City Year

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
City Year
City Year logo
Founded 1988
Founder Michael Brown and Alan Khazei
Focus Education
Area served

Baton Rouge
Columbia (South Carolina)
Columbus (Ohio)
Kansas City, Missouri
Little Rock/North Little Rock
Los Angeles
New Hampshire
New Orleans
New York City
Greater Philadelphia
Rhode Island
San Antonio
San José/Silicon Valley
Seattle/King County
Washington, D.C.

Johannesburg, South Africa

London, England
Birmingham, England
Manchester, England
Method citizen service, civic engagement and social entrepreneurship
Key people

Michael Brown, Cofounder and CEO
Jim Balfanz, President (City Year Boston '94)

Charlie Rose, Senior Vice President & Dean
US $79,298,613
approximately 2,500 in 2012 Corps members
Slogan give a year. change the world.
Revenue numbers are from the 2011 City Year annual report[1]

City Year is an education-focused organization founded in 1988 dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. City Year partners with public schools in 28 urban, high-poverty communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and Johannesburg, South Africa. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide high-impact student, classroom and school-wide support, to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. A member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is made possible by support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.


City Year was founded in 1988 by Michael Brown and Alan Khazei, then-roommates at Harvard Law School, who felt strongly that young people in service could be a powerful resource for addressing America's most pressing issues. They built City Year with the conviction that one person can make a difference; and since its inception, City Year has promoted the vision of service as a common expectation – and a real opportunity – for citizens all around the world.

City Year corps members focused their efforts on community rehabilitation, beautification of neighborhoods, and developing community awareness in Boston. Over the years, the organization has expanded, opening sites in 26 cities throughout the U.S., and refocused its mission to help students in under-served schools reach their full potential and graduate high school.

Inspired by a visit with City Year during his 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton enlisted the help of Michael Brown, Alan Khazei and others to establish AmeriCorps through the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. Since then, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members have contributed upwards of 1.2 billion hours of public service. All AmeriCorps members, originally conceived as unpaid volunteers in service, are now paid a stipend by the federal government through the Corporation for National and Community Service and subsequently through a variety of matching grants, including the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. City Year, along with thousands of other non-profit organizations, is a member of the AmeriCorps network, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

In early 2005, City Year opened its first international site in South Africa.[2] A second international affiliate, City Year London based in London, England, followed in 2010.[3] In 2009 Michael Brown, co-founder and current Chief Executive Officer, announced "In School and On Track: A National Challenge." City Year’s In School & On Track initiative is designed to bring City Year corps members to 50% of all of the students falling off track in City Year’s 26 U.S. locations, which will require expanding the number of corps members and engaging more school districts, the private sector and the federal government through AmeriCorps as partners.

In 2012 City Year announced its Long Term Impact (LTI) goal to dramatically increase the number of students on track to graduation, reaching the majority of off-track students in each of their communities, and expanding to the communities and schools that produce two-thirds of the nation’s urban dropouts.[2] Based on national research from Johns Hopkins University and City Year’s analysis of existing markets, roughly 15-20% of schools are producing the majority of the dropouts within urban school districts. This degree of concentration enables City Year AmeriCorps members to have an outsized impact on the graduation pipeline in each of their cities, while deploying to a relatively small number of schools. The goal of the strategy is to double the number of students reaching the tenth grade on track to graduate in the schools where City Year serves, ensuring that at least 80% of the students in these schools are on track to graduation.[5] City Year AmeriCorps members function as a "human capital resource" in underperforming elementary, middle and high schools, working with off-track students to provide targeted academic and behavior interventions aimed at improving the number of high school graduates.

Full-time school based service[edit]

City Year AmeriCorps members in Boston's Copley Square

City Year AmeriCorps members commit to a ten-month service year, performing a combination of service, leadership development, and civic engagement.

To respond to the challenges facing public education, City Year AmeriCorps members work in schools full-time providing academic support and after school programming. These school partnerships work within a framework known as Whole School, Whole Child (WSWC). This program has several components, aimed at improving school attendance, student behavior, and course performance in English and Mathematics. These three factors, called the "ABCs", are prominent early warning indicators of students at risk of dropping out of high school.[3] According to the study, a student who exhibits even one of these indicators as early as sixth grade has a 25% chance of graduating with their peers. Reaching those same students at the right time, with the correct intervention, can be the difference in whether or not that student makes it to graduation. The study also shows that students who reach tenth grade on-track have a 75% of graduating.

