The Y Applauds Introduction of America’s FOCUS Act

Legislation takes innovative approach to providing resources for youth development programs

WASHINGTON, DC (January 31, 2014) – YMCA of the USA, the resource office for the nation’s 2,700 YMCAs, applauds Congressman Chaka Fattah, D-PA, for introducing H.R. 3580, the America’s Fund for Future Opportunities and Outcomes in the United States Act of 2013, or America’s FOCUS Act. This legislation creates a funding source, a FOCUS Fund, to support youth mentoring and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs provided by experienced national nonprofit, community-based organizations like YMCAs or state or local governments.

Specifically, the bill calls for the creation of the FOCUS Fund at the U.S. Department of Treasury to be sustained through the collection of revenue from corporate fines, penalties and settlements. The revenue collected in the FOCUS Fund would be distributed evenly among three critical areas: STEM education and youth mentoring; innovations in medical research and development; and justice reinvestment efforts, with an additional one-percent allotted to help pay down the national debt.

”We appreciate Congressman Fattah’s innovative approach to addressing vital youth development and community needs through introduction of the America’s FOCUS Act,” said Neal Denton, senior vice president and chief government affairs officer at YMCA of the USA.

Numerous Ys across the country are engaging young people in STEM programs to enrich their educational experience, inspire their interest in STEM fields and encourage their pursuit of STEM careers. Additionally, Ys are leveraging their unique membership base of individuals, staff and volunteers to expand evidence-based mentoring programs to positively influence the lives of adolescent youth.

“Throughout the course of my career in public service I have been working to improve the life chances for millions of children and working families, determined to equip them with resources for a stronger future,” said Congressman Fattah. “I know the YMCA shares this responsibility and I am thrilled to have their support of America’s FOCUS Act. As one of the leading national organizations committed to improving opportunities and outcomes for youth, the YMCA uniquely understands both the long-and short-term impact that mentoring programs have on our nation’s young people. Their commitment to building strong communities and ensuring children have the skills, education, and support they need to reach their full potential is critical to our joint efforts to expand access to mentoring opportunities nationwide. With the backing of the YMCA, we are one step closer to this goal.”

“The Y works in communities to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive,” said Denton. “Congressman Fattah’s bill similarly seeks to support this goal. We look forward to working with the Congressman on this and other legislation impacting the healthy development of children and teens.”

For more information about the Y, visit


About the Y The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.

Contact: Kelly Kennai YMCA of the USA 800.932.9622

Friday, January 31, 2014

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