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Project U-Turn

About the Collaboration

Spring 2011 Steering Committee Members
  • Center for Literacy
  • Center for Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins University
  • City of Philadelphia, Mayor’s Office of Education, Department of Human Services,
  • City of Philadelphia, Mayor’s Office of Health and Opportunity,
  • City of Philadelphia, Mayor’s Office Department of Recreation
  • Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • District Attorney’s Office
  • Family Division, Court of Common Pleas
  • Nu Sigma Youth Services/Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti Violence Network
  • Pennsylvania Academic and Career Technical Training Alliance
  • Public Citizens for Children and Youth
  • Philadelphia Education Fund
  • Philadelphia Youth Network (managing partner)
  • School District of Philadelphia
  • United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania
  • William Penn Foundation
  • Youth Empowerment Services
  • Youth United for Change
  • Project U-Turn recognizes that the dropout issue is something that has an impact on all systems and is not only a school-focused issue. Because of this, the collaboration situated the work within the youth workforce development system where Project U-Turn operates as a subcommittee of the local youth council. The committee focuses on all dimensions of the dropout issue, including economic implications for the city. Project U-Turn’s programmatic initiatives focus both on supporting prevention and in-school interventions to reduce the number of youth dropping out of school as well as efforts to support the reengagement of youth who are no longer in the school system.
  • The collaboration began in 2004-2005 when Philadelphia was one of five cities selected to receive a grant from the Youth Transition Funders Group (YTFG), a set of regional and national funders dedicated to improving educational outcomes for disconnected youth, to focus on the dropout crisis.
  • The grant from YTFG required a cross-sector collaboration to drive strategic action and gain community support for addressing the dropout problem in Philadelphia. Having this provision within the initial funding requirements provided the catalyst for the development of Project U-Turn.
  • The city-wide collaboration is predominately focused on a policy agenda rather than on a program, although key partners in the collaborative design and implement programmatic interventions aligned with the key priorities of Project U-Turn.
  • As of 2010, Project U-Turn incorporates over 50 organizations with a core steering committee of 22 organizations and agencies including representatives of the school district, city agencies, foundations, youth-serving organizations, universities, parents, and young people..
  • The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) acts as an intermediary to support the collaboration by coordinating and building relationships between all the participating organizations and supporting development of the agenda, workplan, and funding efforts.