The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions to support nonprofit organization working with disconnected youth

September 19, 2022

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation in partnership with the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions (AIFCS) recently invited several local nonprofit organizations that focus on engaging disconnected young adults (Opportunity Youth – OY) to participate in an information session to identify at least one local organization to be part of The Aspen Institute’s Innovation Fund. OY are defined as young adults between the ages of 16-24 who are not in school, not working or working in very low-wage positions, or not in any postsecondary setting. It is estimated that there are 15,800 OY in El Paso County.

Hannah Gourgey, Ph.D., Senior Fellow with the Aspen Institute, shared information on the criteria for funding. The selected organization(s) would receive $204,000 in financial support over three-years within three phases: planning, pilot testing and implementation. Eligible organizations must be focused on serving opportunity youth directly or include opportunity youth-specific programming among their services. The overall goal is to build the selected organization’s capacity by increasing the number of opportunity youth and young adults served and develop a blended revenue model that enables both program expansion and sustainability.

The Health Foundation provided a $264,000 grant to AIFCS to support the Innovation Fund and AIFCS’s technical experience to help a local organization(s) develop new programming and public funding for sustainable OY programs in El Paso.

The selected organization(s) will be announced in November.

Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions was launched in 2012 in response to the social challenges affecting people in need to promote collaborative, community-based efforts that build the power and influence of those with the least access to opportunity, and support communities to come together to expand mobility, eliminate systemic barriers, and create their own solutions to their most pressing challenges.

To learn more, visit

PDNHF Initiative: Healthy Kids

The goal of the Healthy Kids Initiative is to improve a range of health outcomes by engaging disconnected youth in the Paso del Norte region in high quality programs during out-of-school hours. The Health Foundation refers to “disconnected youth” as people between the ages of 5-17 who are not involved in out-of-school activities or not working, and “disconnected young adults” as people between the ages of 16-24 who are not in school and not working. Evidence indicates that youth who are involved in out-of-school programs are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, or be involved in criminal activity. Well-designed youth activities increase protective factors needed for youth to lead healthy and productive lives.

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Foundation Staff: Sandra Day

Additional Links

Healthy Kids

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