News: Wyman Receives National Youth Opportunity Grant to Fund Career Opportunities for Youth

$250,000 grant provided by the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance will support innovative programs that prepare youth for future success

St. Louis, MO [Aug. 17, 2016] – The Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance  announced that youth in St. Louis will benefit from a $250,000 grant from the 2016 Youth Opportunity Fund, an initiative that supports programs that connect youth to opportunities that increase their employability and prepare them to compete and thrive in a 21st century economy.

Now in its second year, the Youth Opportunity Fund is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, and supports organizations that empower urban youth, ages 16 to 24.

The $250,000 award, provided to Wyman, will allow St. Louis to join other pilot cities, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., in receiving funding for programs that address youth unemployment through partnerships with select municipal governments and collaboration across industries.

The award will enable Wyman, which empowers teens, equips adults and strengthens systems in St. Louis and across the nation, to collaborate with STL Youth Jobs and the United Way of Greater St. Louis to:

  • Support teens more deeply as they explore and pursue a successful career path.
  • Prepare them to choose a career path that suits their strengths.
  • Help them select a path with earning potential for financial self-sufficiency later in life.

“This collaboration shows a strong commitment to supporting and training our young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods to connect them with jobs and a path toward a better future,” said City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “With programs like this, we will ensure that all our young people are exposed to quality job opportunities, learn the soft skills necessary to excel in school, and open up their eyes to the many careers that they may have never before considered. I applaud Citi and America’s Promise for investing in the City of St. Louis’s youth, and know that their investment will pay for itself in a new generation of young people passionate and successful in their careers.”

“This type of collaboration is necessary for both our youth, and our region, to succeed,” said Claire Wyneken, president-designate of Wyman. “We were able to team up with strong, existing partners in the region to create a support system that will help teens in St. Louis plan and pursue a more successful future for the long-term. All teens deserve to the opportunity to thrive in learning, work and life, but the reality is that too many teens are faced with systemic disadvantages and do not have the same level of mentoring or career planning systems in place to help them thrive. Working in concert with our partners, we will support more than 250 local youth by increasing their awareness of post-secondary and career opportunities, improving their job-seeking skills, and becoming actively engaged in the workforce.”

“Citi is committed to empowering urban youth through Pathways to Progress. We are honored to partner with Wyman, STL Youth Jobs and the United Way. Our partnership will contribute to an increased economic stability, opportunity and growth for area youth,” said Shawn Kormanek, Citi managing director and O’Fallon Site President.

“Since we launched the Youth Opportunity Fund, grantees have demonstrated what it takes to give young people the chance to unlock their full career and economic potential,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation. “We are excited to support the innovative work of partners like Wyman, and look forward to promoting their learnings and success.”

“Students who earn a high school diploma have a greater chance of becoming employed, but without the right skills and connections, better job opportunities may be out of reach,” said John Gomperts, president & CEO of America’s Promise. “The Youth Opportunity Fund helps to even the odds by giving more young people the training and support they need to get on a path to adult success.”

The program bolsters Wyman’s existing “Career Connections” program, which will now be expanded to include aptitude testing; job shadowing; leadership talks; career research; aligned course planning; career fairs; paid and school-credit internships, apprenticeships and work experiences; resume development; interview preparation; and connection to long-term volunteer career mentors who work in participants’ fields of interest.

Of the 250 teens served, STL Youth Jobs will place more than 30 teens in paid internships or summer jobs aligned to their field of study, and up to 50 will be placed in job shadowing opportunities. The United Way will connect 25 youth with individual career mentors.

“STL Youth Jobs creates opportunities for young people to gain essential job skills and experience to become our region’s future successful workforce. By bringing together our strengths, this collaboration is a perfect formula to ensure sustainable career development and success for our region’s young people,” said Hillary Frey, executive director of STL Youth Jobs.

“Our young people are the future of the St. Louis region and Citi Foundation’s significant investment in this new effort will have a long-lasting impact that we are proud to be a part of, along with Wyman and STL Youth Jobs,” said Orvin Kimbrough, president and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis. “By leveraging our strong relationships with employers in the region and our volunteer-matching infrastructure, we can help lay a strong foundation for career success and help young people live their best possible lives.”

In its first two years, over 70,000 young people have been impacted by the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, a three-year, $50 million commitment to give 100,000 youth from disadvantaged circumstances in the US the opportunity to develop workplace skills and leadership experience. To learn more about the Youth Opportunity Fund and see a full list of 2016 grantees, visit:

About STL Youth Jobs
STL Youth Jobs’ mission is to bridge the divide between our region’s youth and the growing skills gap in our workforce. STL Youth Jobs envisions a city where St. Louis youth have the opportunity they need to succeed and St. Louis businesses have the workforce they require to compete.

About United Way of Greater St. Louis
United Way of Greater St. Louis mobilizes the community with one goal in mind – helping people live their best possible lives. United Way helps one in three people in our 16-county region in Missouri and Illinois by supporting the foundation for a good quality of life through basic needs, education, financial stability, health and strong communities. For more information, visit

About Wyman
Wyman, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit and proud member of the United Way, has been dedicated to serving youth from disadvantaged circumstances for more than a century. Wyman empowers teens, equips adults and strengthens systems. Wyman’s engaging, empowering and experiential programs and services help teens build skills, develop a sense of self, and connections to their world. As a result, teens achieve educational success, develop healthy behaviors and relationships, and exhibit life and leadership skills. From thousands of teens in St. Louis – to tens of thousands nationally – Wyman programs and services make a difference in the lives of today’s teens and tomorrow’s leaders.

About America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance leads an alliance of organizations, communities and individuals dedicated to making the promise of America real for every child. As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce. For more information, visit

About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Kristin Gumper
Director, Communication & External Affairs