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CYS Receives $2 Million Gift From the Yield Giving Open Call

We are honored to share huge news!

Centinela Youth Services has been selected to receive a $2 million gift as an awardee of the Yield Giving Open Call.

In March 2023, Yield Giving launched an Open Call for community-led, community-focused organizations whose explicit purpose is to enable individuals and families to achieve substantive improvement in their well-being through foundational resources.

Our project was selected from among 6,353 applications from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico after a process of multiple levels of review, feedback, and diligence involving peer applicants and an external Evaluation Panel recruited for experience relevant to this cause.

Why CYS applied for this grant

Nationally, most diversion programs are managed by justice system agencies, divert only minor offenses, and disproportionally deny referrals for youth of color. Most divert youth after entry of an arrest record. Youth of color in under resourced communities still face undue criminalization that derails their well-being, education, self-identity, and employment options. Diversion services that incorporate accountability and access to the supportive services they need have been proven to transform behavior, reduce re-offending, improve wellbeing, and preserve career opportunities. With 12 years of documented effectiveness, CYS’s pre-arrest diversion model is revolutionary in that it is community-led, interrupts the arrest, and serves youth accused of all misdemeanors and most felonies.

What this grant will allow us to do

Thanks to the Yield Giving award, CYS will be empowered to mobilize with its partners working on juvenile justice reform to develop and deliver a host of webinars and trainings to support advocates in other jurisdictions committed to expanding their diversion work in ways that will truly move the needle on systemic disparities for youth of color.

Over an anticipated three-year developmental trajectory, CYS will document lessons learned and define a model for collectively moving the needle towards a future beyond diversion; a future where our communities are healthier and collaboratively meeting the needs of young people so successfully that adults no longer choose to call police for adolescent misconduct because robust community supports have supplanted the need.


Jessica J. Ellis

Executive Director



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