Media Advisory: National Launch of Ready by 21 Initiative: Changing the Odds for Children and Youth

Washington DC -- On February 27th, Former Congressman Dick Gephardt, Former Governor Tom Ridge and United Way of America President Brian Gallagher will join Forum for Youth Investment co-founders Karen Pittman and Merita Irby to kick-off the national phase of the Forum’s Ready by 21™ Challenge.   The Ready by 21™ Challenge calls on states and communities to change the odds for children and youth by changing the way they do business.  More than two dozen states and communities across the country have already taken on the challenge and seen immediate results from their efforts to bring Big Picture thinking into their work.  The Forum will unveil its plans to move this challenge out to leaders across the country through its partnerships with the national organizations that represent business, education, government, non-profit child and youth serving organizations, and community leaders.

National partners include: United Way of America, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Collaboration for Youth (National Assembly) and America’s Promise.

Research shows that not enough young people are ready by age 21 — ready for college, work and life. A critical minority of young people are unprepared for the challenges of young adulthood. Not only are the challenges facing young people increasing, but the skills, competencies and credentials required to compete in the 21st century are rising as well. The Ready by 21™ Big Picture Approach helps leaders – from young people to parents, program directors to policy makers – bring precision to their passion, ensuring that all young people are ready by 21 – ready for college, work and life.

What: Press conference to announce the national launch of the Ready by 21 Initiative. 
Note: Reporters are invited to observe a panel discussion following the press conference and learn more from the organizations’ executives and directors about the Ready by 21™ Challenge and the national partners’ commitments to the Challenge.

When: February 27, 2008, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (panel discussion follows from 11:00 -12:00)

Where: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC
Polaris A, B, C

Who: 
Press Conference:  10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

  • Former Congressman Dick Gephardt
  • Former Governor Tom Ridge
  • Karen Pittman, Co-Founder, Forum for Youth Investment
  • Brian Gallagher, President, United Way of America
  • Eric Polk, Youth Activist, Nashville, TN -- Recipient of the first Ready by 21 Changing the Odds Award

Panel Discussion: 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

  • Merita Irby, Co-Founder, Forum for Youth Investment
  • Marlo Nash, Vice President, National Initiatives, Community Impact Leadership, United Way of America
  • Donna Klein, Founder, President and CEO, Corporate Voices for Working Families
  • Jack Tweedie, Group Director, Children & Families Program, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Paul Houston, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators
  • Irv Katz, President and CEO, National Collaboration for Youth (National Assembly)
  • Kris Minor, Senior Vice President, Partnerships and Programs, America’s Promise

ABOUT FORUM FOR YOUTH INVESTMENT
The Forum for Youth Investment is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21™: ready for college, work and life.  This goal requires that young people have the supports, opportunities and services needed in the first two decades of life so that they are on track and ready to learn, work, thrive, connect and contribute.  The Forum provides youth and adult leaders with the information, technical assistance, training, network support and partnership opportunities needed to increase the quality and quantity of youth investment and youth involvement.

For more information about the Forum for Youth Investment, visit http://www.forumfyi.org/

Publishing Date: 
February 15, 2008