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Ready Partners: October 6, 2011

Ready Partner
October 6, 2011

This issue of Ready Partners celebrates the life of Peter Benson, looks at how America's Promise Grad Nation is growing and what United Way is doing to help OST Programs.

The Forum for Youth Investment Ready Partners
This e-newsletter from the Forum for Youth Investment shares the great work, tools and resources of our committed Ready by 21® National Partners and allies to a wider audience of leaders around the country.
Peter Benson Mourned
The youth development community is grieving the loss of Search Institute CEO Peter Benson, who passed away this week after a 12-month battle with colon cancer. He was 65.
Peter joined Search Institute in 1978 as a research scientist and took the helm in 1985. He was best known for developing the framework of the "40 developmental assets" as building blocks of healthy youth development. "Peter and I met almost 30 years ago, when there were only 30 assets," said Karen Pittman, CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment. "His vision not only for young people, but for the people who work with young people and the people who support them, was addictive. "
"I'm often introduced as the 'grandmother of youth development.' If I'm the grandmother, Peter is the grandfather. I really can't imagine finishing this journey without him."
SparkAction provides a full write-up about Peter's work. Search created a memorial page.
America's Promise Launches Grad Nation Communities
America's Promise Alliance is drafting more communities into its campaign to boost high school graduation.
The Alliance recently launched Grad Nation Communities, part of the Grad Nation Campaign, which is a 10-year initiative to mobilize all Americans to take action to end the high school dropout crisis and better prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. 
The Alliance invites communities to join this national network of cities and towns that will work to improve high school graduation rates by focusing on the local schools that are most in need of improvement. Grad Nation Communities work toward achieving the Grad Nation Campaign goal of raising the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent and helping the United States regain its standing as first in the world in college completion.
Grad Nation Communities include Charleston, S.C.; Detroit, Mich.; Durham, N.C.; Houston, Texas; Jackson, Miss.; Kinston, N.C.; Long Island City/Astoria, N.Y.; Louisville, Ky.; Mississippi Gulf Coast; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans, La.; Oakland, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C.
To learn more about the supports and services provided to Grad Nation Communities and to complete the Grad Nation Communities online commitment form, visit the website.
United Way Worldwide Helps Improve OST Programs
Local United Ways are sharing experiences in an effort to improve Out-of-School Time (OST) programs in their communities.
Over the past three years, with funding from jcpenney, United Way Worldwide has awarded OST Community Pilot Grants to 10 local United Ways. The grants were designed to build the leadership capacity of those United Ways to work in partnership with community stakeholders to ensure that OST programs support youth success and improve high school graduation rates.

Last month United Way Worldwide convened this year's grantees (United Ways from Tulare County, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Seneca County, N.Y.; the Boston metro area; and Tampa Bay, Fla.) to provide technical support and share best practices. Participants focused on such issues as strengthening program quality, engaging key stakeholders (e.g. educators, youth and parents), building strong partnerships with school-districts, collecting and analyzing data, and developing focused strategies to ensure positive outcomes for program participants.

In 2012, UWW will develop an OST toolkit, produce an issue brief highlighting the OST work of United Ways and convene a national town hall meeting to increase visibility for this issue. To learn more about the OST work at United Way Worldwide, contact Cortney Harris, Ready by 21 program manager, at 703-826-7112, ext. 373.
National Summit to Address Economic Opportunity
Leaders from around the country will convene in New York on Nov. 3-4 to promote the concept of opportunity for all Americans. The event at Columbia University will be hosted by Opportunity Nation - a national coalition of nonprofits, foundations, educators, and business and political leaders working to get opportunity, social mobility and "access to the American Dream" on the national, state and community agendas. The event is cosponsored by AARP, AARP Foundation, Ford Foundation, Time and United Way Worldwide.
Opportunity Nation will offer solutions and press the 2012 presidential candidates to include creating opportunity as an issue in their campaigns. Leaders from several Ready by 21 National Partners will participate in a series of action-oriented dialogues.
Find out more here.
Ready by 21  

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


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