Youth On Their Own

aka YOTO   |   Tucson, AZ   |  www.yoto.org

Mission

Our Mission: Youth On Their Own (YOTO) supports the high school graduation and continued success of youth experiencing homelessness. Our Vision: Young people on their own are empowered and engaged community members. YOTO serves students in grade 6-12 throughout Tucson and Pima County, Arizona.

Ruling year info

1990

Chief Executive Officer

Elizabeth Slater

Main address

1660 N Alvernon Way

Tucson, AZ 85712 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

86-0644388

NTEE code info

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How can a young person be expected to succeed in school when they lack supportive parents, a stable living environment, or the supplies necessary to complete their homework? Youth experiencing homelessness are often too busy worrying about daily survival to concentrate solely on their education. The youth YOTO serves are impoverished, homeless, and unaccompanied through no fault of their own. They are all living without parental support and may be in foster care or otherwise lacking a safe or stable nighttime residence. Many of these kids have endured devastating life experiences and have overcome considerable obstacles. Parental abandonment and extreme neglect are the biggest reasons YOTO students are homeless and in need of our help. YOTO helps to alleviate these challenges by providing accountability-based financial assistance, basic needs items, and one-on-one support services to homeless and at-risk students as they work to stay in school.

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?

YOTO Program

The YOTO Program focuses on three components – financial assistance, basic human needs, and guidance – to ensure that youth experiencing homelessness have the resources necessary to stay in school and graduate.

1. Financial Assistance
- Students attending school are eligible to receive a monthly stipend of up to $160 which provides a safety net in managing daily needs.
- Emergency financial assistance may be requested once per semester to assist students with living essentials (e.g. rent, utilities, or medical expenses). To receive funds, students must also complete a financial planning workshop.

2. Basic Human Needs
- The YOTO Mini Mall provides free basic needs items such as food, clothing, hygiene items, household goods, and school supplies. Students can pre-order items online through YOTO's student portal or stop by the Mini Mall in person to pick up what they need. All donations that stock the Mini Mall are provided by the generosity of community members, organizations, and businesses.
- Transportation: Monthly bus passes and bicycles (when available) provide students with transportation to school, work, and healthcare appointments.


3. Guidance
Many struggling youth who are experiencing homelessness do not have a caring adult in their life and, sadly, they must accept adult responsibilities before they are maturely ready to do so. YOTO Program Coordinators and volunteer School Liaisons (principals, teachers, counselors, etc. located within each school) build trusting, individual relationships with students. They provide ongoing academic support and guidance to homeless youth. For students’ unmet needs, YOTO Program Coordinators provide youth referrals to collaborating community agencies offering a variety of services. Program staff also provide financial literacy workshops and help youth prepare for life after high school by providing guidance in: college/career planning; scholarships; ACT/SAT preparation; skill assessment to determine possible career/military paths; and preparation for job placement.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Youth On Their Own also offers a College & Career Program that helps students prepare for life after high school. Without the stability of a family and the lack of parental guidance, most of the youth in our program cannot imagine what the next day of their life will bring… let alone plan their future career paths. The YOTO College & Career Program provides guidance and training in:
- Pursuing possible educational scholarship opportunities
- Assessing skills to determine possible career paths after high school
- Preparation for job placement, from application to resume to interview

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Where we work

Accreditations

Charity Navigator 2015

Guidestar 2017

Awards

Meyer & Libby Marmis Humanitarian Award 2007

Jewish Foundation of Southern Arizona

Outstanding Nonprofit of the Year 2008

Arizona Business Magazine

Investee 2011

Social Venture Partners

Copper Cactus Charitable Non-Profit Business Award 2017

Tucson Metro Chamber

Torch Award - Non-profit ethics above $1.5 in revenue 2021

Better Business Bureau

Affiliations & memberships

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 2016

Better Business Bureau 2016

Chamber of Commerce 2016

United Way Member Agency 2014

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Total number of clients experiencing homelessness

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

Adolescents, Homeless people, Students

Related Program

YOTO Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

YOTO served 2,176 youth for the 2019-2020 school year - a 6% over the year prior. As of May 2021, there are 757 students enrolled in YOTO's program for the 2020-2021 school year.

Number of visits to our Mini Mall for food, clothing, and other personal needs items

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

Adolescents, Homeless people, Students

Related Program

YOTO Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

By the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Youth On Their Own received 20,000+ requests for Mini Mall support, where youth experiencing homelessness can obtain basic needs items at no cost.

Number of clients receiving emergency needs funding

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

Adolescents, Homeless people, Students

Related Program

YOTO Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, YOTO provided the following emergency support to youth experiencing homelessness: Mar & Apr 2020 stipends: 1514 Summer stipends: 955 Bill assistance: 166 Gift Cards: 369

Number of bus passes issued to homeless youth

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

Adolescents, Homeless people, Students

Related Program

YOTO Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

By the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Youth On Their Own issued or recharged 786 monthly bus passes.

Number of program graduates

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

Adolescents, Homeless people, Students

Related Program

YOTO Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Youth On Their Own celebrated 377 graduates. This number fluctuates between years because the number of seniors enrolled in YOTO fluctuates.

Graduation rate among eligible YOTO seniors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

YOTO Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

By the end of the 2019-2020 school year, 84% of eligible YOTO seniors graduated from high school.

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.

YOTO's ultimate goal is keeping homeless and unaccompanied students in school while mitigating dropout due to students' attendance. We accomplish this through the following key values:

As a youth-serving, youth-centered organization, we believe…
- YOTO is a safe place for youth to ask for help. No youth should be abandoned and every youth deserves the compassion and support of their community. The simple act of being cared about is transformational for youth.
- Every youth experiencing homelessness has potential and deserves to graduate from high school. Youth deserve to know that a bright future is their right, but that it requires effort to attain.
- YOTO provides guidance during the most challenging time in a young person’s life, helping youth learn accountability, responsibility and self-sufficiency. Guidance and belief in the student is just as important as the stipend and material support.
- Today’s youth are tomorrow’s future. Our investment in youth today leads to a positive impact on the future of our entire community.

As a nonprofit organization providing social benefit in our community, we believe in…
- Building and maintaining trust and transparency with our donors and honoring the intent of their gifts.
- Being good stewards of money and maintaining a sustainable organization.
- Communicating the impact of our donor’s gifts.
- Taking care of our staff and volunteers who are serving our youth.
- Nurturing collaborative relationships with schools and other nonprofits in our community, without whom we could not do this work.

We outline three key goals in our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.

1. PATHWAYS: How we deliver our programs and services
GOAL: To grow, modify, and establish services that provide the maximum benefit for YOTO youth
• Increase staffing for direct student support
• Improve assessment of student needs to inform eligibility and level of service (tiered services model)
• Modify requirements for student stipend requests to align with national performance data for vulnerable youth
• Replace outmoded student database with robust student portal to improve tracking and student access to services
• Formally establish an alumni program to support YOTO youth in their education and employment efforts post high school
• Explore and pilot new programs in areas of high student need
• Expand 2-generation service approach to best meet the needs of parenting youth and those supporting siblings
• Strengthen program infrastructure and clarify staff roles


2. PARTNERSHIPS: Who we partner with to serve our students
GOAL: To establish, nurture, and strengthen relationships with our community partners and stakeholders
• Improve relationships with school liaisons through shared expectations, clarified roles, and enhanced site-based training
• Grow community referral network to improve student access to services and reduce duplicative efforts
• Build and grow an organized cohort of volunteers that addresses YOTO’s everyday operational needs and strengthens our network of individual and corporate supporters in the community
• Actively participate in collaborations and conversations pertaining to youth homelessness, education access, and programs/policies that directly impact the students we serve


3. CAPACITIES: What we need to achieve our goals
GOAL: To make targeted organizational investments enabled by increased community awareness and support
• Facilities: Identify and pursue a long-term solution to YOTO’s space needs
• People: Improve YOTO’s human resource management, grow internal leaders, and cultivate an inclusive organizational culture
• Financial Support: Establish and/or strengthen relationships with YOTO donors through enhancements to annual giving, major giving, and legacy giving programs
• Technology/Communications: Ensure that YOTO is equipped with the necessary technology to fulfill its mission and clearly communicate YOTO’s positive community impact
• Evaluation: Utilize expert and stakeholder feedback to continually improve our services

The YOTO Program is truly a collaborative effort between the Pima County public, private and charter schools and YOTO staff. Without the volunteer School Liaisons who work in the approximately 100 schools YOTO students attend, it would be impossible for this program to continue. Volunteers also provide critical in-house assistance to the stipend program, our Caring Couriers Delivery Program, and our Mini Mall. In the previous year, from 2019-2020, volunteers donated more than 8,680 hours of their time saving YOTO more than $220, 800!

Youth homelessness is often hidden under borrowed roofs and behind tired eyes. Helping these young people, who have the odds stacked against them, stay in school and graduate is an economically wise choice. A high school diploma is a critical step toward self-sufficiency and fosters lifelong economic benefits such as better job opportunities and higher wages; those who dropout may forfeit a lifetime of occupational opportunities. In addition, many YOTO alumni live in, work for, and give back to the Southern Arizona community by serving as volunteers, mentors, police officers, nurses, business owners, and YOTO board members. YOTO’s graduation track record and cohort of alumni prove that this program provides a powerful return that benefits our community’s quality of life.

In the 2012-2013 academic year, YOTO served 1,137 students.
In the 2013-2014 academic year, YOTO served 1,231 students.
In the 2014-2015 academic year, YOTO served 1,468 students.
In the 2015-2016 academic year, YOTO served 1,588 students.
In the 2016-2017 academic year, YOTO served 1,611 students.
In the 2017-2018 academic year, YOTO served 1,741 students.
In the 2018-2019 academic year, YOTO served 2,054 students.
In the 2019-2020 academic year, YOTO served 2,176 students.

377 students celebrated their high school graduation (84% graduation rate among eligible YOTO seniors) in 2020.

Financials

Youth On Their Own
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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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.

Youth On Their Own

Board of directors
as of 5/19/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jay Peskoe

Owner, Automotive Gold

Term: 2019 - 2022

William Stoffers

Retired RBC Wealth Management financial advisor

Marian Conrad LaLonde

YOTO Alumnus and Associate in the law office of Quarles and Brady, LLP.

Tony Cazzato

Owner, Pacific Services Intl

Jane Klipp

Retired teacher, counselor and administrator

Sean Denlinger

Senior Loan Officer at Nova Home Loans

Jay Peskoe

Retired sales professional

Katina Koller

Vistage Worldwide, Inc. Strategic Advisor & Trusted Peer Leader

Eva Murzaite

YOTO Alumnus and owner of In Design, LLC, a firm specializing in residential and commercial interiors

Sean Murray

Senior Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer at Commerce Bank of Arizona

Julie Stevenson

Hospital Account Manager at Otsuka Pharmaceutical

Linda Montes-Cota

Commercial Property Manager, Cushman & Wakefield/PICOR

Kristina Scott

Realtor, Tucson Property Executives

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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • 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? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/19/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/19/2021

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

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • 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 help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.