Dear City Year Community,
This annual report looks back on the 2020-2021 school year—a year unlike any other that we have encountered in our lifetimes. When the year began, the initial shock of the onset of a global pandemic had dampened, but a growing challenge stretched out before educators, students, families and all of us at City Year: how best to continue to support young people in an unprecedented time?
Schools in the 29 U.S. cities where City Year serves tackled this challenge with creativity and resilience—transitioning between virtual, hybrid and in-person learning. City Year adapted to this new and ever-changing context. Our AmeriCorps members, who serve as student success coaches, helped students reconnect with their school community, re-engage in their learning, recover from interrupted instructional time, and develop their own sense of agency and belonging. They supported dedicated teachers and sought to be a helpful, caring and steady presence in a time of disruption.
City Year also laid the groundwork to bring the student success coach model to more communities; advanced our learning and research agenda; helped progress policies and practices that support the whole child; sought to uphold the values of diversity, belonging, equity and inclusion in our organization and our work; guided networks of education leaders committed to improving schools; and strengthened the national service movement by growing and modernizing AmeriCorps with our partners at Voices for National Service. We also strived to normalize conversations about mental health within City Year and provide more mental health supports to our staff and corps. You can learn more by reading the impact story in this annual report.
The pandemic has magnified the educational inequities that too many students experience and made our work both more challenging and more urgent. Our progress was only possible because of a broad network of deeply committed public and private-sector partners—generous individuals and families, companies, foundations, schools, school districts, AmeriCorps, and City Year alumni. People like you, who offer City Year critical support in so many forms, including financial resources, expertise and collaboration. We would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to an extraordinary City Year champion, David L. Cohen. After two decades of dedicated service as trustee, vice chair and chair, Cohen stepped down from our board last fall when he was appointed by President Biden as U.S. Ambassador to Canada.
To the hundreds of supporters listed in this report, thank you. Thank you for believing in us and thank you for helping us do our part to create conditions for young people to develop their skills, meet their potential and flourish in school and in adulthood.
Jim Balfanz (Boston ’94)
Chief Executive Officer
George Nichols III
National Board Chair