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City Year AmeriCorps receives $5 million grant from ECMC Foundation to meet education and workforce challenges posed by COVID-19

By supporting City Year AmeriCorps, ECMC Foundation’s grant mitigates the impact of COVID-19 on student learning and creates skill-building opportunities for young adults

BOSTON—Today, City Year announced that it received a $5 million grant from ECMC Foundation to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people by improving the skills and workforce prospects of recent college graduates and boosting college and postsecondary preparedness of K-12 students in systemically under-resourced communities. The one-year grant will help City Year place AmeriCorps student success coaches in K-8 public schools in Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Sacramento, San José, Seattle and Washington, D.C., for the 2020-21 school year.

City Year recruits and trains diverse teams of student success coaches to serve full time in schools in communities with disproportionate numbers of students who are off track to high school graduation because of systemic failings—including inequitable access to learning environments that help students thrive. City Year AmeriCorps members nurture developmental relationships with K-12 students and collaborate with teachers to help prepare students with the skills and mindsets to achieve their goals. Research has shown that time spent with a City Year AmeriCorps member improves students’ academic, social and emotional outcomes, leads to an increase in attendance and months of learning each year, and contributes to improved school climate and performance overall.

City Year student success coaches—with an average age of 22—reflect the diversity of the communities in which they serve; an estimated 65% are people of color; 62% have a college degree; and 24% are first generation college attendees. Investment in these young adults both addresses an immediate workforce concern created by the COVID-19 pandemic and has a ripple effect in strengthening the communities in which these young adults live and work and in amplifying their commitment to civic engagement and supporting educational and racial equity.

ECMC Foundation’s partnership with City Year will provide at least 230 additional City Year AmeriCorps members the opportunity to make critical contributions to the lives of students, while also gaining valuable leadership and workforce skills. With surging youth unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this opportunity to develop crucial workforce skills through City Year is especially important to young people whose career trajectories may have been interrupted. ECMC Foundation’s investment will help to leverage additional funding through the federal AmeriCorps program and the Segal Education Awards provided to each young adult who completes a year of service to defray education costs.

Commenting on the grant, Peter J. Taylor, president of ECMC Foundation, said:

“We are at a moment when our education and workforce systems are being tested and reimagined to meet the challenges posed by a deadly pandemic, a devastating economic recession, and a long legacy of racial inequity. The country’s students and young workers need change now. Building on our commitment to evidence-based innovation, ECMC Foundation is very pleased to support City Year’s proven model to boost employment outcomes for recent college graduates and accelerate learning and college preparedness for K-12 students.”

This critical investment will also help mitigate long-term learning loss for students, keeping them on track to high school graduation and preparing them for college and career success.

City Year CEO Jim Balfanz noted his appreciation for ECMC Foundation’s support at this critical time:

“ECMC Foundation and City Year are highly aligned in our values and in our focus on supporting systemically under-resourced communities that are being disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. ECMC Foundation’s commitment to supporting innovations that can make a difference in the graduation prospects and college and career success of young people is notable and much appreciated, especially now. Developing the leadership and workforce skills of a substantial number of young adults will have a ripple effect, not only in their lives and the students they serve, but throughout their careers and in the communities where they work and live.”


About City Year 
City Year helps students and schools succeed. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide support to students, classrooms and the whole school, helping to ensure that students in systemically under-resourced schools receive a high-quality education that prepares them with the skills and mindsets to thrive. A 2015 study shows that schools that partner with City Year were up to two-to-three times more likely to improve on math and English assessments. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, local school districts and private philanthropy. City Year partners with public schools in 29 communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and South Africa. Learn more at or on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


About ECMC Foundation 
ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting and ECMC Group by visiting

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