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PERSPECTIVES

Investing in Positive Change with our U.S. Pathways to Progress Partners

April 28, 2021
Florencia Spangaro, Chief Operating Officer

Seven years ago, the Citi Foundation launched the Pathways to Progress initiative to help equip young people with the skills and experiences they need to forge a successful future in the long wake of the Great Recession – a time when youth endured the worst of the economic fallout. Since its inception, the Citi Foundation has already impacted the lives of more than one million young people around the world through $230 million of grant investments, providing them with the mentorship, entrepreneurship training, and work experience that not only build up resumes and CVs, but also their confidence.

By those measures, Pathways has been successful in positively affecting the economic opportunities of global youth by providing them with the building blocks they need to forge their careers. When it came time to strategize our next Pathways commitment in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we knew as a Foundation we needed to change our approach because the world itself demanded it. The pandemic brought with it a myriad of challenges that dramatically impacted the global economy. In the U.S., the calls for racial justice and equity louder are more urgent than ever, especially as young people, particularly young people of color, continued to bear the brunt.

In a time defined and driven by change, we know we have a responsibility to invest in the ideas and the people that propel equitable progress. With this in mind, the Foundation announced in September 2020 an additional $100 million investment in Pathways programming globally, with a focus of serving young people of color in the U.S.

In 2020, the Citi Foundation invested more than $12 million in programs in the U.S. that served over 30,000 young people of color. To continue this momentum, we are doubling down on our investments in community organizations that serve and represent communities of color. This includes our new investments in HBCUs, institutions that consistently serve and uplift young Black people in the U.S. and generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually.

Here are some examples of the changemakers and the solutions that are central to our Pathways to Progress commitment:

  • Covenant House International provides educational and workforce development skills to young people experiencing homelessness in 31 cities across six countries. The Citi Foundation's support will help expand Covenant Works job training program across NYC.
  • Echoing Green supports emerging social entrepreneurs and innovative ideas. The Citi Foundation's grant will go towards scaling support of social entrepreneurs serving young people of color via Echoing Green's recently launched Racial Equity Philanthropic Fund.
  • MENTOR and its 25 Affiliates expand high-quality youth mentorship programming across the U.S. and aim to better address racial, social, and economic disparities through Citi Foundation's support.
  • Public Allies is a pioneer in developing and deploying high-impact leaders within their neighborhoods to create more equitable systems, institutions and racially diverse talent pipelines nationwide. The Citi Foundation's support will provide resources for their work to address systemic social, racial, and economic justice issues within marginalized communities.
  • SEO (Sponsors for Educational Opportunity) aims to close the academic and career opportunity gaps for motivated young people from underserved and/or underrepresented communities. The Citi Foundation's grant will help pilot SEO's Tech Developer, which works with BIPOC Computer Science and Engineering college students to provide the training, curriculum, skills, and mentoring necessary to compete for roles at top tech companies and startups.
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the only national organization solely committed to the Black College Community and helps ensure student success by promoting education excellence and leadership development. The Citi Foundation's investment will help launch an incubator program to support first-year students to determine their career aspirations and develop a roadmap for success.
  • UNCF builds a robust and nationally recognized pipeline of under-represented students who, because of UNCF support, become highly qualified college graduates. The Citi Foundation's support will help educate the next generation of Black student leaders, and scholars.

While our support for these organizations, and all our Pathways grantees, is a step in the right direction, we at the Citi Foundation know this is just the beginning of a longer journey towards a fairer, more equitable future. To ensure Pathways to Progress continues to have the impact that we seek and meet the needs of our communities, we must continue to find new and innovative ways to back the visionaries that have been driving progress for generations.

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To learn more about the Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress work in support of our Action for Racial Equity commitments, visit the Foundation website.

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