YouthBuild U.S.A.

At a Glance

National Office: 
58 Day Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Phone: 617-741-1288

Dorothy Stoneman
People Served: 
Year Founded: 
Tax ID: 

Focus area(s):

After-School & Out-of-School
Personal & Leadership Development
Job/Career Development
Economic Development


YouthBuild is a youth and community development program that helps break the cycle of poverty as young people, ages 16 to 24, work full-time for 6-24 months toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while building local affordable housing.  Leader­ship development, job training, education, and community service help lead young people into college, careers, and civic engagement.

Impact and Outcomes

Since 1994, more than 130,000 YouthBuild students have produced more than 28,000 units of affordable, increasingly green housing in rural and urban communities across the United States
YouthBuild programs now engage 10,000 young adults annually in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands to rebuild their communities and their lives
Return on Investment: a minimum of $10.80 and up to $43.90 for every dollar spent on a court-involved youth participant in a YouthBuild program
Impact on graduates: 75% of YouthBuild graduates are employed at an average wage of $10/hour up to 7 years after program completion
Recidivism rates for court involved YouthBuild students are 40 percentage points lower than the national average
74% of enrollees completed the program, 72% of these obtained their GED or diploma, 52% of graduates went on to postsecondary education or jobs averaging $9.18 an hour

Matching Gift

SIF will match gifts at a ratio of 1:1 for up to $5.5 million, between April 1, 2011 until March 31, 2016.

Mission & Goals

YouthBuild USA’s mission is to unleash the positive energy of low-income young adults to rebuild their communities and their lives, breaking the cycle of poverty with a commitment to work, education, community, and family.  YouthBuild USA’s organizational goals include increasing the number of youth enrolled annually, improving academic and employment outcomes for youth, generating more trained young leaders, developing communities by producing affordable green housing, increasing public commitment to reconnecting all youth and diminishing poverty, and strengthening YouthBuild USA to create, manage, and sustain growth.

YouthBuild USA’s Postsecondary Education (PSE) Initiative creates and further expands educational opportunities. YouthBuild USA and local YouthBuild programs developed and implemented this scalable model that supports disconnected students through postsecondary degree and credential programs. By 2012, over half of all young people enrolled in participating YouthBuild programs will progress into postsecondary education/credential programs. Over half of graduates who start, will complete degrees and credentials with labor market value. 


In local YouthBuild programs, unemployed and undereducated low-income youth (ages 16-24) who left high school without a diploma re-enroll in an alternative school where they earn their high school diplomas or GEDs and learn job skills by building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people.

YouthBuild USA is adding to this model an intentional pathway for graduates to transition into and succeed in postsecondary education, including two- and four-year colleges, one-year technical colleges, and registered apprenticeships that connect young people to meaningful career opportunities.

The PSE Initiative combines rigorous and relevant academic content, engaging teaching practices, developmentally appropriate and proactive graduate support systems (including adults and peers), and deep partnerships with postsecondary institutions. This combination of program interventions is dramatically increasing the percentage of YouthBuild students completing high school and postsecondary credentials.

The success of YouthBuild graduates across the nation is illuminating a new and replicable model for community based organizations and postsecondary institutions to create strong and mutually accountable partnership arrangements. With clearly defined roles and responsibilities, these partnerships proactively share staff, resources, data, instructional delivery efforts and student support responsibilities to improve postsecondary completion for low-income youth.


Local YouthBuild programs across the country serve low-income young people ages 16-24, who have left high school without a diploma. Currently, over 200 domestic YouthBuild programs serve more than 10,000 students.

Across the YouthBuild network:

  • 93% of students do not have a high school diploma or GED
  • 51% are African American
  • 24% are Latino
  • 69% are men
  • 31% are women
  • 45% have received public assistance 
  • 32% are court-involved
  • 31% are parents
  • Average reading and math levels at entry are 7th and 5th grade, respectively

A pilot group of seven local YouthBuild programs participating in the YouthBuild USA Postsecondary Education Initiative has accomplished considerable impact in the last few years. These programs have:

  • Achieved a GED/high school diploma attainment rate of 72% (up from 51% at baseline)
  • Enrolled 43%  of program enrollees in postsecondary education; (up from 20% at baseline); and
  • 74.6% of those enrolled in PSE by June 2011, persisted through two semesters or more.

