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Contact(s):City Director Ken Richardson
501-371-4510

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Thursday, February 19, 2009

Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation Supports New Futures for Youth 12th Street Connections Initiative

12th Street Corridor to Receive Investment in Youth

The City of Little Rock is engaged in a multi-faceted approach to the revitalization of the 12th Street Corridor.

Those efforts received a boost today when it was announced that the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is providing funding in the amount of $50,000 to New Futures for Youth to support planning of 12th Street Connections, a project focused on connecting youth in Midtown Little Rock with expanded educational and career opportunities.

According to a recent U.S. census data count, there are more than 1,000 Little Rock teens ages 16 through 19 who have dropped out of school and are unemployed. This number represents a high number of youth with no connection to the traditional institutions and systems that prepare youth for the workforce and adulthood.

Little Rock Ward 2 City Director Ken Richardson expressed his appreciation for the support. “I want to thank the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation for joining the City, UAMS, and the Central Arkansas Library System in their support of the 12th Street corridor initiative. The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation’s investment in the human capital of the 12th Street corridor is greatly appreciated. As we focus on the continued revitalization and creating a new identity, we must focus on people in addition to infrastructure and beautification.”

“The 12th Street Connections program is an extension of Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment efforts which have been taking place in that neighborhood for over fifteen years,” continued Director Richardson. “As those efforts have evolved and matured, we are now prepared to take the next steps. This support helps those next steps move from dream to reality. They are timely because of the youth employment resources that have been tied to the recovery act and stimulus package recently approved in Washington DC.” 

“Stacks of research support this approach,” noted Dr. Mark Perry, Executive Director of New Futures for Youth. “Reconnecting young people with education and opportunities to prepare for the workforce not only pays dividends to the individual in terms of enhanced earning power but also to the community in terms of public safety. Building the infrastructure to ensure all Little Rock youth can make successful transitions to adulthood is a major focus of New Futures’ work.”

"The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation appreciates the opportunity to invest in a process that we anticipate will lead to better outcomes for youth and young adults in Little Rock,” stated Cory Anderson, Senior Program Associate of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. “We understand the challenges that young people face and want to be sure that there is an increased level of intentionality in how our community supports its youth."

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Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
Since 1974, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation has supported programs and organizations that improve the quality of life for all Arkansans and that promote systemic change. In committing itself to this mission, the Foundation continues the progressive, cutting-edge visionary work that Gov. Rockefeller undertook in his personal life and philanthropy. For more information on the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, go to www.wrfoundation.org.

New Futures for Youth
New Futures for Youth was established in 1988 as a collaborative of public and private, community and institutional representatives committed to improved outcomes for youth. Funding is provided through grants and contracts from sources interested in furthering this purpose. New Futures conducts research on issues affecting youth and families and provides training and technical assistance to individuals and organizations. New Futures also facilitates joint planning by community-based organizations, agencies, and institutions regarding strategies for addressing youth issues and implementing youth services. For more information on New Futures for Youth, visit www.newfuturesforyouth.org.

12th Street Corridor
The 12th Street Corridor plan is a collaborative process aimed at the revitalization of the central core of the Mid-City area of Little Rock. The eighteen month planning process started in 2008 and involves residents, churches, and businesses in creating a vision for the future. Crafton Tull Sparks Associates is working with City staff from various departments and elected officials to develop the 12th Street Corridor plan. The process is anticipated to be completed by early September of 2009. The boundaries of the 12th Street Corridor are I-630 on the north, University Avenue on the west, 16th Street on the south, and Woodrow Street on the east.

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