Youth Villages said it is the largest single grant ever awarded to the organization and one of the largest ever to a social services organization. Philanthropist Clarence Day, who began the foundation, was a longtime Youth Villages supporter, donating more than $14 million to the organization before his death in 2009.
The grant will help Youth Villages expand its transitional living program for youth who "age out" of foster care. Youth Villages is helping 1,452 young adults this year through the program in Tennessee (335 specifically in West Tennessee so far this year) and seven other states. Each year, as many as 30,000 children will turn 18 and make their way in life as an adult.
“Clarence Day cared deeply about the fate of these often-forgotten youth and he was instrumental in establishing and maintaining Youth Villages’ TL program to help them,” said the Day Foundation trustees in a statement. “He believed in Youth Villages and their mission. The Day Foundation wants to continue his legacy and carry out his wishes by helping sustain and expand the transitional living program to serve more young adults.”
The $42 million legacy challenge grant will be paid over five years, and is temporarily restricted, to be accessed when Youth Villages raises matching funds from states or private donors. The grant and its matching funds will allow Youth Villages to serve approximately 9,000 young adults through TL during the next five years.
“Youth Villages’ transitional living program is a vital lifeline for our country’s most at-risk youth,” said Patrick Lawler, Youth Villages CEO. “For many young people, the years following foster care set a pattern of failure that continues for the rest of their lives. In our program, we help these vulnerable young people create a pattern of success that will allow them to become independent, productive adults.”
Youth Villages’ West Tennessee offices and facilities are located in Bartlett, Dyersburg, Paris and Jackson, including its national headquarters in Memphis. From these locations, the organization’s specialists have served more than 2,672 children, families and young adults living in the surrounding counties so far in 2011.
Youth Villages is a private nonprofit organization with the mission to help emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully.