Be Future Ready

New York, NY   |


NAF helps solve some of the biggest challenges in education and the economy by bringing education, business, and community leaders together to transform the high school experience and ensure students are college, career, and future ready.

Ruling year info



Lisa Dughi

Main address

218 West 40th Street 5th Floor

New York, NY 10018 USA

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Formerly known as

National Academy Foundation



NTEE code info

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The leaders of tomorrow are in high school today, yet persistent inequities in education, access, and opportunity at this critical age lead to significant disparities in long-term outcomes—especially for students of color and/or those who live in high-need communities. These disparities widen the racial wealth gap and hinder economic mobility, in turn stifling the promise of future prosperity for young people, their communities, and the entire country. We are in a unique moment that demands accelerated progress towards addressing inequities. With millions of unfilled jobs in the US, particularly in STEM fields, NAF’s partnerships between education and business help close the skills gap and better prepare America’s rising workforce. At this critical juncture, it’s imperative that we improve the educational and career outcomes for under-resourced students facing a challenging and changing workforce landscape.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

NAF Academies

NAF academies are two- to four-year learning communities within public high schools, themed around the thriving industries of Engineering, Finance, Health Sciences, Hospitality & Tourism, and Information Technology. Academy educators guide students through industry-relevant curricula, soft skills that are critical for any pathway they choose, and work-based learning (WBL) opportunities in collaboration with NAF Advisory Boards, composed of local professionals in the above industries.

Our unique approach to providing school-integrated, career-track curricula has resulted in transformative outcomes for students nationwide—especially those in under-resourced communities—for over 40 years. Open enrollment eliminates barriers to participation, and a flexible structure fosters personalization and encourages teacher collaboration. Students acquire essential workplace skills and 21st-century competencies to be future-ready for college and career.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

External assessments

Evaluated via the Impact Genome Project (2017)

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students enrolled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Low-income people, Students

Related Program

NAF Academies

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Enrollment in 2022 decreased, primarily due to an anticipated academy decrease in Orange County Public Schools (Orlando, FL). When excluding Orange County, overall NAF enrollment grew by 6.5%.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

NAF envisions a world in which all young people have equal opportunity for successful futures. For over 40 years, NAF has led the charge in combating educational inequities and transforming the way we prepare young people for the rest of their lives.

With the support of our vast community of partners, funders, and other stakeholders, NAF is poised to expand its field leadership and impact in a profound way: by 2025, we will quadruple the number of students we reach to serve approximately 400,000 each year. Not only will this expansion have an immediate impact—helping 35,000+ NAF alumni enter the workforce each year—it will pave the way for sustainable long-term change. Over the next 20 years, NAF would support 1.5-2 million students in becoming career-ready and entering talent pipelines for high-quality jobs.

NAF is striving to respond to a shifting global, economic, and educational landscape by increasing impact, innovation, and organizational capacity. We aim to bring our singular educational design and its unparalleled outcomes to future leaders nationwide, ensuring every student has the power to leverage greater opportunities and turn career aspirations into a successful livelihood and fulfilling life.

NAF is positioned to deepen impact and increase opportunities for youth in the greatest need of support. NAF is collaborating with business and community partners on innovative initiatives to ensure that students receive culturally responsive instruction, build skills relevant to their own ambitions, and continue to access resources and support well beyond graduation.

As outlined in NAF’s current 2021-25 Strategic Plan, long-term priorities include:

• Community Impact: Local efforts in select regions to expand knowledge, partnerships, and effective practices to improve outcomes for NAF students and their communities through two workstreams – Community Cultivation and Future Ready Communities;

• Partner Strategy: Deepening employer engagement at national and local levels, strengthening the diversity of the talent pipeline, as well as shoring up mechanisms for employers to stay connected with NAF students and alumni;

• Outcomes-Driven WBL: Reorienting work-based learning around ‘future ready’ skills and competencies with a new WBL approach featuring data trackers to assess and ensure equitable delivery for students;

• Tech-Enabled WBL: Harnessing technology to bring work-based learning to students across the country, increasing access through the development of a new WBL digital product (KnoPro) for NAF and non-NAF students.

NAF academies are structured as small, focused learning communities that fit within and enhance high school systems, allowing NAF to become an integral part of a plan for higher achievement at low cost. NAF promotes open enrollment for its academies in order to maximize every student’s chance at a successful future. The flexible structure encourages teacher collaboration across subject areas and fosters personalization to meet student, school, district, and state needs and goals.

NAF provides rigorous, career-focused curricula that incorporate current industry standards and practices, project-based learning, and performance-based assessment. NAF empowers teachers to expand the classroom boundaries by exposing students to real-world issues in career-focused industries through connections with industry professionals and the business community. Students acquire essential workplace skills and 21st-century competencies to be future-ready for college and career.

