First Place for Youth

At a Glance

National Office: 
426 17th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-272-0979

Sam Cobbs
People Served: 
1,700
Tax ID: 
94-3341034

Focus area(s):

Personal & Leadership Development
Job/Career Development
Housing & Homelessness

Description

First Place for Youth is a California-based organization founded to prevent poverty and homelessness among the growing, yet largely overlooked population of youth who “age out” of the foster care system on or around their 18th birthday. First Place utilizes a comprehensive service delivery model to effectively promote youth success in the key areas required for a healthy adulthood: permanent housing, employment, education, life skills and leadership development, and community connections. 

Impact and Outcomes

Outcome data show that while 65% of former foster youth in California face imminent homelessness, 84% of First Place youth achieve stable housing.
While only 46% of California’s foster youth complete high school, 76% of First Place youth earn their high school diploma or GED.
While only 29% of California’s foster youth are employed after exiting care, 77% of First Place youth are employed or have increased their wages.

Mission & Goals

The mission of First Place is to support youth in their transition from foster care to successful adulthood by promoting choices and strengthening individual and community resources. These youth are highly vulnerable and at-risk for becoming homeless, unemployed, and living in poverty. The goal of the organization is to ensure that all foster youth have the opportunity to experience a safe, supported transition to adulthood. First Place’s programs establish a sense of permanency for youth, enabling them to develop their self-esteem, education and career goals, and self-sufficiency skills.

Program

First Place’s services were designed to tackle the fundamental issues of housing, employment, and education—three areas that can significantly change the course of a youth’s life. The My First Place supportive housing program is a 24-month program that provides high-risk former foster youth access to safe, affordable housing, and an opportunity to develop and practice the skills needed to achieve long-term self-sufficiency. Youth are provided with a shared two-bedroom apartment (a single apartment if they are pregnant or parenting), weekly home-based case management, and an ongoing range of support services, including rental subsidies, economic literacy and parenting support. 

With their housing stabilized, youth can focus on advancing their education goals and improving their economic security. Youth are given an initial education/employment assessment and are assigned an Education and Employment Specialist (EES). They meet weekly with their Specialist to continue to further their goals around obtaining living wage employment, finishing their high school diploma or GED certificate, and enrolling in post-secondary education. The ongoing case management approach and low client-to-staff ratios promote strong relationships with youth and has proven that First Place is effective at meeting their unique needs, thereby helping at-risk youth become stably housed and independent.

Impact

As the largest housing provider for former foster youth in California, First Place has a long history of delivering results with the youth we serve. First Place sets high standards for youth—encouraging them to obtain stable housing and set and reach academic goals, while also providing them with the tools needed to navigate and move up in the workforce. Without First Place’s programs and services, the chance that former foster youth will secure adequate housing for themselves is low. In 2010, the organization provided core services to nearly 400 youth turned out of the foster care:

  • 84% of youth took over their lease or exited the program into safe, affordable housing.
  • 78% obtained employment with an average wage of $10.15/hour.
  • 76% of eligible youth obtained their high school diploma or GED certificate.
  • 97% of youth without a high school diploma were actively enrolled in school. 
  • 84% were successfully enrolled in post-secondary education.

 

First Place evaluates program success through our Efforts to Outcomes Software System, known internally as Impact Tracker, which maintains a daily record of how many youth progress in the program. Youth undergo an intake assessment when they enter the program to examine risk factors, foster care history, housing, and education/employment needs. Results are summarized annually and compared to outcomes among the general population of former foster youth. Data collected includes:  employment and wages high school completion, college enrollment, healthy living and parenting skills, mental and physical health, and incidents of violence.

Growth Plan

Since inception in 1998, First Place has grown from a grassroots project into a thriving community-based organization, providing support services to youth in five California counties: Alameda, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Solano and Los Angeles. First Place has built a solid and diverse fundraising plan in order to secure support from a mix of government, foundation, corporate, and individual contributors, allowing for the organization to sustain services and embark on its ambitious Strategic Plan for 2009-2013.

The First Place strategic plan calls for strengthening program impact by increasing the number of transition-age foster youth who receive supportive housing by 50% (from the current 361 youth to 600 youth) and steadily increasing the budget each year. First Place successfully expanded into Los Angeles in 2010, serving all of Los Angeles County, with particular emphasis on South Central Los Angeles and Downtown Los Angeles, where the largest percentage of homeless youth resides. At plan’s end, First Place will be changing the lives of 16% of the State’s foster youth who would otherwise exit foster care homeless, unemployed and lacking a strong educational foundation.

In addition to program expansion, First Place will help youth achieve and sustain higher measures of success by expanding our education and employment services, adding next generation alumni services, and conducting an implementation study with our partner, Public/Private Ventures, to prepare First Place for the launch of a rigorous external evaluation. First Place will also focus on effectively advocating for transitioning foster youth by supporting policy changes at the federal level, working to sustain funding at the state level, and increasing knowledge in the field by disseminating the First Place best practices model.

In order to accomplish these goals, the organization will need to target of a minimum of 70% public funding for programs. Private sources, including foundation and individual dollars, will supplement the remainder. Private dollars will cover start-up costs for expansion sites, evaluation, infrastructure investments, headquarter costs, and operating reserves. In FY13, First Place revenue will increase to $11.5 million.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
426 17th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-272-0979
List of locationsMap of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:

California

Financials

Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:

2013

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$4,000,000
Government Funding: 
$7,031,105
Contributions from Individuals: 
$650,000
Special Events: 
$300,000
Program Services Fees: 
$95,000
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$5,000
Other Revenue (Description): 
Interest
Total Revenue: 
$12,081,105

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$5,700,342
Occupancy: 
$575,400
Travel & Entertainment: 
$43,924
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$0
Telephone & Communications: 
$137,280
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$5,240,903
Other Expenses (Description): 

Youth related program expenses: rent, travel, grocery vouchers, move in/out costs, transition support, program supplies, and community events, as well as office supplies, printing and postage.  Staff related expenses: mileage, clinical supervision, training, consultants, professional development, as well as office supplies, printing, postage.

 

Please note: The First Place fiscal year ends on June 30th of each year. Audited financials are not available until later in the calendar year.

Total Expenses: 
$11,697,849

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$383,256

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2012

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$3,216,591
Government Funding: 
$5,829,488
Contributions from Individuals: 
$414,626
Program Services Fees: 
$104,148
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$308,165
Other Revenue (Description): 
Interest
Special Events: 
$153,314
Total Revenue: 
$10,026,332

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$4,833,618
Occupancy: 
$521,039
Travel & Entertainment: 
$40,317
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$0
Telephone & Communication: 
$123,197
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$4,800,607
Other Expenses (Description): 

Youth related program expenses: rent, travel, grocery vouchers, move in/out assistance, transition support, program supplies, community events, and office supplies, printing and postage. Staff related expenses: Mileage, clinical supervision, training, consultants, professional development, telephone and communications, and office supplies, printing and postage.

 

Please Note: The First Place fiscal year ends on June 30th of each year. Audited financials are not available until later in the calendar year. 

Total Expenses: 
$10,318,778

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$-292,446

Major Funders

Andrus Family Fund, $200,000, general operating support

Bank of America Foundation, $200,000, general operating support

California Wellness Foundation, $225,000, general operating support

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, $450,000, program support

David B. Gold Foundation, $150,000, general operating support

Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, $2,000,000, general operating support

James Irvine Foundation, $275,000, evaluation project

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $500,000, evaluation project

Stuart Foundation, $150,000, general operating support

Tipping Point Community, $300,000, general operating support

Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation, $100,000, capital expenses for First Steps Community Resource Center