learn from the OYIF sites’ work across the five areas of the OYIF: Collaborating for Impact, Building Effective Pathways, Using Data to Guide Decisions and Assess Impact, Leveraging Funding for Innovation, and Developing Supportive Policies.
  5. Participate in site visits to local New Orleans based programs to gain a deeper understanding of place-based strategies, pathway designs, lessons, and challenges in developing and/or deepening education and employment pathways for opportunity youth.
  6. Learn from local and national employers, funders, and systems leaders through plenaries on designing employer-driven pathways; coordinating local and national funding strategies; and lessons and challenges in system leadership.
  7. Build momentum for national efforts around opportunity youth.
  8. Highlight the work of local youth leaders.
  9. We wanted to stress how important OYIF site visits were to the Spring Convening. These allowed our attendees to learn about employer engagement and workforce development, community college, as well as reconnection pathways for opportunity youth in New Orleans. Additionally we were able to gain an overall vision of opportunity youth in the region through our visits to Tulane University Earn & Learn program and Delgado Community College, New Orleans Works, and Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, home to innovative community-based organizations Café Reconcile, Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, The Net Charter School, and Youth Empowerment Project.
  10. Why NOLA:
  11. On Wednesday we joined with the Collective Impact Forum's Funder's Convening, and it culminated in an incredible keynote address that set the tone for the next 72 hours.
  12. "In America where you live is a proxy for opportunity." - Angela Glover-Blackwell
  13. The perfect lunch! Café Reconcile serves up life skills, work skills, job connections and supports for opportunity youth in New Orleans.
  14. Our community reception was hosted by the Refresh Project, an innovative fresh food hub, and catered by Liberty’s Kitchen, which provides opportunity youth with workforce and life skills training to become employed and self-sufficient.
  15. Moderated by Gina Burkhardt, President and CEO, Jobs for the Future, the Employer Engagement plenary featured local and national perspectives on strategies in designing employer-driven pathways for opportunity youth.