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Partnerships Column

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The Youth on Board organization has begun its first major project: providing technical assistance to five Massachusetts community groups to increase the presence of young people on their boards of directors.

Based in Somerville, Mass., Youth on Board was launched last year to help recruit, select, and train people under age 21 to serve on nonprofit boards.

The groups have each pledged to appoint at least two young people to their boards. The new board members will be assigned mentors and attend training sessions that explain the purpose of nonprofit boards and help them master such organizational essentials as Robert's Rules of Order and how to read a budget.

The groups involved are the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore in Marblehead, Girls Inc. in Lynn, the Holden School in Boston, the Massachusetts Youth Service Alliance in Boston, and the Food Project in Lincoln.

Meanwhile, in Washington, another new group is helping youth-related nonprofits hone their public-relations skills.

Kristen Grimm, an executive at Millennium Communications, began the Youth Communications Network after learning from her work with youth organizations that many are inexperienced at communicating with the news media and the public.

"In many organizations, communications are the forgotten building block," she writes in a description of the project. Low budgets and "ad hoc operating styles" often hinder their efforts to build a communications program that can help them raise money, and recruit new members.

With support from the Tides Foundation, Ms. Grimm is helping these groups get their messages across. Over the next year, she plans to hold workshops for representatives of 20 nonprofit youth organizations, help them draft communications plans, and link them through an electronic bulletin board.

More information is available from Y.C.N., 1150 18th Street, N.W., 8th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 872-8800;

Philadelphia Futures, a group that helps prepare young people in Philadelphia for college and careers, has published an overview of partnerships linking the city's schools with businesses and with community, religious, and civic organizations.

Copies of "Shaping the Future: Philadelphia Public School Partnerships" are available free from Philadelphia Futures, 230 South Broad St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19102; (215) 790-1666.

--Meg Sommerfeld

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