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Youth Pathways Fund

The success of The Community Foundation's Pathways to Adulthood Initiative has led to the development of an endowment fund focused on supporting the work of local agencies to assist at-risk youth between the ages of 12-18.

The Youth Pathways Fund will ensure continued support for programs that are helping these youth make a positive transition into adulthood.


In late 2005, The Community Foundation convened over 35 youth serving organizations to discuss the development of a strategic initiative targeting transitional aged youth, funded through the James Irvine Foundation CFI II grant to The Community Foundation. Following a series of meetings, which included youth participants, the Pathways to Adulthood Initiative was created to address gaps in the local youth development continuum of services. Over the past five years, a number of highly successful programs were developed and supported which provided opportunities for career exploration, job shadowing, adult mentorship, and employability skills building. These have included Teens at Work, Youth Career Exploration Mentoring Program, QuestBound Leadership, Liberty High School Native Plant Nursery, Bakari Project, and Youth in Action.

Funding for the Pathways to Adulthood Initiative concluded in June 2011. Incorporated into the wind-down of the initiative, The Community Foundation convened grantees and key community partners to discuss a transition and sustainability plan. A key partner was the Anti-Gang Coordinating Commission, as they recognized each of the Pathways programs' importance to their own prevention goals. A workgroup was formed to discuss developing a funding mechanism to address funding specific to at-risk adolescents in SLO County. Workgroup representatives included Anti-Gang Coordinating Commission, Children’s Services Network, Juvenile Justice Commission, business owners, and The Community Foundation. Their recommendation was to create an endowed field of interest fund to be held at The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County.

Target Population

  • At-Risk Youth ages 12-18 (middle school through high school)

Theory of Change

  • Create and support youth opportunities that build resiliency in at-risk youth
  • Expose and engage youth with positive adult role models/mentors
  • Promote entrepreneurship and civic engagement
  • Teach and develop pro-social skills
  • Prepare youth for employment in the workforce

Intended Outcomes

  • Prevention of drug/alcohol use, gang involvement, teen pregnancy, truancy and drop out, juvenile delinquency and crime

Grantmaking Process

  • Support proven programs with measurable outcomes that accomplish the above strategies and outcomes
  • Support 501c3 organizations and school-based programs
  • Annual grant making priorities identified utilizing advisory committee

Advisory Committee

Comprised of representatives of:

  • Children’s Services Network
  • Anti-Gang Coordinating Commission
  • The Community Foundation Grants Committee
  • Local Youth
  • Alternative Education
  • Business Community, and
  • Community coalitions involved with youth development representing different geographic areas of the county, e.g. South County Youth Coalition, Asset Development Network

Initial Fund Goal: $500,000

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