Youth Justice Network

New York, NY   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Youth Justice Network

EIN: 13-3576756


Our mission is to break cycles of incarceration and build an equitable justice system by providing young people with individualized advocacy, mentorship, and opportunities to grow, thrive, and lead. We fight for every young person to realize their power, voice, and full potential. We promote change not only in individual youth members, but in the racist systems that led to their incarceration. We commit to the day that not a single young person will spend another night in jail. We join the movement to dismantle racism and inequity in the justice system.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Christine Pahigian

Main address

63 West 125th Street 4th Floor

New York, NY 10027 USA

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Formerly known as

Friends of Island Academy



Subject area info

Services for offenders

Human services

Youth organizing

Population served info

Children and youth


Young adults



Show more populations served

NTEE code info

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our fight for youth justice is our fight for racial justice. The justice system confines Black youth at over 4 times the rate of white youth. 95% of people on Rikers Island are people of color. Black and Latinx people are overrepresented in New York prisons and jails. People who have been incarcerated are 10 times more likely to be homeless than the general public. A young person’s admission onto Rikers Island is an emergency and should be treated as such. Our goal is to ensure that young people who are incarcerated have support from the first moments in custody, continued support throughout their period of incarceration, and help to troubleshoot and navigate issues and ultimately thrive upon release.

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?

Arches / Harlem

Arches is an alternative-to-Probation program that uses group and one-on-one mentoring to help young people analyze their behavior and plan for success.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Incarcerated people

In an effort to break intergenerational cycles of incarceration, Friends provides fatherhood classes, domestic violence interventions, and much more to non-custodial fathers in the Bronx.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

Through funds from the New York City Department of Probation, Friends gives advice to families of young people undergoing delinquency procedures in Manhattan Family Court.

Population(s) Served

The Makeba Project is a mentoring and advocacy program for young mothers returning home from Rikers Island. Recognizing the distinct situation of women (and specifically mothers) in the justice system, The Makeba Project builds on our organization’s well-established model of youth engagement and advocacy to provide specifically tailored supports and services that respond to the unique needs of this population.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

The Miller Center is made up of a team of Mitigation Specialists who provide City-wide case triage and expediting, reintegration planning, and defender-based courtroom advocacy on behalf of youth 16-21 years of age. We develop individualized plans for each youth focused on minimizing length of stay in jail and reducing the likelihood of readmission.

Our advocacy is always tailored to the individual’s circumstances at all phases of the justice system process. We work with young people in custody of either local correction, New York State facilities or federal custody.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Incarcerated people

The Career Services Center is designed to equip justice-involved and formally incarcerated young people with the skills they need to thrive in the work place. With a focus on learning soft skills for entering into a professional world, the Career Services Center aims to increase the likelihood of sustained pathways to economic independence among the youngest people released from jail.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Incarcerated people

Friends runs an HSE class that is open to justice-involved youth between the ages of 17 and 24. Our class focuses on developing students’ skills in numeracy, reading comprehension, and writing, with the aim of preparing students to pass the TASC. Friends HSE students are also supported by a network of advocates and mentors from other youth programs at Friends. Special consideration is made for students with pending cases and students on probation, who are committed to redirecting the trajectory of their cases, and their lives, through the pursuit of education.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Incarcerated people

The Youth Reentry Network is a system of pre and post-release care for youth at Rikers Island and in DYFJ custody (primarily Horizon and Crossroads). Our model is centered on developing relationships of support and trust with young people in custody, and anchoring long-term neighborhood-based supports upon release. Our Youth Advocates work with young people from all five boroughs, anchored by our community hubs.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Incarcerated people

Where we work

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 placements defined as full-time

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Number of participants who gain employment

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Hours of mentoring

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


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.

Youth Justice Network (formerly Friends of Island Academy) was founded in 1990 at an alternative high school on Rikers Island – known then as Island Academy – to address recidivism rates, untapped potential and disproportionate confinement of young people of color among the thousands of adolescents who attended school on Rikers Island each year. YJN begins its work with youth during their time in custody and supports them as they transition back to life outside confinement. The longer youth remain engaged with Youth Justice Network's community, the greater the influence we have on their trajectory toward becoming economically independent adults, connected to their communities in positive ways.

Our organization and its services are rooted in a passion for and belief in our individual youth members' resilience and ability to achieve. We are small and our services are intense, personal and flexible. Our approach to service delivery incorporates the key principles of evidence-based practice derived from the research on risk reduction and draws on what our field has learned over the last two decades. These include principles of positive youth development (giving youth a sense of belonging and opportunities to achieve), tailored services driven by risk/need assessments and recognition of adolescents' brain development and readiness for change. These aspects of our vision have neither changed nor wavered since our earliest years of operation.

Our model is structured on trusting relationships that drive positive outcomes forward. Whether we meet our participants in a jail, in court, or in the community, each participant has a Youth Advocate who facilitates their growth and development. Everyone we serve has someone they can count on.
We build relationships of trust, honesty, and respect. From the moment participants meet with a Advocate, we remain in their corner, with no start and end dates.
Our program hubs are peaceful, safe spaces where young people can learn to be themselves, access opportunities, and grow into healthy, independent, thriving community leaders.
Youth Justice Network also meets the needs of justice-involved youth through a variety of programs, united by the common “core" of Youth Advocacy, which provides wrap-around services, coaching, and mentoring to young people. In addition, we provide arts workshops; a High School Equivalency program; employment services and job placement; youth leadership (in which youth members are trained in social issues, activism, and public speaking); and programs such as ARCHES (a transformative mentoring program for young people on Probation). YJN also offers a fatherhood program to non-custodial fathers in the Bronx, in order to address inter-generational cycles of father absence, and a parent support program based in Manhattan Family Court.

