Our Organization


The Forum for Youth Investment was founded in 1998 with a tagline of moving ideas to impact. Our work is carried out in the nation’s capital and in more than 35 states by the 45 staff and 15 consultants associated with our two offices in Washington, D.C., and Ypsilanti, Mich.

Our mission: Helping leaders get young people ready for life. We believe:

  • All young people can be ready by 21 – for college, work and life.
  • Every community can give young people the supports they need – from cradle to career.
  • Leaders can ignite change to make that happen – through the power of collective impact.

The Forum has deep roots as a national nonprofit, nonpartisan “action tank,” combining thought leadership on youth development, youth policy, cross-system/cross-sector partnerships and developmental youth practice with on-the-ground training, technical assistance and supports. A trusted resource for policymakers, advocates, researchers and program professionals, the Forum provides youth and adult leaders with the information, connections and tools they need to create greater opportunities and outcomes for young people. The core work of the Forum is helping leaders, organizations, partnerships and systems – at the local, state and national levels – assess, improve and align their practices and policies.

The Forum has expanded its reach over the years. We have an entrepreneurial reputation for challenging and supporting leaders to improve youth readiness; increase family, school and community supports; and increase shared accountability for progress.

Helping all young people be ready by 21 – ready for college, work and life is the vision that drives our work and knits together the technical assistance centers, networks, and projects and initiatives we have developed to help leaders change the ways they do business. The Forum is currently home to: 

Click on the full name to view a one-page overview of the center, network or project. Click on the second mention to visit the website for each center, network or project,

Two multi-faceted technical assistance centers:
  • The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality: The Weikart Center is a field leader in at-scale performance-based accountability systems for out-of-school time (OST) programs and other settings focused on positive youth development. The Weikart Center builds system- and site-level capacity for continuous improvement by focusing on three things: quality improvement system design, effective performance data and lower stakes accountability.


  • Big Picture Approach Consulting: BPA Consulting consolidates into one technical assistance center the Forum’s teaching, coaching, technical assistance, facilitation and actionable data services focused on mobilizing the work of community coalitions and partnerships.

Two national networks:


  • The Opportunity Youth Network: The OYN has brought together the country’s leading philanthropists, corporations, federal government officials, nonprofi ts and formerly disconnected youth to work together to reconnect one million opportunity youth in five years.

Four ongoing projects & initiatives:
  • SparkAction: SparkAction is the Forum’s collaborative online journalism and advocacy platform to mobilize action for and by young people. It is a neutral brand that cuts across the silos and creates a central “megaphone” to mobilize like-minded adults and youth around calls to action.

  • The Policy Alignment Initiative: The Forum’s policy staff work with federal, state and local leaders to assess and align government policies horizontally (across systems) and vertically (between levels of government from local to federal).

  • The Readiness Project: The Readiness Project seeks to find and synthesize the science of readiness into easy and compelling starter tools and sense-making materials that young people, families, and diverse community leaders can use to assess and align their current efforts toward making readiness a right for all young people.

  • Evidence-Based Policy and Practice Initiative: Through this new work, the Forum is taking all that we have learned and driving it into the next generation of governmental policy innovations designed to use evidence to improve the quality of programs throughout a system.


All of these efforts advance our mission. Each, however, has a distinct focus and target audience.