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National Council Launched to Support Ready by 21

Leaders from across sectors will champion strategies to get all youth ready for college, work and life.

Leaders who implement Ready by 21® strategies in states, communities and programs around the country just got a dynamic new team to champion the cause: The Ready by 21 Leadership Council.
Information Update
April 11, 2012

The Leadership Council – composed of educators, policymakers, service providers, nonprofit executives and young people – will urge leaders around the country to improve youth outcomes through “collective impact”: working together across sectors to fundamentally change supports and opportunities for all young people from birth to career.

The 10 members, invited to serve on the council by the Forum for Youth Investment, will appear before leadership and community groups nationwide to explain what they’ve achieved through Ready by 21 strategies and principles.

Tom Ridge

The council is co-chaired by several distinguished national and local figures: Former U.S. House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt; former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge; Ronnie Steine, councilman at large for Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn.; and Dr. N. Jean Walker, vice president for education for the United Way of Metro Atlanta.

“These impressive leaders have dedicated themselves to improving the odds for young people in their communities and states,” said Forum CEO Karen Pittman. “Now they will use that passion to help leaders in other communities fundamentally change how they provide services and supports to all young people.”

Steine, for example, co-chaired Nashville’s process to develop a Child and Youth Master Plan, while Walker leads a diverse coalition of organizations to improve servcies for Atlanta’s youth.

Such work has impressed Gephardt. “If you can bring together many people and groups that are working to move young people in the right direction, then you’ve got something that really works – not just in theory, but in practice,” Gephardt said.

Richard Gephardt

“By establishing standards for leaders to meet and solutions to meet them,” Ridge said, “Ready by 21 gives leaders what they need to make a measurable difference in the lives of youth.”

The Ready by 21 Leadership Council will be introduced at the Ready by 21 National Meeting on April 17-19 in Nashville. The Leadership Council members, who serve on a volunteer basis, are:

Tim Garvin – President and CEO, United Way of Central Massachusetts; Chair, Council of Massachusetts United Ways

Richard Gephardt – President and CEO, Gephardt Group Government Affairs; former majority leader, U.S. House of Representatives

Suzette L. Harvey – Executive Director, Prime Time Palm Beach County

Cyndee Odom – Director, Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection, Florida

Polly Lusk Page – Executive Director, Northern Kentucky Education Council

Tom Ridge – President and CEO, Ridge Global; former secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; former governor, Pennsylvania

Antonio Dominguez – Student, University of California-Davis; former board president, Georgetown Divide Ready by 21 Inc.

Ronnie Steine Metro Councilman at Large, Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn.

N. Jean Walker Vice President/Education, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta

Earl Watkins – Conservator, Indianola (Miss.) School District; former superintendent, Jackson Public School

Ready by 21 is a set of innovative strategies developed by the Forum for Youth Investment that helps communities and states improve services, supports and opportunities so that all youth will be ready for college, work and life.

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