YouthBuild Asset Trust for Graduates

At YouthBuild USA, we recognize just how important $2,000 can be.  We provide about 80 grants each year through the YouthBuild Asset Trust for Graduates, giving outstanding young leaders scholarships for college or emergency financial support to overcome a crisis or seize an unexpected opportunity.

We do not make loans; we make gifts, and ask the recipients to pay it forward to assist someone else when they are able.   

The mission of the Asset Trust, established with a $300,000 grant from the Ford Foundation in 2002, is to assist low-income young adults to lift themselves out of poverty and achieve their goals of economic independence through education, career enhancement, and the accumulation of assets; and to enhance their roles as leaders in their communities by providing these young leaders with resources, mentoring, and support.

Sometimes these gifts are $2,000, and sometimes they are a lot less.  The average gift amount is about $1,400.  No matter the amount, the significance to the receiver is enormous.  Here are just a few examples of how the YouthBuild Asset Trust has recently provided support to graduates in moments of need and opportunity:

  • $1,300 gift to graduate to purchase a laptop for his classwork at his community college.
  • $250 to a graduate to buy the clothes he needed to attend his nephew’s funeral.
  • $736 to a graduate to pay for his fiancé’s visit to the emergency room (originally a $6,200 bill that he was able to negotiate down to the amount of the Asset Trust gift).
  • $200 to a graduate to purchase business clothes for a new job.
  • $400 to a graduate  who needed to purchase tools to fulfill his role in a new job as a newly accepted member of the ironworkers union.
  • $2,000 scholarships to 40 graduate leaders to go to college.

We are happy to provide gifts that can help graduates overcome a short-term financial need when they have no one else to turn to. We see these gifts as investments in the futures of rising young leaders who will serve their communities with honor.