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Youth Villages receives $42 million challenge grant from Day Foundation

August 2, 2011

The Day Foundation announced today it will give Youth Villages a $42 million legacy challenge grant primarily to help expand the organization’s transitional living program that helps older foster children become successful adults.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Watch Youth Villages CEO Pat Lawler talk about the grant on WREG’s Live at 9 show August 2.

TL Success Stories

Read about some of the young people who have been helped through the transitional living program and the generosity of the late Clarence Day and the Day Foundation.

It is the largest single grant ever awarded to Youth Villages 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. His approach to philanthropy and support of Youth Villages was highlighted recently in the book “Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results” by Thomas J. Tierney and Joel L. Fleishman.

Because the transitional living program is funded mostly through private donations, the grant is crucial in helping Youth Villages maintain and expand the TL program. While Youth Villages is helping 1,452 young adults this year through the TL program in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, there are thousands more in need. Each year, as many as 30,000 children will turn 18 and “age out” of state custody, being left on their own to 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.”

Clarence Day

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.

While the biggest portion of the grant will fund Youth Villages’ TL program, including the creation of a TL endowment, a portion will also go toward needed capital improvements, as well as a new five-year growth plan to serve more children and families across the country.

“Youth Villages’ TL 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 TL program, we help these vulnerable young people create a pattern of success that will allow them to become independent, productive adults. Clarence Day made the Youth Villages TL program possible through his tremendous support, and it’s an amazing legacy he leaves of thousands of lives improved.”

Nationally, almost half of former foster children are unemployed at age 21. Nearly a quarter of them do not have a high school diploma or GED and nearly one in five experienced homelessness since leaving foster care. The Youth Villages TL program helps young people build support systems, find and keep adequate housing, complete or continue their education, find and keep employment, access health care and learn life skills.

Since the program began, it has helped more than 4,000 young adults find success, defined as living at home, working or going to school and having no involvement with the law. Youth Villages’ researchers track each program participant, and even two years after completing the TL program, 84 percent of the youth were living at home or in a home-like environment; 75 percent had no further trouble with the law; and 81 percent were in school, had earned their high-school diploma or GED or were employed.

One Comment leave one →
  1. David Hightower permalink
    September 12, 2011 11:53 am


    As I understand a challege-grant, your organization must raise a certain amount of funds to qullaify for the grant. Is that correct? Have you met your goal? If not, please contact me as I have some ideas that might help raise some outside funds. Thanks for all you do for our youth.

    Best regards,

    David Hightower
    TN Beta ’71

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