The YouthBuild PSE Initiative was recently expanded to include 26 local YouthBuild programs, serving more than 1,500 low-income students who are being prepared to enroll in and complete college, as well as registered apprenticeships. 73.9% of those enrolled in college through 2011 have persisted through to their second semester, and 48.3 percent to their third semester. 

Overall, YouthBuild programs currently have a moderate research evidence base. YouthBuild USA has completed many qualitative research studies to provide evidence of effectiveness for various elements of the YouthBuild program model, including impact on GED attainment rates, postsecondary access rates, and cost benefits of program impacts on youthful offenders.

However, YouthBuild anticipates two upcoming research studies will move YouthBuild toward a much stronger evidence categorization. Brandeis University is conducting another quasi-experimental study regarding effectiveness of our PSE initiative strategy, and MDRC is implementing a randomized, controlled, multi-site trial.

Growth Plan

In 2008, YouthBuild USA, Inc. developed a five year business plan in partnership with Growth Philanthropy Network designed to double the number of YouthBuild students engaged annually from 8,000 to 16,000 and increase various aspects of our program quality and impact.  We are pleased to report that we exceeded the growth target, and achieved targeted program enhancements. In the USA, YouthBuild grew to 268 locations in 2013, engaging 10,000 young people.  In Haiti, Mexico, South Africa, and 11 other countries, YouthBuild International grew to 102 locations engaging 12,000 young people.  Thus, the total number of YouthBuild students for 2013 was 22,000.  In this process we were invited into new countries in desperate need of ways of engaging young adults in a productive way, including Israel and Iraq.  
We are now developing our next 5 year strategic plan for growth and impact, supported pro bono by New Profit, Inc. and Monitor Deloitte, which will be complete in the first quarter of 2015.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
58 Day Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Phone: 617-741-1288
List 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:








District Of Columbia



















North Carolina

North Dakota


New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico


New York





Rhode Island

South Carolina





Virgin Islands




West Virginia


Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:



Corporate Grants: 
Foundation Grants: 
Government Funding: 
Contributions from Individuals: 
Special Events: 
Program Services Fees: 
Membership Dues: 
Other Earned Income: 
Other Revenue: 
Total Revenue: 


Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
Travel & Entertainment: 
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
Telephone & Communications: 
Payments to Affiliates: 
Other Expenses: 
Other Expenses (Description): 

Other Expenses (Description): 

Other Expenses (Description): 

Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 


Net Gain/Loss: 

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:



Corporate Grants: 
Foundation Grants: 
Government Funding: 
Contributions from Individuals: 
Program Services Fees: 
Membership Dues: 
Other Earned Income: 
Other Revenue: 
Other Revenue (Description): 
Other Revenue Description: $243,157 Donated Services; $198,597 Investment Income; $133,804 Donated Goods; $5,365 Products; $15,467 Other
Special Events: 
Total Revenue: 


Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
Travel & Entertainment: 
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
Telephone & Communication: 
Payments to Affiliates: 
Other Expenses: 
Other Expenses (Description): 

Other Expense Decription:  $289,991 Miscellaneous; $133,804 Donated Goods; $122,095 Gifts to Youth; $118,005 Depreciation; $220,140 Other

Total Expenses: 


Net Gain / Loss: 

Major Funders

Bank of America Charitable Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
Corporation for National and Community Service
The Kresge Foundation
MasterCard Foundation
New Profit, Inc./Social Innovation Fund
Open Society Foundations
Prudential Foundation
Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation
Skoll Foundation
US Agency for International Development
US Department of Agriculture
US Department of Energy
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
US Department of Justice
US Department of Labor
Walmart Foundation
JPMorgan Chase Foundation
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Starbucks Foundation
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Noyce Foundation
Inter-American Development Bank