YouthBuild USA, Inc

Contact Information

58 Day St
Somerville, MA 02144 - 2800
(617) 741-1273
Social Innovation Fund Pay for Success FY 2014

Executive Summary

YouthBuild USA, Inc, a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, requests $2,632,809 over 3 years in order to contribute to the PFS field by providing technical assistance to assess feasibility and develop PFS capacity of sub-recipients in three states and three localities selected through an open competition. These sub-recipients will operate a community-based solution that has evidence of improving the lives of low-income opportunity youth. The sub-recipients will be helped to assess to what extent they are both reducing state and county criminal justice costs, and generating social and economic gains through producing educational attainment, post-secondary education access, and job placement for low-income opportunity youth, primarily young men of color, who had previously left high school without a diploma, many of whom have been court-involved.

While YouthBuild USA is familiar with the emerging standard PFS model, we are proposing an innovation on that model which we are calling "Pay for Success: Pay it Forward." This approach will measure the demonstrated outcomes and the resulting return on investment to state and local governments from the existing flow of millions of federal dollars that community-based providers currently bring in to their jurisdictions each year. In the PFS: Pay it Forward approach, these federal funds substitute for the private up-front funding that the current PFS model relies upon. PFS: Pay It Forward will enhance the PFS field by offering a financing approach to non-profits that will not require them to raise substantial private up-front dollars. Instead, through negotiated agreements, state or local governments will commit to expanding the existing federal funding if the local providers meet agreed upon outcome targets that analysts agree will achieve savings to the state or local government.

Further, in this model, the up-front capital provider does not require either repayment or a rate of return on capital, so the demonstrated savings can be devoted solely to enhancing the reach and impact of innovative community-based solutions that improve the lives of people in low income communities.

As a result of effectively bringing the most disadvantaged young people back on track to academic and career success plus civic responsibility, YouthBuild providers have seen recidivism rates for former offenders drop precipitously. YouthBuild USA research shows rates for court-involved YouthBuild participants at 28% or lower, versus Bureau of Justice Statistics showing a general national recidivism rate of 50% of higher within three years of release, and a national 78% re-arrest rate within three years for prisoners under age 24 at time of release. While lowering recidivism rates was not the original purpose of YouthBuild programs, which were created to empower out-of-school youth to rebuild their communities and their lives through education and job training, this crime prevention result has been produced over many years in many different localities and has been validated by extensive data collection and various independent studies. The recidivism reduction impact of YouthBuild has proven dramatic and deserves to be funded at the state and local levels where the costs of crime reside.

YouthBuild USA will invite proposals from two different categories of sub-recipient applicants: 1) collaborating groups of YouthBuild providers in states (or a city or county) with at least six sites that show promise for PFS; and 2) a partnership of one or more local providers with its municipal or county government, in which the government entity is agreeing in advance to explore the feasibility of continued, expanded funding based on ROI. In this latter category we will give extra credit to rural sites in the competition.

We will select sub-recipients in three states and three localities in which we will invest grants and services to strengthen their capacity to produce high level outcomes among their participants, and to build both their case and their relationships, toward a "PFS: Pay It Forward" agreement. A total of at least 25 local providers -- 3 state-level groups of 6 or more (with one state of 10) and 3 single local providers - will receive our services. We will provide training, data management and analysis, on-site TA, research support, and legal assistance to each sub-recipient to establish the feasibility of their plan and to lay the groundwork for a deal. We will collaborate with CNCS on sharing the learnings of the project both with other grantees and the public. If this project is successful, YouthBuild USA aims to replicate it in many locations.

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