OneFuture Coachella Valley has been honored as one of 10 national recipients of the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Profiles in Collective Leadership initiative. This tremendous recognition positions our local collaborative as a model career-enhancing program that effectively unites community, fosters systemic change and puts young people on a path to thriving futures and engaged citizenship. 

Local K-12 school district academies and career pathways programs include culinary arts.

The award not only positions OneFuture as a national leader, but also provides a $200,000 grant to help further their mission. Their work and its effect on students will be documented by a storytelling partner, and they will have the opportunity to share with, and learn from, other winning organizations across the country.

“We are thrilled with this incredible honor,” said OneFuture President and CEO Sheila Thornton. “The philanthropic initiative draws on the strengths of local government, education, nonprofit, business and health care professionals to create career opportunities for young people and encourage civic participation.” 

OneFuture Coachella Valley’s purpose

In 2005, a survey of employers in Riverside County found that 80% of hires for high-level positions were recruited from outside of the area. To address this community challenge, OneFuture was established to work with regional K-12 school districts, local colleges, non-profits, city government and local businesses to address career readiness and build a strong local workforce that can meet the needs of the region economically.

OneFuture provides student support services, workshops, financial aid counseling and scholarships.

Some of the career academies and pathways developed from the collaborative include arts, media and entertainment; fashion and interior design; information and communication technologies; health science; and medical technology, to name a few. Students from the later take part in their high school’s Medical Health Academy and contribute to our OneFuture column in each edition.

From 2009 to 2021, OneFuture has contributed $17 million in scholarships to nearly 3,000 students. These recipients have completed the following degrees: 1,165 bachelor’s, 488 associate’s, 171 master’s, 17 doctorate, plus 87 certificates. Additionally, nearly 8,000 high school students study in career-oriented programs.

Learning from OneFuture’s success

The Carnegie Corporation’s mission is to “invest in knowledge that inspires informed action.” As stated on their website,1 their new Profiles in Collective Leadership initiative “aims to help others understand how and why certain collaborative models are effective in fostering systemic change and delivering learning opportunities that consistently put young people on a path to thriving futures and engaged citizenship. The goal is to identify organizations already engaged in this work so we can lift up and learn from their efforts.” 

They go on to state: 

“Education is the foundation of a healthy democracy. It enables social mobility, builds community, and creates an informed citizenry. It helps young people determine their future and contribute to society. Achieving that promise for all students requires everyone who plays a part in education to design for the extraordinary and equitable experiences and outcomes we want. That includes involving people within school communities — students, families, and educators — but also leaders in government, healthcare, business, and other sectors that influence students’ lives and communities.

Members of the Gents Alliance Program present at the 2024 Male Student Leadership Conference.

Our vision for Profiles in Collective Leadership is to identify collective leadership models where this cross-sector approach is already being embraced, with a focus on initiatives intended to enable young people to chart a course from learning to meaningful careers and civic engagement.

By elevating and supporting organizations at the forefront of efforts to reimagine our education system, we aim to learn more about the kind of leadership it takes to catalyze systems-level change and to harness those lessons to benefit the entire field.”

Ten winners from eight states were selected by a panel of jurors comprised of a broad range of leaders in business, higher education and philanthropy. Selection criteria included organizations that are:

  • Focused on redesigning and aligning pathways from high school to higher education, the workforce and meaningful civic engagement
  • Involving partnerships of at least two organizations across at least two sectors (e.g., education, healthcare, business, government agencies)
  • Located in small and mid-sized communities that are often not well-known or celebrated

Other winners included Baltimore’s Promise/Grads2Careers which provides and funds occupational skills training opportunities to high school graduates in high growth fields; Elkhart County, Indiana’s Horizon Education Alliance, a non-profit created by education, business and community leaders which offers 2- to 3-year paid apprenticeships to high school students who earn high school credit, postsecondary credit and an industry recognized credential; and West Alabama Works! which trains and matches highly skilled job seekers with employers in nine primarily rural counties in West Alabama.

Since 2009, more than 45 organizations have partnered with OneFuture to fund $17 million in scholarships to more than 3,000 students. (Photo by Romulo Mena)

“Through our Profiles initiative, we wish to recognize the work of local educational collectives who act creatively together across public and private sectors to create career opportunities for young people,” said Dame Louise Richardson, president of the philanthropic foundation. “Congratulations to our 10 exceptional winners whose contributions to our society benefit all of us.”

“This award reflects the impact of our whole community coming together and recognizing that the economic success of young people – and our region – is tied to educational attainment,” says Thornton. “Their success is our community’s success and we are honored to accept this award on behalf of our community.”

For more information on OneFuture Coachella Valley, visit or call (760) 625.0422. For more information about Carnegie Corporation of New York, visit

Reference: 1)

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