LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Empowering youth to launch meaningful careers

Fulfillment Fund uplifts young people from poverty, changing the trajectory of their lives and future generations by empowering them to get into and graduate from college and embark on meaningful career paths that jump start economic mobility. Starting in 9th grade, our career readiness programming exposes students to various fields, gives them concrete steps to get there (soft skills training, networking connections, first job opportunities), and provides them intensive support to translate their college degree into career success.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Youth Economic Advancement (sponsored by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation)

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Despite the value proposition of college, postsecondary enrollment among low-income students has declined dramatically since 2020. While more than 70% of jobs require a college degree, low-income students are less likely to persist and graduate. Further, today's graduates need more than a degree to secure well-paying jobs; "soft skills" such as critical thinking, effective communication, leadership, and professionalism are important factors in hiring. Yet, low-income students do not have ready exposure or training in their families/communities to successfully secure or succeed in those first jobs-they are unaware of the skills needed to compete and lack access to networks that can help them reach their highest potential. Without proper guidance, starting in high school and continuing through college, to pursue careers that lead to economic mobility, low-income students risk becoming un-or under-employed while also contending with college debt.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Fulfillment Fund remains the largest nonprofit in L.A. providing college access opportunities for high schoolers AND sticking with them throughout college to ensure they graduate and embark on a successful career path. We consistently achieve remarkable outcomes. Last year 93% of our high school seniors graduated vs. 81% for LAUSD overall; 88% of our high school graduates enrolled in post-secondary programs; and 95% of our college students continued to persist toward or graduate with their chosen degree. While incredibly valuable, a college degree only nudges the door open. To truly achieve sustained economic mobility, low-income students need more intensive support to help them successfully transition from school into meaningful careers. Grant funding will allow us to deepen our impact by enhancing and expanding our Career Readiness programming which currently includes a Career Speaker Series (featuring professionals from a variety of fields), Career Expo (career field workshops and structured networking opportunities), skills workshops (resume writing, interviewing, etc.), and connections to exclusive jobs/paid internships offered at no cost to high school and college students. Funding will also allow us to expand our Career Readiness service offerings to include personalized career readiness services, and to develop an active Alumni Association that will support graduating college seniors and recent alumni with career advisement, coaching, and mentoring.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

We seek to create systemic and generational change-using education to advance opportunity, widen perspectives, and break down barriers that perpetuate poverty. For our students, who hail from first-generation families in low-income communities, education is key to economic mobility. We support these students to overcome financial roadblocks, cultural expectations and responsibilities, and geographic limitations, to give them the opportunities, resources, and skills they need to complete high school, graduate from college, and launch a promising career. By evolving and scaling our career readiness initiatives with an emphasis on cross-sector partnerships, Fulfillment Fund will not only help students earn a college degree and start a career that can uplift themselves, but will also contribute to the betterment of the broader community as these students bring their diverse lived experiences to the table, breaking down racial barriers and creating greater equity in companies across L.A.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Our primary impact measures are student outcomes such as high school graduation, college enrollment, persistence, and graduation, as compared with like groups. We also track real-time and longitudinal outputs and collect robust engagement data to measure our progress towards meeting goals and to inform decision making. With a new and enhanced focus on career readiness, we are developing initial metrics around career readiness curriculum development, attendance, and impact of annual career focused events (Career Expo/Career Speaker Series) and personalized career advising services as well as the development of an active Alumni Association. As these initiatives further develop, we will also look to measure success and track impact around partner engagement and expansion, first meaningful jobs, and longer-term career outcomes. We are working to survey alumni and other stakeholders to help shape these tools as the programming advances in the coming year(s).

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 2,700

Indirect Impact: 200