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Our strategy

As we continue to focus on our core commitment of serving students and schools and supporting our AmeriCorps members throughout their year of service, we are also strategically preparing for City Year’s next five years as we refine and grow our six interconnected program areas.

Today, City Year leads, innovates and collaborates with partners to create conditions that enable young people to reach their full potential by effecting systems change at three levels:

  • Direct service in schools
  • Adult capacities and competencies
  • Federal policy in education and national service

“Young people” refers to the elementary, middle and high school students we serve and our AmeriCorps members, ages 17-25, as young people’s learning and development is on a continuum from kindergarten through early adulthood.

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Learn more about our unique approach.


City Year’s dual mission

  • Expand educational equity by supporting students furthest from opportunity
  • Develop diverse leaders through national service who can work across lines of difference

Students in the United States with the most untapped potential are concentrated in just 4% of school districts, attending systemically under-resourced schools that produce 50% of non-graduates from high school.

By intentionally serving in these districts, City Year helps to ensure that more students receive the resources, relationships and environments they need to reach their goals, develop their talents and thrive as adults.

Unique to City Year, our work with students in schools is built around recruiting, training and supporting teams of diverse young people as AmeriCorps members, who, in working together for our students, are also developing valuable skills that prepare them to “work across lines of difference.”

These skillscommunication, problem solving, teamwork, growth mindset, entrepreneurialism, and more—will serve our alums well in whatever they do after their year of service – whether that’s becoming a teacher; joining corporate America; working in health, law, or the nonprofit sector; starting a business; or furthering their own education.

The positive examples corps members can set for their students also strengthen the fabric of our pluralistic democracy by ensuring today’s young people can work together and build a better future for our country.

Our aspirations

City Year puts our purpose and dual mission into action by defining two aspirations for our work.

Collaborate with others to eliminate the correlation between educational outcomes and students’ social identity and economic status.

Only by adults changing unjust and inequitable systems today can we position our students to achieve their full potential, reach their goals, and live choice-filled lives as adults—outcomes that benefit all of us.

City Year believes that while all students have unique talents and limitless potential, only some students have equitable access to engaging and welcoming learning environments that enable them to flourish.

By expanding the number of schools with positive learning environments and additional capacity, we are expanding educational equity and opportunities for lifelong success and well-being.

Ensure that a diverse team-based national service experience through AmeriCorps is understood to be a viable, valuable option for young adults.

Through collaborating with teammates from diverse backgrounds, corps members develop key career skills and receive exclusive AmeriCorps member benefits such as the Segal Education Award.

City Year views a voluntary year of national service as a continuation of postsecondary education that can unlock the potential of our young people and strengthen our democracy.

Our three aims

For our immediate, multi-year strategy, we define three aims to realize our aspirations, deepen our impact, and drive systemic change needed to make education equitable for all students and opportunity more accessible for young people.

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Create thriving learning conditions

Many of our nation's schools are systemically under-resourced; However, we believe all students should experience whole-child learning environments—which include integrated social, emotional and academic supports anchored in positive developmental relationships. These factors are critical for academic, career and life success.

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Integrate AmeriCorps service into career pathways

We believe higher education institutions and employers should value a year of service on diverse teams through their admissions criteria, credentialing requirements, and hiring practices.

Find a place to focus
Transform the K-25 developmental system through alums

Currently, nearly half of City Year alums who participated in a 2022 survey reported they work in the education sector—as teachers, administrators, guidance counselors—in education policy or at youth-focused nonprofits.

More about our alums
National Strategic Partners
National Partners