Ready by 21® National Partners

The Ready by 21 national partners are an unprecedented coalition of prominent national organizations whose members touch the lives of more than 100 million children and youth across the country. Created in 2008, the partnership offers leaders tools and supports to change the way they do business together, so that more young people are ready for college, work and life.

The Forum for Youth Investment is the founder and managing partner of Ready by 21. It takes primary responsibility for the development and coordination of Ready by 21 national partnership.

United Way Worldwide is the signature partner of Ready by 21. It has called on all local United Ways to engage community stakeholders in creating data-driven strategies that improve outcomes for our children and youth.

Our mobilization partners represent the education, government, nonprofit, business and community philanthropy sectors—and have pledged not only to work with the Forum for Youth Investment but to work with each other:

Our technical partners have longstanding experience and offer on-the-ground tools and incentives to help leaders improve the lives of children and youth in their communities. They are among the most recognized and respected child- and youth-focused technical assistance organizations in the nation:

Together, these partners have committed to recruit other national organizations into the partnership, engaging all of the key stakeholder groups that need to be involved at the state and the local level. They have also made the commitment to bring their expertise, perspectives and clout into the places where the Ready by 21 Challenge currently has traction.

The Forum for Youth Investment

The Forum is a nonprofit, nonpartisan "action tank" dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21: ready for college, work and life. Informed by rigorous research and practical experience, the Forum forges innovative ideas, strategies and partners to strengthen solutions for young people and those who care about them. A trusted resource for policy makers, 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.

Learn more about the Forum.

United Way Worldwide (UWW)

United Way is a ubiquitous community resource with over 1,300 local United Ways that serve more than 90 percent of the country and raise and reinvest more than $1 billion annually to improve child and youth outcomes. In 2007, United Way Worldwide announced a commitment to expand on its early childhood development national initiatives in response to community requests for ensuring better outcomes for older youth. United Way Worldwide is working with the Forum to build and implement a complete set of tools, resources and technical assistance that supports children and youth from birth through young adulthood. In 2008, UWW worked with the Forum to create an expanded framework, pilot the use of the Ready by 21 framework and tools in selected places, and provide learning opportunities for all interested local United Ways and community partners.

Learn more about United Way.

Mobilization Partners

AASA (the school administrators association)

AASA is the professional organization for more than 13,000 education leaders. AASA has a history of championing efforts to address non-academic issues that directly affect student learning. In 2006, funding from Philip Morris U.S.A. Youth Smoking Prevention allowed AASA to work with the Forum to bring more focus and intentionality to these efforts. In 2007, the Forum and AASA co-planned a day-long workshop on expanding learning opportunities for 30 superintendents that laid the groundwork for the 2008 AASA strategies agenda.

Learn more about AASA.

America's Promise Alliance

America's Promise Alliance is a cross-sector partnership of 400+ corporations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and advocacy groups that are passionate about improving lives and changing outcomes for children. Founded in 1997 with General Colin Powell as Chairman and chaired today by Alma Powell, America's Promise Alliance wants to ensure that all young people graduate from high school ready for college, work and life. Their work involves raising awareness, encouraging action and engaging in advocacy to provide children the key supports they call the Five Promises: Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, An Effective Education and Opportunities to Help Others.

Learn more about America's Promise Alliance

Corporate Voices for Working Families (CVWF)

Corporate Voices is the leading national business membership organization representing the private sector voice in public policy issues relating to working families. Collectively, their 55 partner companies have annual net revenues of over $1 trillion and employ 4 million individuals throughout all 50 states. CVWF has worked with the Forum over the past three years to expand its commitment to children and youth from early childhood to workforce entry. At the end of 2007, the Corporate Voices board voted to consolidate the organization’s child and youth focused work under a workforce readiness umbrella.


Learn more about Corporate Voices.

National Collaboration for Youth (NCY)

National Collaboration for Youth represents more than 50 national, non-profit youth development organizations that collectively serve more than 40 million young people and have a physical presence in virtually every community in the country. In February 2007, the National Assembly (the parent organization of NCY) made a bold commitment to collectively generate unique knowledge about the youth development sector and exercise leadership on behalf of those they serve. NCY stepped up to take the lead. In 2008, NCY and the Forum formed a strategic alliance to use Ready by 21 as the basis for the development of NCY’s member knowledge and leadership work.

Learn more about National Collaboration for Youth.

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is the leading bi-partisan organization supporting state legislators and legislative staff in all 50 states. NCSL’s members rely on its program staff to get information on a range of legislative and policy issues. The volume, range and fragmentation of concerns related to youth, however, are particularly frustrating to legislators. In 2005, NCSL, the Forum and the National Governors Association addressed this problem by convening state teams with representatives from the executive office and the legislature. In 2007, NCSL began work with the Forum to explore legislative options for integrating youth engagement into policy.

