12: Using an intermediary organisation to leverage resource – City Connect Detroit
City Connect Detroit (CDD) was established as a partnership between ten foundations to play a convenor role and identify national funding sources for youth programmes.111 Partners realised the resources were bypassing Detroit as they were not collaborating and coordinating activity. Municipal bankruptcy brought greater urgency to the situation. The consortium structure means that individual organisations take ownership and are very engaged as partners. Funders also act as champions bringing other funders to the table.
Its overarching goal is to impact on the system of youth services, with a focus on summer employment. CCD aims to achieve this by establishing common standards (it has established a quality standards framework), and connecting employers to education and training providers. It also aims to improve the quality of placements by coordinating funding and building capacity among partner organisations (to date it has worked with over 95 CBOs and businesses in Detroit), and to create pathways for young people by ensuring programmes are connected to post-secondary education learning opportunities.
The Mayor has now made youth employment a major priority. As additional resources are deployed and programmes are established, CCD will be coordinating between partners with the aim of providing year round employment opportunities for over 5,000 young people. CCD plans to develop a competency-based approach for placements and to tailor provision to the needs of individuals though a tiered structure.
Going forward, CCD plans to keep infrastructure at a minimum, and continue to build trust and transparency among partners in the wider system with the aim of building more representation from education institutions and the private sector. The partnership is also currently working on building an electronic portal similar to ones that have been developed in Chicago and Philadelphia as there is still no single access point for young people. They also want to create a similar portal for businesses.