AmeriCorps members provide one-on-one and group tutoring to improve literacy and math skills, and work to promote a positive school climate by hosting a variety of evening and weekend events designed to engage students, their families, the school community and the local community.

In the 2014 – 2015 academic year, more than 2,800 City Year AmeriCorps members served approximately 175,000 students in 264 schools nationwide.

Site locations[edit]

City Year serves in 28 cities within the United States, with two international affiliates.[4]

Location State/ Province Founding date
Baton Rouge Louisiana 2005[Note 1]
Birmingham England 2013
Boston Massachusetts 1988
Chicago Illinois 1994
Cleveland Ohio 1996
Columbia South Carolina 1994
Columbus Ohio 1994
Dallas Texas 2015
Denver Colorado 2011
Detroit Michigan 1999
Jacksonville[5] Florida 2013
Little Rock/North Little Rock Arkansas 2004
London England 2010
Los Angeles California 2007
Manchester England 2015
Memphis Tennessee 2016
Miami Florida 2008
Milwaukee Wisconsin 2010
Kansas City Missouri 2015
New Hampshire[Note 2] New Hampshire 2000
New Orleans Louisiana 2005[Note 1]
New York[Note 3] New York 2003
Orlando[6] Florida 2013
Greater Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1997
Providence Rhode Island 1993
Sacramento[7] California 2012
San Antonio Texas 1995
San José/Silicon Valley California 1994
Seattle/King County Washington 1998
South Africa[Note 4] Gauteng 2005
Tulsa Oklahoma 2013
Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C. 2000

*Highlighted entries are international locations

The corps[edit]

City Year AmeriCorps members represent a diverse array of racial, ethnic, religious, and educational backgrounds. Approximately 80% of the corps members are recent college graduates and nearly 10% are recent high school graduates.

AmeriCorps members begin their service year in the summertime, undergoing several weeks of intensive training before the beginning of the school year. During this training, corps members are oriented to City Year culture and trained on how to work within schools. They are assigned to serve on a team at a particular school, where they will work for the duration of their service year.

Like other AmeriCorps members, City Year corps members receive a biweekly living allowance, or modest stipend. City Year AmeriCorps also receive health insurance benefits and qualify for a post-service education award through AmeriCorps. Additionally, City Year has local partnerships in all cities that offer benefits like public transit passes and discounts to local businesses just for City Year AmeriCorps members.

City Year is a highly selective program. In 2014, roughly 1 in 3 applications to City Year were offered a spot to serve.

Leadership development[edit]

City Year has developed a comprehensive and sophisticated approach to leadership development designed to ensure AmeriCorps member success at City Year, and in whatever field City Year alumni choose to go into after their year of service. City Year was founded on the belief that a year of service transforms both the community being served and the individual providing that service. This founding belief is the inspiration behind its leadership development curriculum, The Idealist’s Journey. City Year recognizes that the development of new skills and knowledge is crucial, but there are also some deeper questions that need to be explored in the journey of leadership development.


City Year AmeriCorps members wear a distinctive uniform, issued by the organization – a red jacket worn with khaki pants and Timberland boots. Three City Year sites, San José/Silicon Valley, Sacramento, and Los Angeles, wear yellow jackets due to pre-existing gang associations with the color red in the communities in which they serve.

Prominent members of a community in which City Year serves and key supporters who have acted as major advocates or champions of the organization are often gifted with their own red jacket. This honor is called jacketing. Upon gifting the jacket, a current City Year AmeriCorps member explains the significance of the jacket:

United States funding[edit]

City Year's funding comes from a variety of sources. In 2014, 21% of the organization's operating revenue came from AmeriCorps, 60% from corporations, foundations, and individual donors, and 19% School districts and other local government grants.[1]


City Year was started with private funding and still maintains many of its efforts via gifts from organizations as National Leadership Sponsors and Team Sponsors.