Learn more about NCSL.

Search Institute

Search Institute generates, synthesizes, and communicates new knowledge; convenes organizational and community leaders; and works with state and national organizations to support the healthy development of children and adolescents. This includes conducting applied research and evaluation, managing a full line catalog of products, publications and tools, providing a series of trainings, and providing an array of surveys to help leaders and communities better understand the developmental needs and strengths of youth. They are engaged with 600 plus communities.

Learn more about Search Institute.

Children's Cabinet Network

Managed by the Forum for Youth Investment, the Children's Cabinet Network connects the directors, chairs and members of state and local cross-agency coordinating bodies in more than 20 states across the country. These coordinating bodies include children's cabinets, commissions or councils, which are made up of heads of state agencies with child and youth-serving programs, who meet on a regular basis with the collective goal of coordinating services, developing a common set of outcomes, and collaboratively developing and implementing plans to foster the well-being of young people. Participants in the network get the opportunity to interact with peers engaged in this same unique role in states across the country, sharing tips and best practices and working through solutions to common problems.

Learn more about Children's Cabinet Network.

America's Youth Councils Network

America's Youth Councils Network, managed by the Forum for Youth Investment, brings together young people from state and local youth councils: officially sanctioned groups created to provide policy makers with young people's unique perspectives and expertise. Participants receive Forum tools and resources, documentation and dissemination of their work to a broader audience, networking with their peers in youth councils across the country, and opportunities to have their voices heard at the national level.

Learn more about America's Youth Councils Network.

Technical Partners

Child Trends

Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center that studies children at all stages of development. As the nation’s only independent research and policy center focused exclusively on improving outcomes for children, Child Trends' mission is to improve outcomes for children by providing research, data, and analysis to the people and institutions whose decisions and actions affect children, including program providers, the policy community, researchers and educators, and the media.

Learn more about Child Trends.

Community Systems Group (CSG)

Community Systems Group is a full service consulting firm created to serve philanthropy, governments and communities in their efforts to improve health and social justice. CSG does this by providing comprehensive evaluation services for your organization; by providing sophisticated consultation on strategic and action planning, logic model development, evaluation planning, organizational effectiveness, and organizational sustainability; and by providing unparalleled access to technology that allows leaders to work together more productively and efficiently.

Learn more about Community Systems Group.

David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality (CYPQ)

The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality uses a youth development approach to position point of service quality as a powerful public idea that drives the out-of-school time field towards higher levels of understanding, expectation, and action about the quality of experiences available to youth. The Weikart Center helps organizations strengthen the services they provide to youth programs in their networks by providing evidence-based tools, training, and expert consulting to design, pilot and effectively scale up quality improvement and accountability systems.

Learn more about the Center for Youth Program Quality.

The Finance Project

The Finance Project is nonprofit research, consulting, technical assistance and training firm for public and private sector leaders nationwide. The Finance Project helps leaders make smart investment decisions, develop sound financing strategies and build solid partnerships that benefit children, families and communities.

Learn more about the Finance Project.

The Gallup Organization

Gallup has studied human nature and behavior for more than 75 years and has a strong reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary research. Gallup employs many of the world's leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology, and our consultants assist leaders in identifying and monitoring behavioral economic indicators worldwide. Gallup consultants help organizations boost organic growth by increasing customer engagement and maximizing employee productivity through measurement tools, coursework and strategic advisory services.

Learn more about Gallup.

nFocus Software

nFocus Software is the leading provider of data collection and outcome measurement software to the public sector. For more than thirteen years, nFocus Software has successfully implemented solutions to track and measure outcomes for more than 2.2 million children in all fifty states and Canada. nFocus Software customers include nonprofit organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and the federal government, with organizations ranging from local sites with fewer than 100 individuals, to state-wide deployments serving thousands of individuals, to the United States Army.

Learn more about nFocus Software.

Results Leadership Group (RLG)

Results Leadership Group develops the capacity of government and nonprofit organizations to produce measurable results for clients and communities and provides support to individual organizations, partnerships, and collaborations through complementary strategies delivered over time to achieve sustained impact. RLG also offers individuals executive coaching and educational programs in subjects such as Results-Based Accountability™, facilitation, leadership, emotional intelligence, negotiation, coaching, and storytelling.

Learn more about Results Leadership Group.


SparkAction is an online journalism and advocacy center by and for the child and youth field managed by the Forum for Youth Investment. SparkAction aims to break down silos in the broad child and youth field and strengthen connections among organizations and agencies to create a stronger, unified voice for children and youth by connecting concerned adults and young people to compelling stories and tools to take action.

Learn more about SparkAction.