We can...

dramatically change the odds for youth if we commit to upend inequities, embrace science-informed strategies, and accelerate progress.

As the nation rises from crisis to a new normal, we must together expand and deepen opportunities for young people who have been historically underserved by policy and practice.


With an unwavering focus on youth potential, the Readiness Projects advance work informed by science and grounded in practice, supporting adults in all settings and systems across the diverse youth fields.

The Forum for Youth Investment, the National Urban League, and the American Institutes for Research have united to devote our time, resources, and perspectives to stimulate equity-driven solutions and policies.

With partners, we will accelerate work that demands equitable learning and development opportunities and builds on the strengths of people working at all levels to help children, youth, and young adults thrive.


We proactively champion the work of anyone committed to helping youth thrive in any setting, including homes, schools, afterschool and community programs, health and mental health, housing, juvenile justice, child welfare, and more. This includes a deep appreciation for the knowledge, perspectives, and evidence generated in these settings.

The emerging cross-discipline science findings encourage us to work cross-system to support and empower adults, connect services, challenge harmful policies, and transform systems.

The Readiness Projects will bolster projects that support the readiness of youth, adults, systems, and community leaders by finding ways to test the utility of recent science findings, to inform efforts to improve quality, to increase engagement, and to advance equity. As coordinating partners, we will advance a curated set of meetings, projects, and products aimed at leveraging our collective knowledge base and the constellation of activities across the youth-focused fields.

Our Priorities

While every partner and project will not address all of these, the ideal effort will:

  • Advance “stickier” narratives about how science and research on learning and development can be used to advance equity and thriving.
  • Amplify the voices of youth and community leaders and ask how a more robust approach to equity and thriving can support and refine their agendas.
  • Assert the essential role of all adults in all settings – when, where and with whom learning happens—and prioritize efforts to recognize and act upon their perspectives.
  • Articulate the need to advance the idea of a “thriving youth” field (similar to early childhood) to align work within and across systems and solutions.

We believe that the possibility of creating equitable environments for learning and thriving for children, youth, and young adults can only be achieved if we acknowledge four things:

  1. Young people’s experiences in all contexts matter, including but not
    limited to formal systems.
  2. The science findings are about human learning and therefore relevant to
    all systems, not just schools.
  3. The power of the findings provides a unique opportunity to create a
    cross-system and cross-quadrant effort to support and empower adults, connect services, challenge harmful policies, and transform systems.
  4. The principles for optimizing engagement—of young people, the adults who work with them, and the families and communities that support them—are universal, while the obstacles to improvement are different in each quadrant and system.

Changing the odds for young people has never been more important