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BNY Mellon to Host Thought Leadership Summit on the Challenges of Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

NEW YORK and PITTSBURGH, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- BNY Mellon, the global leader in investment management and investment services, is hosting a thought leadership summit to explore the challenges of youth aging out of foster care and determine best practices for enabling educational advancement and employment opportunities.

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The summit, which will be held on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, will examine insightful new research on preparing these young people for independence, as well as the results to-date of BNY Mellon's Powering Potential Pathways Program, a $6 million, five-year global workforce development initiative to assist vulnerable youth making the transition into adulthood.

"It's estimated that annually more than 25,000 young people in the United States move out of foster care when they reach 18," said James P. McDonald, BNY Mellon's director of global philanthropy.  "Since BNY Mellon started its Pathways program, we have donated more than $2 million in grants that have helped more than 450 vulnerable youth, and we're encouraged that our partners are beginning to see some improved outcomes."

Since the launch of BNY Mellon's Pathways program in 2010, its partners have seen the following improvements among their program participants:

  • There has been a 42% increase in the number of young people enrolled in college;
  • Employment among non-high school graduates has increased 15% and 10% among graduates; and
  • Overall, involvement in the juvenile justice system decreased approximately 13%.

"Young people aging out of the child welfare system are more likely than their peers to face challenges in attaining education, and securing employment and housing," said Leonard Burton, chief operating officer at Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiatives in St. Louis.  "Supporting programs to help these youth carries a cost, but not supporting them carries a greater cost, especially when one examines incarceration rates and welfare assistance.  Investing in this population, as BNY Mellon has done through its Pathways program, can and does create lasting impact and change lives."

"Our goal in bringing together these thought leaders, community stakeholders, service providers and funders is to raise awareness of this important issue and create a greater understanding of the barriers facing youth aging out of foster care," added McDonald.  "We hope that attendees will leave our summit armed with information on how to address these barriers and an increased commitment to getting involved."

The summit will feature dynamic presentations from respected leaders and experts involved in vulnerable youth, including:

  • Fred Wulczyn, Ph.D., senior research fellow at the University of Chicago, who will be presenting a national environmental scan that addresses the scope of the problem and current trends;
  • Marc Cherna, director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, who will present an overview of the current funding landscape in Allegheny County;
  • Leonard Burton, chief operating officer of Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiatives, who will give a national perspective on promising practices in the field and identify areas in need of improvement;
  • Jeffrey Shook, Ph.D., JD., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, who will provide a regional take on the issue and share how programs supported by both the Department of Human Services and BNY Mellon fared in recent evaluations; and
  • Stefani Pashman, executive director of Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, who will address the youth employment system, including a discussion of 21st century job clusters.

BNY Mellon's Pathways partners in the United States, United Kingdom and Asia were selected for their positive histories of providing targeted support to vulnerable youth and their commitment to enhancing education, job training and career development opportunities for this population.  The company's focus areas in each international location are:  United States (youth shifting out of foster care), United Kingdom (youth between the ages of 16-19 who aren't involved in education or employed) and India (older youth transitioning out of orphanages).

BNY Mellon's Pathways program is part of Powering Potential, the company's philanthropic focus on making local communities better places to live and work by targeting organizations that concentrate on workforce development or the provision of basic needs.  For more information about the Pathways program, visit  To learn more about BNY Mellon's Powering Potential initiative and commitment to corporate social responsibility, visit

BNY Mellon is a global financial services company focused on helping clients manage and service their financial assets, operating in 36 countries and serving more than 100 markets. BNY Mellon is a leading provider of financial services for institutions, corporations and high-net-worth individuals, offering superior investment management and investment services through a worldwide client-focused team. It has $27.1 trillion in assets under custody and administration and $1.3 trillion in assets under management, services $11.5 trillion in outstanding debt and processes global payments averaging $1.4 trillion per day. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Additional information is available on or follow us on Twitter@BNYMellon.