They say you’re only as good as the company you keep. To carry out Comcast NBCUniversal’s commitment to service and social impact, we align with partners who are dedicated to serving the greater good. Since 2001, we’ve been incredibly proud of the support we’ve brought to our partnership with City Year.
A member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is an educational nonprofit that recruits 18-to-25-year-olds, asking them to dedicate a year toward making a difference in the lives of underserved students. City Year AmeriCorps members work at public schools in high-need urban communities across the nation, helping students stay on track to graduate from high school. The organization aims to bridge the gap between the support the students need and what their schools are able to provide.
David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation — and national Co-chair of the City Year Board of Trustees — says that the partnership continues to thrive thanks to great organizational alignment. “We’re a big national company, and City Year is a big national nonprofit,” Cohen says. “But the real power is local. We both recognize that the real impact is made on the local level, out in the field, person-to-person.”
City Year AmeriCorps members make a measurable impact in the lives of the students and communities they serve. These young men and women are also developing advanced leadership and professional skills that will help them in the future. That’s where a key aspect of our partnership really shines.
Once a year, we host a Comcast NBCUniversal Career Day in all our City Year locations to help prepare AmeriCorps members — many of whom continue on to service careers in the public sector — for the next step in their professional journeys. We provide invaluable real-world guidance and support that includes resume reviews, job search assistance, human resources training, and individual mock interviews. Since Career Day began in 2005, we’ve helped 14,500 AmeriCorps members prepare for life after City Year and ignite a lifetime of civic engagement.
Last year, more than 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members served nearly 200,000 students in 300 schools in 28 U.S. cities. And as part of our long-standing commitment, Comcast NBCUniversal, in partnership with Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, supported 24 school-based teams in 19 cities across the United States and has sponsored more than 100 school teams since the Comcast–City Year partnership began.
One of those cities is Jacksonville, Florida. Dan Foley, a City Year alumnus, is City Year Jacksonville’s Vice President and Executive Director. Foley is clear about his mission.
“We’re making an impact on our communities and creating an opportunity for young Americans to go and serve their country,” Foley says. “By building relationships with students at the right time in their lives and supporting their academic and social development, we are helping them develop the skills needed to succeed in life. City Year can truly change the trajectory of a student’s school year, which can have positive impacts on their future educational and professional opportunities.”
Because of the team Foley built and his leadership in Jacksonville, the site has expanded from two schools to 12 schools, making it one of City Year’s fastest-growing sites across the country. Over the past three years, the number of AmeriCorps members serving in Jacksonville has grown from 75 to over 100, reaching more than 9,000 students each year.
As a result, in 2017, Foley received the Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding City Year alumni who exemplify the core values of City Year and continue their commitment to strengthen community; inspire, mobilize, and empower others; and create and develop sustainable solutions for social change.
But Foley has a simpler explanation for what he does.
“We absolutely believe that everybody, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to achieve their full potential and contribute to a community of other people doing likewise,” he says.
Changemaker: Dan Foley
A proud native of Philadelphia, Foley graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Seton Hall University in New Jersey. While there, he was challenged by a classmate to identify his purpose. That nudge helped lead Foley to City Year, where he discovered a calling for creating meaningful change in his community.
“I kind of stumbled into the nonprofit sector through my year of service, and have always approached my work not as a nonprofit professional but as a community servant,” Foley says.
He began service as an AmeriCorps member in the South Bronx with City Year New York. He then moved to the West Coast, where he ultimately became Program Director for City Year Los Angeles, before landing in Jacksonville.
Foley agrees that the move to North Florida was a natural fit. “The community here had bought into City Year completely,” he says. “We had champions who believed. And they wanted someone who could bring to bear their own City Year experience in leading Jacksonville. I’m blessed and privileged to have been chosen to do just that.”