A major multi-state provider of child welfare services will receive perhaps one of the largest grants ever made to a social service agency to expand its transitional living program for youth aging out of foster care.
Youth Villages, a Memphis, Tenn.-based nonprofit that operates residential and community youth programs in 12 states, will receive a $42 million challenge grant from The Day Foundation. YV will start receiving the grant money soon, but it is also required to match the $42 million with commitments from other revenue streams.
The Day Foundation was founded by businessman Clarence Day in 1960. Day, who died two years ago in a car accident at the age of 82, was a longtime supporter of YV. He earlier donated $14 million to its transitional living programs, which help older teens in foster care prepare for adulthood with counseling, job training and living assistance.
“He had been wanting to make a difference and hit up our CEO [Patrick Lawler] to ask who needed the most help where there was nobody helping?” Sonja Luecke, a spokesperson for YV, said of Day. “The answer was, youth who are aging out. Since then, he’s been funding the transitional living program.”
YV’s transitional living program is currently serving 1,452 foster youth in eight states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Luecke said the infusion of funds will mean the organization will be able to serve 9,000 teens over the next five years, partly by supporting existing programs and partly by setting up transitional living programs “where we have offices but no current TLP.”
According to a map of services on the organization’s website, expansion could reach New Hampshire, Arkansas, Virginia, and Oregon, where YV recently merged with 152 year-old youth service provider ChristieCare.