City Year’s National Partners work side by side with City Year lending their time, expertise, and resources to support the mission of increasing the high school graduation rate. These investments can take many different forms and are allocated to programs and initiatives that align with the partners’ and City Year’s priorities. City Year National Leadership Sponsors include: Aramark, AT&T, Bain Capital, Bank of America, Cisco Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal, CSX Transportation, Deloitte, Microsoft, and the PepsiCo Foundation.


Public schools districts partner with City Year to bring teams of AmeriCorps member to work in schools. Though it varies from district to district, schools are responsible for financing a portion of the cost of maintaining a team of City Year AmeriCorps members in service.

Care Force[edit]

Care Force is a part of City Year specifically created to engage corporations and their employees in high-impact volunteer events to help improve schools and communities.

For more than twelve years, Care Force has helped to craft and lead volunteer experiences that have become an integral component of corporate partners’ community service outreach, and inspired employees to want to serve again and again. Whether painting inspirational murals in a school hallway or transforming an unused space into a library; Care Force events physically transform the spaces where children and communities grow.

Since launching in 2001, Care Force has led more than 70,000 volunteers in service projects and managed 470+ events in over 130 communities in 10 countries around the world

The Heroes Programs[edit]

City Year once lead the Heroes programs in various locations around the United States. The Young Heroes program was for middle school students and the City Heroes Program was for High School students. These programs were based around leadership development and community service and was operated by City Year AmeriCorps members. The program brought together various students from all across the city who worked together to perform different leadership and community service tasks. Members acquired leadership skills and abilities, while building compassion and other leadership characteristics to help build a better life and community for themselves and their peers. Upon completing the program members received a beautiful City Year jacket, different awards highlighting their outstanding work, and were eligible to receive a Volunteer Service Award acknowledged and signed by the President. City Year stopped running the Heroes programs around 2011 nationwide. We no longer have the Hero's program in City Year Philadelphia.


City Year is a five-time winner of the Social Capitalist award from the Fast Company Monitor group.[8] City Year has also had positive reviews from the Princeton Review and the U.S. News & World Report, and has earned four stars from the organization, Charity Navigator.[9]


City Year has been criticized by some for accepting a sponsorship from the soft drink manufacturer PepsiCo. Because City Year Corps members are role models to many children, this partnership might encourage greater consumption of soft drinks, which some see problematic in light of the current national woes with childhood obesity.[10] It has also been accused of exploiting its volunteers by demanding long hours of extremely taxing work, while providing a woefully inadequate stipend.[11]

City Year South Africa[edit]

In 2001 at a conference on civil society in Cape Town, U.S. President Bill Clinton brought a delegation of City Year Service Leaders and staff from Boston, to meet with former President Nelson Mandela. Mandela was eager to implement a programme in South Africa that afforded young people the opportunity to serve their communities. He loved the idea of City Year and after further conversations; City Year’s first international site was launched in 2005 with 110 Service Leaders in Johannesburg.

City Year brings together a diverse group of young people for a year of voluntary service and leadership development. These young people work in teams as tutors, mentors and role models to children in 10 primary schools throughout Johannesburg and Soweto. City Year South Africa works to support the growing National Youth Service movement, with a strong belief that youth service is a powerful vehicle for developing a generation of young leaders for South Africa, promoting a culture of service across all sectors of society, addressing critical development needs in schools and communities, and addressing youth unemployment.

City Year South Africa provides a rigorous year of full-time community service, leadership development and skills training to young South African volunteers (Service Leaders).

Since its inception in 2005 City Year South Africa has graduated over 1,200 Service Leaders who engaged over 20,000 children through after-school programs and various other projects. In total these Service Leaders have completed over 1 million hours of service.

City Year London[edit]

City Year launched in London during the 2010/11 academic year with 60 corps members working in teams across six primary schools. For the start of the 2011/12 school year City Year had 81 corps members serving across nine schools.[12]

Since the 2010 general election, City Year London has met with range of Members of Parliament, government ministers, and Prime Minister David Cameron to champion service opportunities for young people across the UK.[13]

City Year logo.
City Year London.

