Youth Leadership Foundation, Inc.

The Youth Leadership Foundation builds character among youth in our nation's capital.

aka YLF/TAP/PALS   |   Washington, DC   |  www.helpingkids.org

Mission

The Youth Leadership Foundation (YLF) builds character among youth in our Nation’s Capital. Our signature programs — the Program for Academic & Leadership Skills (PALS) for young women and the Tenley Achievement Program (TAP) for young men — train young professionals and college-aged men and women to mentor 3rd–8th graders throughout the school-year.

Ruling year info

1997

Principal Officer

Mrs. Janaiha Bennett

Main address

1015 Fifteenth St NW Suite 600

Washington, DC 20005 USA

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EIN

52-2016259

NTEE code info

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

Performing Arts (A60)

Recreational and Sporting Camps (Day, Overnight, etc.) (N20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

YLF students and families face a number of obstacles related to concentrated disadvantage. Our community has identified three main obstacles they are facing, all supported by academic research and regional trends. First, students are exposed to negative influences. Our students say they are exposed to negative models of risk behavior through social media, peers at school and in their neighborhoods. Many of our youth live in environments with civic dis-affectation, crime, and other risk factors. Secondly, our students are behind academically. Our parents say that schools have not adequately increased their children's ability to think critically, communicate and compete academically, especially as they move into high school and higher education. Lastly, our parents are spread too thin. Our school partners notice students lack exposure to important academic and social resources, due to economic demands, time-constraints of families, and barriers resulting from cultural differences.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Tenley Achievement Program (TAP)

Forms young boys and men in character and academics in the Greater Washington Area.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Forms young girls and women in character and academics in the Greater Washington Area.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Regionally, we expect that there will be both immediate and distal impact from our work with students in the region. The most direct impact regionally would be improved academic outcomes, attendance rates, and the number of students receiving mentorship in the region. Distally, we expect our students an improvement in the college attainment and community service. YLF builds character and supports the pursuit of academic excellence enabling youth in the DC-MD-VA area to enhance the trajectory of the lives. Ultimately, YLF envisions alumni that are "happy, growing and gifts to others." 'Character, Career, and Community' is the three-pronged approach through which we achieve our long-term vision for students: YLF graduates are high schoolers with bright futures. They illuminate their homes with the spirit of friendship and fellowship. They are capable thinkers who are academically competitive. They are change-makers who are actively pondering their contributions in their communities.

Despite the challenges of our students may face in their environment, all of them have at least one committed parent and/or guardian involved in their lives. YLF reinforces the strength of that relationship to engage as a child as a person leading them to have success both inside of and outside of the classroom. We call this giving our students a concentrated advantage through the "three C's" of Character, Career, and Community. Our "Character and Mentoring" provides youth with positive influences. Specifically, we develop our students' ability to make constructive choices through experience with a mentor. One-on-one mentors develop a friendship with students and help them to set goals and solve problems. Our "Career and Education" emphasis increases student engagement and broadens resources for students and family to improve academic outcomes. We introduce engaging topics in familiar subjects to spark students' passion for learning. Our leadership development curriculum helps high schoolers take the next step in their growth through social entrepreneurship, college preparation, and professional development. Finally, our engagement in "Community and Family" helps our students appreciate their belongings in and responsibility for their community. We support parents as the primary and most vital aspect of student growth.

YLF prides itself on its leadership of the staff creating the content of the programs and the mentors teaching this content. Our staff consists of Rob DeSimone, who joined the organization in 2014 and has presided over the organization's strongest financial performance in a decade, Janaiha Bennett, who joined the Youth Leadership Foundation in 2006 as a mentor for the PALS program, Amanda Tindall, the current director of YLF's Program for Academic and Leadership Skills, and Fred Thomas, an alumnus and current director of YLF's Tenley Achievement Program. Our mentors seek to assist parents in the intellectual, moral, and physical education of their children. The mentor starts with a goal of who the student can become. Then, working in the context of each student's personal circumstances, the mentor teaches the student—through advice, example, and encouragement—how to acquire the virtues that will make that picture a reality. PALS and TAP, through its curriculum and discipline, teach our students character in the abstract. The mentors and teachers seek to exemplify and inculcate in the students these same character traits—addressing them specifically to each student's needs.

Youth Leadership Foundation has graduated over 4,000 students: 97% have graduated high school and 80% have continued their education beyond high school compared with 69% high school graduation and 48% college attainment among peers, regionally. Additionally, our graduates often return to us to serve as mentors, or to engage in social justice work because of their firsthand experience in our programs. 92% of YLF students report that they became more hopeful about their futures after their time with YLF mentors and 93% report being more goal-oriented. By 2020, we want to develop the best high-school mentoring program in the district. From 2014-2016, we asked 300+ parents and students how to improve our programs. They expressed a need for their child's experience in YLF to extend into high school. Our goals are to encourage our 10th, 11th, and 12th graders to leverage their good habits into a life plan to guide them through college and beyond, ink our top-performing middle-school students with opportunities to attend great high schools in the area, and increase the number of mentors available to YLF middle-school students.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    YLF serves 350 students aged 7 to 17 in the Washington Metro area, annually. YLF students primarily live and attend school in Washington, DC (77%), and attend public or public charter schools (67%). Our student body is increasingly mobile. In the District, over half of our students travel outside of their neighborhood to attend school. Many students attend our programs from Prince George’s county and the surrounding region (23%). Historically, our students’ backgrounds are a product of the school constituency we serve. In the 2019 program year, 98% of our students are black, 1% are Latino, and1% is multi-racial. YLF continues to support students and families from high-need communities--especially those at a concentrated disadvantage.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We have implemented a revamped high school program based on community feedback. Our high school program--the Virtuous Leadership Academy--implements a summer social entrepreneurship competition, and personal development workshops & mentoring during the school year. We have aligned our impact measures to the community priorities identified in our “needs” study. Through student surveys, parent feedback and a data-sharing agreement with our partner schools, we measure individual student growth, studying each of the "three C's" in our program model: Character, Career and Community.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Youth Leadership Foundation, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Youth Leadership Foundation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 5/17/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr Gerard Mitchell

Stein Mitchell Beato & Missner LLP

Term: 2003 -

Nancy Bassing

Fairmont Builders

David Moore

MidCap Finanical, LLC

Dwight Murray

Jordan, Coyne & Savits (Ret.)

Eric Yan

Ernst & Young

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/27/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/27/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.