LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Several local organizations will receive a collective total of $950,000 from the Creating Structures of Support for System-Involved Youth funding opportunity. Mayor Greg Fischer, along with Metro Council members and the city's Office of Youth Development (OYD), made the announcement Thursday. 

What You Need To Know

  • Several local organization to receive $950,000 from funding opportunity for system-involved youth

  • Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, YouthBuild Louisville, Louisville Urban League to receive minimum of $300,000 each

  • Funding created to support those ages 16-24 facing disconnection, meaning not in school and not working

  • In total, 16 organizations considered for funding

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, YouthBuild Louisville (Coalition Supporting Young Adults), and Louisville Urban League will receive a minimum of $300,000 each. In total, 16 organizations were considered for funding.

The funding opportunity was created to support those ages 16 to 24 facing disconnection (not in school and not working), and/or involved in the juvenile justice, child welfare system, or both. There is an emphasis on youth who are incarcerated, in foster care, or youth exiting or having exited these systems.

The grants are meant to "build a comprehensive support system to provide better access to education and workforce opportunities to help underserved youth succeed in school, career, and civic life," according to a press release from the mayor's office.

The organizations selected showed focus in at least one area of centralization, client-centered case management, outreach, or peer support.

The grantees were selected through a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) process. The process was managed by OYD, who will oversee the administration of the grants. OYD is one arm of the city's Office of Resilience and Community Services.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped our city and our entire nation, system-involved youth, who are neither enrolled in school nor employed, are facing even greater challenges,” said Fischer. “My administration is working with community partners every day to make sure our young people are lifted up and given every opportunity to succeed. I'm proud that today we're able to fund three great organizations that will make a lasting difference in the lives of Louisville’s youth for years to come."

Fischer thanked Metro Council for approving the plan, giving special thanks to Council Members Keisha Dorsey (D, District 3), Nicole George (D, District 21), and James Peden (R, District 23) for sponsoring the resolution that introduced the funds.

“An investment in our youth is an investment in our future, one that we know will pay dividends,” said Dorsey. “The groups that were chosen were ones that have a long history of advocacy and positive outcomes when it comes to not only affirming our youth, but also equipping our youth to not only become citizens that contribute to our success, but are responsible for then shaping our future. So, today is yet again another great step this city is taking to secure not only an equitable future by including young people in our budget and our long-term planning, but also a compassionate city by taking the time to empathize, energize and improve the talent and quality of life for every young person in this city.”

All activities within the funding opportunity should be completed by June 30, 2021.         

"Goodwill is excited to expand its transportation and peer support services connecting system-involved youth with the community,” said Director of Reentry Services of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky Dennis Ritchie. “Reliable access to transportation provides young adults with education and workforce opportunities conducive to achieving equity and self-sufficiency. Further, the encouragement and assistance provided by peers facing similar barriers reinforce pathways to success and increases the likelihood that young adults will be motivated to pursue critical resources available through this consortium. Together with the Urban League and YouthBuild, we feel confident the collaboration will yield positive outcomes for all involved participants and our community.”

Lynn Rippy, president/CEO of YouthBuild Louisville, said the coalition is grateful to Metro Council, Fischer, and OYD.

"Louisville’s system-involved youth have gifts and goals like every other young person in our community,” said Lynn Rippy, President/CEO, YouthBuild Louisville. “The opportunity we celebrate today to link community services together will offer collective solutions to long-term problems our most vulnerable young people face accessing needed resources. As a coalition, we are grateful to the Council, the Mayor, and the OYD Team for acknowledging in a major way a commitment to a new path for working together."

Director of Education Policy & Programming at the Louisville Urban League Dr. Kish Cumi-Price weighed in on what the funding means for the Urban League.

"We look forward to partnering with the Louisville System-Involved Youth Consortium to help connect the dots for youth and young adults,” said Cumi-Price. “It is difficult to try to put all the pieces together alone. We have systems that have failed our youth and young adults, and this investment and collective effort is a start in the right direction."

Haeli Spears is a digital producer with Spectrum News 1 Kentucky. She is a University of Louisville graduate who started her career with Spectrum News in May, 2020.