Throughout our four decades of service to students and educators, NAF has set itself apart from other educational interventions through the creation of rigorous, career-focused curricula alongside high-quality work-based learning (WBL) opportunities. NAF’s 600+ academies provide over 112,000 students annually with WBL experiences (job shadows, mock interviews, internships, and more) that often only the most privileged students can access.

Since its founding, over 560,000 students have passed through the halls of NAF academies. Data shows that 99% of NAF students graduate; 88% percent are college-bound; and over 1 in 3 graduate having completed an internship. NAF team members ensure high quality across academies through activities including: supporting instruction, leading professional development opportunities for educators and administrators, and providing tools and systems that drive continuous improvement.

Rigorous research confirms the positive impact of our educational design. A longitudinal study by ICF International found that, with full-program participation, NAF students who struggled as freshmen had a ten-percentage point higher graduation rate than their non-NAF peers. At its core, our approach to systemic change is simple: NAF brings the classroom to the workplace and the workplace to the classroom. By transforming the American high school experience, we help students—especially those in under-resourced communities—move toward a life of upward economic mobility and success.

In the 2022-23 school year, NAF’s unique approach to providing school-integrated, career-track curricula resulted in transformative outcomes for 112,000 students in 361 high schools, primarily in under-resourced communities. NAF has over 600 academies in 35 states, including Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Over 80% of NAF students identify as people of color, 65% are classified as low-income (based on eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch), and 17% are English-language learners.

NAF’s Research & Technology team develops an annual Student Survey Field Guide to help stakeholders reflect on NAF students’ academy experience, with the goal of elevating and including student voice in our collective decision-making. In October 2022, we released the first online version to make the product even more actionable and useful for educators. 2022 Student Survey data highlights include:

• 75% of students indicated that their WBL activity helped them build career skills;
• 70% of students indicated that their WBL activity helped them explore career aspirations;
• 70% of students indicated feeling comfortable reaching out to an adult or older peer that does the type of work they are interested in as a career.

Also in October 2022, NAF held an annual debrief for all NAF National Partner Internship providers to share our Intern Feedback Survey results. Data highlights include:

• 98% agreed that the internship experience provided useful information for pursuing their education or career goals;
• 96% noted that they received constructive feedback on their progress and abilities;
• 93% felt connected to their employee mentors/supervisors;
• 95% felt connected to the interns/employees with whom they worked;
• 92% agreed that the internship experience provided an opportunity to learn about a career of interest to them.

NAF is also investing in Alumni Engagement. In September 2022, NAF launched its first-ever Alumni Survey, through which we heard from 300+ alumni about their academy experiences, the paths they took after high school, and how they would like to stay engaged with NAF.

Finally, NAF will launch its new EdTech platform, KnoPro, in July 2023 following two successful pilots. KnoPro is a free web-based platform that engages NAF and non-NAF students alike in WBL experiences—an invaluable resource for students in rural or under-resourced areas, and for undocumented students who cannot access paid internships. In Fall 2022, 300+ students from 9 schools participated in the first pilot with two industry partners, Merck (Health Equity Challenge) and Lenovo (Technology Inclusion Challenge). We ran a second pilot in Spring 2023 (“AI for Good” Challenge) with 400+ schools from 21 schools. Feedback from students and teachers has allowed us to confirm the effectiveness of the platform’s design, and we continue to make improvements ahead of the official launch.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to connect with students after they leave the NAF program, e.g., after graduation



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Board of directors
as of 04/01/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sanford I. Weill

No Affiliation

Sanford I. Weill

Founder, NAF

Kenneth I. Chenault

General Catalyst

James D. Robinson III

RRE Ventures

Eugene A. Ludwig

SpringHarbor Financial

Ursula M. Burns

Integrum Holdings; Teneo Holdings; Xerox Corporation; VEON, Ltd

Jeffrey A. Brill

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Lynne M. Doughtie


Alex Gorsky

Johnson & Johnson

Jennifer Morgan


Joseph M. Tucci

Bridge Growth Partners

Thomas Penny III

Donohoe Hospitality Services

Larry Renfro

Optum Ventures

David L. Steward

World Wide Technology

Matthew Zielinski


Marc Weill

Two Sigma Ventures

Nicola Palmer


Gregory J. Hayes

Raytheon Technologies

Marc Reed

Verizon Communications

Shatiek Gatlin

(Ex-Officio) Chair, NAF Alumni Leadership Council

Lisa Dughi


Robert F. Smith

Vista Equity Partners

Erin McSweeney

UnitedHealth Group

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/1/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/29/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.