About

The Youth Transition Funders Group (YTFG) is a national network of funders that work together to support the well-being and economic success of vulnerable young people age 14 to 25. We seek to ensure that all young people have lifelong family, personal, and community connections and the opportunities and tools to succeed throughout adulthood.

YTFG provides a vibrant and active community for approximately 100 national, regional, and community funders to learn from each other and other experts in the field, stay abreast of new research and key policy developments, inform and influence policy and practice, and foster collaborative approaches to grantmaking. We support peer networking and sharing, create key partnerships with leaders in the field, and provide strategic opportunities to leverage and extend the efforts of individual members.

YTFG members meet biannually and communicate regularly regarding how they can leverage investments that help to build the capacity of communities to effectively support young people transitioning to adulthood; strengthen federal and state policies for older youth and young adults; and raise public awareness of the needs of transitioning youth.


Our Work

Our network provides a unique space for diverse funders to come together to explore cross-cutting issues affecting all vulnerable youth. Our members’ interests and expertise spans a wide range of content areas including education, workforce development, child welfare, youth justice, housing, health and mental health. We seek to expand beyond narrow and often siloed dialogue to build a collective understanding of how a multi-systems approach can produce improved youth outcomes. YTFG works to highlight critical overlaps and intersections of youth-serving systems and identify creative approaches to design cross-system strategies and solutions.

In addition to our cross-systems efforts, YTFG operates three dedicated workgroups for members desiring to connect with colleagues to address the unique needs of particularly vulnerable youth populations: those disconnected from work or school and those currently experiencing the child welfare or youth justice systems.


Steering Committee

YTFG is advised by an active Steering Committee who provides overall direction for the network. Our Steering Committee members include:

Jeannine Balfour

Senior Program Officer, Domestic Programs
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Mary Lee

Young Adult Member

Jerry Bexten

Economic Well-Being Work Group Co-Chair
Director of Education Initiatives
The Sherwood Foundation

Lyman Legters

Senior Director
Casey Family Programs

Matt Cervantes

Director of Health Programs
Sierra Health Foundation

Charles Nunez

Young Adult Member

Sarah Kroon Chiles

Foster Care Work Group Co-Chair
Executive Director
Redlich Horwitz Foundation

Amy Price

Program Executive
Zellerbach Family Foundation

Patrice Cromwell

Steering Committee Chair
Director, Strategic Initiatives
Annie E. Casey Foundation

Diane Sierpina

Youth Justice Work Group Co-Chair
Director of Justice Initiatives
The Tow Foundation

Tonyel Edwards

Steering Committee Chair
Program Officer

Houston Endowment

Aisha van Ter Sluis

Young Adult Member

Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez

Vice President for the Center for Effective Family Services and Systems
Annie E. Casey Foundation

Roy Williams

Senior Program Officer
Greater New Orleans Foundation


Staff

Barbara Langford

YTFG Director

Langford is a founder of Mainspring Consulting, a firm that works with foundation and public sector leaders to design initiatives for children, youth and families, leverage resources in support of their goals, and develop effective plans to move from good thinking to action. Barbara regularly works with funder affinity groups, technical assistance collaboratives, state networks and local coalitions to help leaders identify shared goals, strategically develop plans to leverage resources and act collectively. Barbara is a seasoned facilitator with experience designing and supporting effective planning processes focused on organizational development, strategic financing, and sustainability. Barbara is the former Vice President for Tools, Technical Assistance and Training at The Finance Project, and has held positions at Families USA, the Massachusetts State Women’s Commission, and the US Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

Dianna Walters-Hartley

YTFG Communications Manager
Dianna Walters-Hartley serves as the Communications Manager for YTFG, overseeing all of the communication strategies for the network. Dianna is a recognized expert in shaping national and state policy, an experienced author and a skilled educator. Content areas in which Dianna has extensive expertise include child welfare policy, positive youth development, trauma recovery, adolescent brain development, adolescent health, youth in transition and foster care and adoption. She has successfully managed major grant-funded policy and research projects and served as a national, state and local spokesperson.

Mary Bissell

Foster Care Work Group Lead Consultant
Mary Bissell is an attorney, child and family policy expert and founding partner of ChildFocus. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center where she teaches a class on advocacy for public interest lawyers. Mary was formerly a Fellow at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan public policy institute that brings new voices and ideas to America’s public discourse. She also served as a senior staff attorney and lobbyist at the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) where she focused on poverty, child welfare, substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health policy issues.

Jennifer Miller

Foster Care Work Group Lead Consultant
Jennifer Miller is a social worker, child advocate and founding partner of ChildFocus. Previously, Jennifer was a strategic consultant with Cornerstone Consulting Group where she led its child welfare policy and practice work in the areas of kinship care, workforce development and permanency planning. Jennifer has also worked on a broad range of issues at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, including developing their federal human services policy agenda. Jennifer began her human services career at the American Public Welfare Association (APWA), now the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), where she developed and analyzed federal legislation and regulations on child welfare issues and served as project manager for the National Association of Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA).

Stephanie Malia Krauss

Economic Well-Being Work Group Lead Consultant

Stephanie Krauss is the Lead Consultant for the Economic Well-Being Work and a senior director at JFF. In these roles, she helps leaders design solutions that improve the economic well-being of young people and families—especially those living in poverty. She works with national, state and local changemakers to make sure everyone has the chance to experience quality learning and work opportunities and livable lives. Previously, as a senior fellow with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, the Forum for Youth Investment, and JFF, she focused on youth readiness and well-being, credentialing, competency-based education, and opportunity youth. She was also campaign director of Connecting Credentials and co-director of The Readiness Project. Stephanie also founded and led Shearwater Education Foundation, and the first competency-based high school for disconnected youth in St. Louis. She started her career as an elementary school teacher and soccer coach in Phoenix, Arizona. Stephanie is the author of Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow’s World

Carrie Rae Boatman

Youth Justice Work Group Lead Consultant

Carrie Rae Boatman is the Lead Consultant for the Youth Justice Work Group. Carrie Rae’s background combines experience in philanthropy, nonprofit management, direct service and advocacy with a focus on social justice issues, including over seven years in the juvenile and criminal justice field. Previously, Carrie Rae served as the Senior Policy Associate for Juvenile Justice Reform at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Prior to that, she was the Director of the Rockit Fund, a 501(c)4 social welfare organization that provided financial and technical support to nonprofits working to effect policy reform in the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice and electoral systems. She has also served as a grant making consultant to Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.