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Community Programs to Promote Youth Development
New Mexico used tobacco settlement funds to create a special trust fund for after-school programs.
Kansas has created an Endowment for Youth Fund into which it has placed all of its tobacco settlement funds, the income from which will support a broad Children’s Initiative Fund.
Other innovative ideas continue to be developed: San Francisco uses fees from real estate developers, Massachusetts sells a special “Invest in Children” license plate, and Colorado offers a voluntary contribution check-off on income tax forms to finance improvements in child care.
The New York State Youth Bureau system has also developed a youth development framework for much of its cross-departmental funding. Founded in 1971, the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus has over 200 members representing youth bureaus and youth boards, not-for-profit youth service organizations, and municipalities throughout New York State. The mission of the association is to promote the physical, emotional, and social well-being of youth and families in New York State through a unified, statewide network of youth service programs and professionals. New York State has 109 county, town, city, and village youth bureaus. This network has grown steadily since 1945 and now encompasses all 62 counties, including New York City. Youth bureaus support youth development programs that address identified community needs. Community members, local businesses, human service professionals, educators, clergy, parents, and young people are all a part of the planning process.
In a publication commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to assist its Urban Health Initiative, the Finance Project listed other strategies to maximize the amounts of funds available and their efficient use. These include efficiencies from colocation of staff and purchasing pools, as well as state and county action to pool or decategorize funds from various sources so as to make them more user-friendly for community agencies. Pooling and decategorization have been used in Iowa; Missouri; and Monroe County (Rochester), New York (O’Brien, 1997).
Charter schools are another important new state and local source of financing. As discussed previously, there is increased interest in connecting activities during out-of-school time more closely to what children are doing in school (without losing a broader youth development focus). Charter schools enable a program that works with young people after