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Pathways to Progress

The future competitiveness of urban centers around the world hinges on the positive economic outcomes of young people. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping today's youth place themselves on a path to economic success, the Citi Foundation is focused on providing youth with the career readiness tools and opportunities needed to thrive in the 21st century economy. We call this approach Pathways to Progress.

Pathways to Progress comprises programs across the globe that are helping youth build an entrepreneurial mindset, acquire leadership, financial and workplace skills, and begin to engage in the formal economy through a first job. Through these economic onramps, youth are actively steering their futures towards financial success.

As part of our Pathways to Progress approach, the Citi Foundation commissioned The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conduct a global research effort that offers an in-depth look at how 35 cities support young people's economic ambitions. In November 2015, we released Accelerating Pathways, research aimed at filling a gap in the understanding of city-level factors that affect how young people realize their economic potential.

Visit the Accelerating Pathways website to learn more and explore the research findings.

Pathways to Progress Program Highlights

In the United States

In 2014, as part of our Pathways to Progress approach, the Citi Foundation made a three-year, $50 million commitment to boost the career readiness of 100,000 low-income youth in 10 cities across the United States. This investment is comprised of four core program paths: entrepreneurship training, civic engagement opportunities, mentorship, and summertime employment, that seek to help urban young people, ages 16-24, increase their employability. The effort is strengthened by the active involvement of Citi volunteers in these markets.

Key programs as part of our $50MM U.S. commitment include:


Powered by the Citi Foundation, AmeriCorps and Points of Light, ServiceWorks is a national program that uses volunteer service to help young people develop the critical leadership and workplace skills they need to prepare for college and careers. Learn More.

Summer Jobs Connect

Through Summer Jobs Connect, the Citi Foundation, with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, is setting young people on the path to economic success through summer jobs. As part of their experience, participants also receive financial education and access to financial tools to create a platform for their future. Learn More.

Make Your Job

Make Your Job is an intensive, national program led by Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the Citi Foundation that empowers young people to develop the entrepreneurial mindset and business skills needed to make their own job and succeed in the modern workforce. Learn More.

Mentorship 2.0

Through collaborations with iMentor and Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), the Citi Foundation supports mentoring efforts that act as a cornerstone of college and career readiness and professional development for youth. Learn more about MLT. Learn More about iMentor.

Youth Opportunity Fund

Launched in 2015, the Youth Opportunity Fund – now in its second year – awarded a total of $6 million in support of programs that connect youth, ages 16 to 24, to opportunities that increase their employability and prepare them to compete and thrive in a 21st century economy. To date, 24 organizations across the Pathways to Progress cities have received support to reach more than 7,000 youth. Learn more.


The Citi Foundation supports programming focused on developing youth economic opportunities across Latin American & the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific.

BN Vocational School

BN Vocational School (BNVS) is China's first tuition-free, non-profit vocational secondary school. Subsidized by the Project Hope of the China Youth Development Foundation and Project Hope's Vocational Education Fund, BNVS provides 2-year formal vocational education to youth from disadvantaged families. Since 2011, the Citi Foundation has supported BNVS, funding its daily operations and teaching. In 2014, the Citi Foundation began working innovatively with BNVS to build the school's capacity (from developing an information management system to providing strategic planning on campus expansion) and to further promote the BN model to serve more disadvantaged youth. To date, over 2,500 youth from migrant families have successfully graduated from BNVS schools and all have found skills-based jobs after graduation. Learn More.

Junior Achievement

For nearly three decades, Citi and the Citi Foundation have been among JA's strongest supporters globally, contributing financially to its mission and operations around the world. In 2015, the Citi Foundation provided more than $4 million of funding to support JA initiatives in 51 countries. Programs funded in 2015 are aimed at improving young people's financial and entrepreneurship skills. Every year, approximately 2,000 Citi volunteers engage in JA programming and Citi seniors hold positions in more than 60 JA local and regional board seats, as well as the Global Board of Governors. One flagship program funded through the Citi Foundation and implemented by JA is "Mujeres Emprendedoras" (Women for Development) across Latin America. The program works with women between the ages of 18 and 25 to deliver entrepreneurship and empowerment trainings across the region. This program links entrepreneurship education and access to capital through local microfinance institutions for low-income women and enables participants to build and manage a viable, income-generating business that can flourish and provide an income for the individual and their families for the long term. Learn More.


The Citi Foundation is working in partnership with the global non-profit TechnoServe across five countries in Africa to support young urban entrepreneurs, with a particular emphasis on women and girls. Each project is tailored to local needs and market conditions, but all deliver business skills training, ongoing mentoring support, and access to markets. For example in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, the Citi Foundation is supporting the establishment of women-owned neighborhood stores, whilst in Johannesburg, South Africa, TechnoServe is building an exciting new and replicable model to provide access to market for young entrepreneurs that also serves to drive township economies. Learn More.

Youth Business International

The Citi Foundation has partnered with Youth Business International (YBI) to create a new regional youth entrepreneurship program to expand youth economic opportunities across Europe. The program seeks to address the critical youth unemployment challenges in Western Europe and is being delivered in six countries. YBI members in the six countries are delivering youth entrepreneurship training to more than 5,000 young people and are expected to support the foundation or growth of over 1,700 businesses in the next two years. YBI members are creating meaningful job opportunities, developing employability skills, and linking youth to critical resources such as training and mentoring to further their development and leadership capabilities. Participating members share knowledge and best practices, helping each other build and strengthen their own strategy based on learning from others. Learn More.

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