Through our services and programs, we offer opportunities for young people to grow and thrive.
Each year, we serve 750+ young people whose lives have intersected with the city’s jail system are served; that's 17,000 total engagements with young people, for periods averaging over 20 months.
78% of youth sentenced have had their sentences reduced or have been released from jail as a direct result of our intensive mitigation and court advocacy.
Our Career Center has made 175 new job placements every year, and our career skills workshop has a 95% graduation rate.
100% of our Youth Mentor staff are YJN program alumni, uniquely positioned to lead and support their younger peers.
We've made 7,000 connections to holistic support each year: that means calling grandparents, sitting in court with siblings, waiting with aunts for the bus at Rikers — anything we can do to strengthen a young person’s support system.


Youth Justice Network
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30
Financial documents
2021 2019 Friends of Island Academy - Audited Financial Statements
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0.22 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 28% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Youth Justice Network

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Youth Justice Network

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Youth Justice Network

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Youth Justice Network’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$20,825 -$676,736 -$316,909 $1,078,423 -$398,075
As % of expenses -0.2% -9.7% -6.0% 22.8% -8.1%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$32,294 -$688,525 -$326,184 $1,071,213 -$407,335
As % of expenses -0.4% -9.9% -6.1% 22.6% -8.3%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $8,847,908 $6,295,354 $5,032,293 $6,485,037 $4,149,377
Total revenue, % change over prior year 20.4% -28.8% -20.1% 28.9% -36.0%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 91.9% 88.2% 78.3% 76.2% 77.4%
All other grants and contributions 8.1% 11.8% 21.7% 23.8% 22.1%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.5%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $8,650,733 $6,962,090 $5,309,202 $4,724,114 $4,922,702
Total expenses, % change over prior year 25.4% -19.5% -23.7% -11.0% 4.2%
Personnel 62.9% 78.2% 79.7% 79.5% 78.3%
Professional fees 26.0% 8.9% 3.6% 3.9% 3.5%
Occupancy 4.1% 5.9% 7.4% 8.3% 9.3%
Interest 0.3% 0.5% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 6.7% 6.5% 9.1% 8.2% 8.6%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total expenses (after depreciation) $8,662,202 $6,973,879 $5,318,477 $4,731,324 $4,931,962
One month of savings $720,894 $580,174 $442,434 $393,676 $410,225
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $2,077,602 $0
Fixed asset additions $14,895 $0 $0 $0 $57,304
Total full costs (estimated) $9,397,991 $7,554,053 $5,760,911 $7,202,602 $5,399,491

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Months of cash 0.0 0.5 0.2 2.5 1.1
Months of cash and investments 0.0 0.5 0.2 2.5 1.1
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets -0.1 -1.4 -2.5 -0.1 -1.2
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Cash $7,451 $297,197 $90,274 $975,164 $455,744
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $2,268,840 $1,560,554 $2,255,275 $1,047,047 $1,224,635
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $323,732 $323,732 $323,732 $323,732 $377,610
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 89.3% 93.0% 95.8% 98.1% 85.6%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 81.5% 112.4% 121.7% 42.0% 83.7%
Unrestricted net assets -$97,188 -$785,713 -$1,111,897 -$40,684 -$448,019
Temporarily restricted net assets $533,274 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $533,274 $543,274 $583,274 $1,265,774 $890,524
Total net assets $436,086 -$242,439 -$528,623 $1,225,090 $442,505

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Ms. Christine Pahigian

Christine Pahigian joined Youth Justice Network, formerly Friends of Island Academy, as its Executive Director in 2008. She was part of a group of volunteers who helped launch the agency and served on the agency’s Board of Directors during its first 10 years, through 1999. Ms. Pahigian has worked in juvenile and criminal justice reform for 35 years at direct services, policy development and government levels. During the 1990s and early 2000s, Ms. Pahigian created several innovative programs and policy initiatives designed to reduce the use of incarceration. Among them, she created the Youth Advocacy Project, NYC’s first alternative to detention for the youngest people in New York tried as adults (13 to 15) at the Spofford Juvenile Center; and the Nathaniel Project, the City’s first alternative to incarceration for felony-charged people with serious mental illness. During NYC Mayor David Dinkins’s administration, she led the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to minimize N

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Youth Justice Network

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Youth Justice Network

Board of directors
as of 05/03/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Jamaal Thomas

Yale University

Term: 2019 -

Neil Callahan

Pilot Growth Equity

Ellen Fried

Legal Consultant

Mark Rubin

Geller Advisors LLC

Jamaal Thomas

Office for Equal Opportunity Programs, Yale University

Lloyd Doaman

Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund

Marina Cohen

Rabobank, NY Branch

S. Rebecca Neusteter, Phd.D

University of Chicago Health Lab

Alexander Paddington


Ann B. Siegel

American Museum of Natural History

Scott Simon

PJT Partners

Richard Wechsler

Lockard & Wechsler

Christine Pahigian

Executive Director, Friends of Island Academy

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? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • 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 3/10/2022

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data


Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser