Letter from our Board President Jay Jacobs

Excerpt taken from out 2020 Impact Report.

To the Enterprise for Youth Community,

To say that 2020 has been a year like no other is at best cliché at this point.  Certainly, as I write this letter, I am still stunned by how different it is from what I would have written even a few months ago. As I reflect on the year Enterprise has had, I am struck, of course, by the extraordinary challenges the program has faced. However, I am also so very hopeful having our youth and staff rise to this moment and shine.

Enterprise is an experiential program by design. Youth realize their potential through direct experiences—workshops with their peer cohort, one-on-one work with staff, and onsite for their internships. Fundamental to the program model is the idea that direct experience is the best teacher.

Yet, by early March, it was clear that there was no way the organization could deliver this type of program. The Enterprise team had to quickly reconceive their entire model that had evolved over decades. In a matter of days, the team launched virtual job-readiness training followed by a variety of virtual career exploration internships that engaged members of the community from various industries and partner organizations. Incredibly, even with these challenges, Enterprise for Youth ultimately offered 204 youth employment in San Francisco this summer.  

Simply put, the COVID-19 crisis has sharpened our focus on the importance of investing in under-resourced youth to help them embark on a path to economic mobility and prosperity. As much as I imagine most of us will be glad when 2020 is behind us, I find myself grateful for the resilience of the youth we serve, the extraordinary commitment of our staff, the many community partners who have stood by us, and to all of you for your commitment and generosity. In a year of many challenges, your support is one more reason to remain hopeful.

Thank You,

Jay Jacobs,
Enterprise for Youth Board President
Basic American Foods, Director of Industrial and International Business