International Youth Foundation

IYF prepares young people to be healthy, productive and engaged citizens.
Nov 23, 2016

Bringing Global Lessons to the United States' Opportunity Youth

They are young, unemployed, and out-of-school. Referred to by different labels—disconnected youth, opportunity youth, youth who are not in education, work, or training (NEETS)—their numbers exceed more than 600 million globally. In the United States alone, more than 5.5 million youth, ages 16 to 24, are disconnected from education and employment.

Whether a disconnected young person resides in the global south or an industrial giant like the United States, they experience strikingly similar realities. A majority come from impoverished communities and face very real obstacles such as violence, incomplete educations, housing instability, discrimination, and involvement in the justice system. While growing knowledge—and solutions—exist around the globe for helping youth connect to supportive mentors and institutions, too little dialogue is taking place between nations on how best to support these youth. 

Through a new two-year initiative, (Re)Connecting Youth: Exchanging Global Lessons, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) seeks to bridge this gap. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, (Re)Connecting Youth will research innovative global approaches for increasing youth connection and resilience and share these findings with U.S. practitioners, policymakers, and funders.

“With one in seven youth in the U.S. considered disconnected, now is the time to maximize our collective global knowledge and best practices around this issue,” said IYF President and CEO Bill Reese. “For 26 years, IYF’s work has focused on identifying and supporting proven solutions for young people around the globe. We couldn’t be more pleased to be working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to bring valuable international lessons to bear on the challenges facing America’s opportunity youth.”

“We know good ideas have no borders,” said Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Director Karabi Acharya. “We’re eager to see what we might learn from overseas to help young people in America survive and thrive.”

Drawing on IYF’s extensive experience in promoting positive youth development and global network of partners, we will:

  • Identify and examine effective approaches from across the globe for reconnecting youth;
  • Distribute learnings through videos and case studies;
  • Facilitate knowledge-sharing through events and exchanges; and
  • Establish a global advisory committee of topical experts.

Ultimately, we seek to encourage global learning and energize support for holistic solutions that will provide millions of young Americans with chances to lead healthy, productive lives.

Sometimes a light from the outside can inspire new strategies, applications, and ideas. We look forward to igniting this spark.


Aug 24, 2016

Rethinking Priorities, Reimagining Possibilities: 2015 IYF Annual Report

Today's 1.2 billion young people must navigate a complex landscape of unprecedented technological change and marketplace shifts. In the forward-thinking 2015 IYF Annual Report "Rethinking Priorities, Reimagining Possibilities," we reflect on how to continue breaking down the barriers that hinder too many young people on the path to success.

Including a whiteboard animation, videos, blog posts, photos from the field, and quotes from young people, employers, and partner organizations, this annual report is not list of accomplishments. Rather, we are examining what has worked and how, in our ever-changing world, the development community can think creatively and practically and act purposefully to drive real change.

The report centers on three key priorities based on our new strategic plan, completed in 2015:

  • 5 Truths about Future-Proof Skills: Employers and educators now agree on the critical value of life skills, or non-cognitive skills, which are at the heart of IYF's commitment to positive youth development.
  • Scaling up for Exponential Growth: How do you work within existing systems as effectively as possible to reach as many young people as possible? Learn the five elements we have seen to be key.
  • Young Leaders Pioneering Change: With their passion and creativity, young people like our YouthActionNet® Fellows have shown their power to shape the future for the better.

In more than a quarter century working to put youth at the top of the global agenda, IYF has learned countless lessons. While so much has changed since 1990, our unwavering commitment to supporting young people as they reach their full potential has not.

Read the full 2015 IYF Annual Report, "Rethinking Priorities, Reimagining Possibilities."


May 25, 2016

EquipYouth Solves Employer's Hiring Problems

Like their counterparts around the world, one of the main difficulties Peruvian companies report is finding trained staff with technical knowledge and good soft skills. According to Cantol S.A.C., a metallurgical company that has been producing locks and other security products for more than 40 years, they have found a solution by hiring graduates of the EquipYouth initiative.

Launched by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and the Caterpillar FoundationCaterpillar's philanthropic organization, in 2012, EquipYouth trains young people to acquire in-demand technical skills. In complement, program participants learn valuable life skills such as teamwork, punctuality, and goal-setting through IYF’s Passport to Success® curriculum. Cantol took its first EquipYouth graduates in June 2013, and today the company works directly with IYF local partner TecSup

Pilar, Selection Analyst at Cantol, sees the value of the initiative's combined technical and life skills approach. “The profile of the project graduates has fit what we need and expect,” she says. “The experience we have had with the young people from this project has been extremely positive.”

"On interviewing the first EquipYouth applicants, we were impressed by their knowledge and enthusiasm to be a part of our company,” Pilar says. “It is inevitable that we make comparisons [with other staff], but we could clearly see considerable differences.

The company representative also sees the initiative as filling an important societal void. “This kind of project gives these disadvantaged young people something to aim for—gives direction to their lives, goals, and new plans,” says Pilar.

The benefits have been mutual. "To begin with, our aim was to support a project that was helping those in need,” Pilar explains, “But we later realized that many of the young people had a great deal to offer our company. The project benefits young people, society, and companies such as ours.”



donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $50
  • $100
  • $1,000
  • $50
    each month
  • $100
    each month
  • $1,000
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of International Youth Foundation

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about International Youth Foundation on
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.