Mission and Values
Tricia and Jeffrey Raikes
A Letter from the Founders
At the Raikes Foundation, we believe in the infinite potential of young people.
From the outset, the Raikes Foundation has been committed to having a positive impact on people and communities. We have challenged ourselves to not only explore our own values, but also to identify under-served populations and areas of disproportionate need where we could make a difference. As part of our strategic planning process to determine where to focus our time, energy and capacity, we gathered research and advice from experts across the country. It was during this process - at the intersection of our values, community need, and research - that the power and potential of youth emerged.
Today's young people live in a complex and daunting environment, where they face barriers that prevent their success. Among these barriers are the inevitable challenges of adolescence - the most significant physiological, social and emotional transformation they will experience after their first few years of life. Many young people encounter daily obstacles that complicate their lives even more during this transitional time, including lack of access to quality educational experiences, opportunities to explore their passions, and positive relationships with adults.
Our commitment and interest in youth development is inspired by our own experience as the parents of three children. We've experienced first-hand the need for young people to have consistent support from caring adults, well-developed decision-making and social skills, a strong sense of their capabilities, and opportunities to lead and contribute.
We feel that the capacity for real and significant change in the future resides in these young people. At the Raikes Foundation, we're optimistic that by investing in youth and empowering them with the right tools and the right opportunities, we can help them become healthy, contributing adults.
While our research convinced us that young people of every age need support and guidance, we are focusing our efforts on the critical early years of adolescence - ages 10-14 - when the rate of risky behaviors and disengagement from school accelerates. As parents, we're particularly aware of the fact that early adolescence can be a challenging, yet exciting, time for young people. It is also the time when they begin making choices and establishing patterns that will impact them throughout their lives.
The challenges facing our youth aren't static, and it will be a continual learning process to determine how the Raikes Foundation can have the biggest impact. We look forward to deepening our expertise around youth development issues, establishing strong partnerships and investing in innovative solutions. Ultimately, we are confident our investments today will inform and refine the work we do in the future.
We embrace the opportunity to collaborate with others toward a shared vision of helping young people meet their promise, their potential and their untapped capacity. We are excited about the work ahead, and invite you to join us on the journey.
Jeff and Tricia Raikes
Photo courtesy of the University of Nebraska Foundation. Copyright Geoff Johnson/Malone
Copyright 2009 Raikes Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Youth Program Quality