In 2012 City Year London was awarded a Social Action Fund grant of £300,000 by the Government’s Cabinet Office, which has gone towards the expansion of City Year’s service across London and the development of three new school partnerships from September 2012.[14]

Leadership development[edit]

As part of their year of service, City Year London corps members benefit from a year-long leadership development programme which is delivered by the organisation’s corporate sponsors every Friday. Leadership development days help corps members to develop skills and competencies to be successful in securing a job after City Year. This includes CV and interview guidance, work-shadowing, networking sessions, public speaking and presentation skills training. Each corps member is also matched with a corporate mentor.[15] 95% of corps members who graduated from the 2011/12 City Year London programme successfully secured a place in education or employment after City Year.[16]

IVR evaluation[edit]

An evaluation of City Year London’s work in schools was conducted by the Institute for Volunteering Research in November 2012. It found that corps members were having a positive effect on the attainment, behaviour and focus of school children and that teachers valued the help and support they received from corps members in the classroom. The evaluation also highlighted a boost in confidence and the employability of City Year corps members who have completed the programme.[17]

The London Corps[edit]

City Year London recruits a diverse corps to reflect the diversity of the children it works with. City Year is currently recruiting 18- to 25-year-old corps members from colleges, universities and youth centres across London and the rest of the UK. The organisation recruits a diversity of young people into the corps based on: socio-economic status, eligibility for Free School Meals, type of secondary education (e.g., public or private), educational attainment, gender and ethnicity. Approximately 60% of City Year London's current corps members are graduates while 40% are college leavers.

Private Equity Foundation[edit]

The Private Equity Foundation helped to bring City Year from America to London in 2010. The Chief Executive of the Private Equity Foundation, Shaks Ghosh visited City Year in Boston in 2009 and was so impressed by its ‘double benefit’ model that she donated £1 million to help start up City Year in London. The Private Equity Foundation is City Year London’s Lead Founding Partner.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b City Year Baton Rouge and New Orleans were founded as a single site, City Year Louisiana, in 2005. The sites separated in 2011 forming two separate affiliates.
  2. ^ The affiliate is named after the state. The site is located in the city of Manchester
  3. ^ The affiliate is centered around New York City not state.
  4. ^ The affiliate is named after the country it is located in. The site is located in the city of Johannesburg


  1. ^ "2011 City Year". City Year. 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  2. ^ "City Year Launches Ten-Year Strategy to Build the Nation's Urban Graduation Pipeline". City Year. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Robert Balfanz and Lisa Herzog Unfulfilled Promise: The Dimensions and Characteristics of Philadelphia's Dropout Crisis
  4. ^ "Where You'll Serve". City Year. Archived from the original on 14 December 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Lead letter: City Year will add mentors to the schools". The Florida Times Union. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "National mentoring service to aid struggling Orange schools". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "National mentoring organization comes to Sacramento schools". Capital Radio. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "45 Entrepreneurs Who are Changing the World: City Year". The Fast Company. 2008. 
  9. ^ "Awards and Recognitions". City Year. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  10. ^ Soumerai, Stephen B.; Gillman, Matthew W. (2007-07-21). "City Year's unhealthy corporate ties". Boston Globe. 
  11. ^ Staff, Liberation (2016-08-27). "The truth about City Year: exploiting idealism - Liberation News". Retrieved 2016-09-01. 
  12. ^ City Year London News. "City Year school partnerships for 2012-12 announced" Archived October 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., [City Year London], Retrieved on 10 August 2012
  13. ^ City Year London News. "City Year CEO reaction to PMs announcement into 'decade of social action'" Archived October 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., [City Year London], Retrieved on 10 August 2012
  14. ^ City Year London News. "City Year awarded £300,000 of Government's Big Society fund" Archived July 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., [City Year London], Retrieved on 10 August 2012
  15. ^ Good practice. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-01-09. , [Children & Young People Now], Retrieved on 11 April 2013
  16. ^ Leadership. [1], [City Year London], Retrieved on 10 August 2012
  17. ^ City Year London Programme Evaluation. "Evaluation of City Year London Programme: End of Year 1 Report" Archived January 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., [Institute for Volunteering Research], Retrieved on 10 November 2012
  18. ^ Private Equity Foundation press. "PEF leads launch of new London youth charity", [Private Equity Foundation], Retrieved on 10 August 2012

External links[edit]