Two leading non-profits unite to address the education and employment crisis facing foster youth
Silicon Valley Children’s Fund (SVCF) and TeenForce announced today that they will merge to form a powerful organization committed to providing ten years of education and employment support to all foster youth ages 14-24 in Silicon Valley. The merger comes at a critical time. Only 3% of foster youth graduate from college and 75% have little to no work experience by age 18. Without the right supports in place, 40% of foster youth will experience homelessness within 18 months of emancipating from foster care.
“Every decision we make is driven by the needs of our foster youth. When the students we serve tell us that education alone isn’t enough, we look for innovative ways to bridge the gap to employment. That’s why this merger between SVCF and TeenForce makes so much sense,” said Elise Cutini, CEO of SVCF.
Jennifer Munoz, a policy associate at The Silicon Valley Organization, said: “I’m proud to have successfully participated in programs with TeenForce and SVCF over five years. During this time, my SVCF scholarship helped me complete my bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State and TeenForce help me land a job at an organization that offers a real future for my family. It is unusual for organizations to support foster youth over five or ten years, but that is what it takes. Of course, this is the same type of support that youth from traditional families have, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that foster youth need it as well. Now that TeenForce and SVCF will be a single organization, I’m sure they will serve more youth even more effectively.”
The combined organization will accelerate the rollout of its groundbreaking N=ALL program. “The key element of our N=ALL commitment is to serve every Santa Clara County foster youth with appropriate education and employment support throughout their teen and young adult years,” said John Hogan, CEO of TeenForce.
“We have collaborated with TeenForce for six years, and our combined outcomes are impressive,” said Cutini. “Through our partnership, we learned that both education and employment services are equally important in preparing foster youth for self-reliance.”
Cutini will be the CEO of the new organization and Hogan will serve as Vice President of Career Services. Work has already begun to rename the organization and integrate the service offerings. The merger is expected to close before the end of May.
“Making this transition a seamless experience for our partners and youth is my primary goal. As part of our due diligence, we met with our youth advisory board and our partners to understand how to best support their needs during this transition. The work we do is made possible through our long-term partnership with the County Office of Education and the Department of Family and Children’s Services,” said Cutini.
Hogan said: “This combination will be terrific for foster youth in Silicon Valley. Now we can provide education and career support under one roof in a way that is unique in the United States. We look forward to building best-in-class programs that foster youth love.”
Lance Fors, Board Chair of SVCF, said: “This combination makes great sense. SVCF began supporting TeenForce in 2011 when we recognized that they were bringing innovative employment strategies to youth that engaged the private sector in a truly unique manner – by serving as a staffing intermediary. We wanted to see if the model could work for foster youth and it certainly has. We couldn’t be more pleased to move ahead as a combined team.”
Alan Feinberg, Board Chair of TeenForce, said: “TeenForce and SVCF have proven they can work together very effectively by launching and growing the nationally recognized high school foster youth STEM and Professional Development Program. By combining resources, they will further grow this program and provide the basis for the expansion to San Mateo County. They will also to be able to expand to serve college foster youth who are receiving scholarship support from SVCF.”