Youth Policy Institute




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $41,627,658
Expenses: $41,507,430
Assets: $9,567,197

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Youth Policy Institute was a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was founded in Los Angeles in 1983 and provided a variety of education and anti-poverty programs to children and young adults in Los Angeles. In 2019, the organization’s interim chief executive director Dan Grunfeld announced that the board of directors had decided to shut down the organization and transfer its after-school programs to the nonprofit Think Together. 1


The Youth Policy Institute was created with funds from the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Fund in 1983. The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation was a nonprofit organization established by the Kennedy family in 1968 to memorialize the public service work of the late U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy (D-NY). The fund and collection of other projects are now under the name Robert F. Kennedy Fund for Human Rights. 2

Youth Policy Institute was originally created to support lower-income families by funding programs and services that sought to increase family income and academic achievement of lower-income students.

In more recent years, Youth Policy Institute programs were accessible to more than 50,000 adults and youth participants in Los Angeles. Its 125 program sites offered educational and vocational training services such as afterschool programs, charter and pilot schools, summer jobs for youth participants, college preparation, tutoring, and courses in physical education, computer literacy, parenting, and adult education.

During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Youth Policy Institute spent $1.3 million more than it earned. Dixon Slingerland, previous executive director of the nonprofit, was fired from the position in 2019. Auditors reported that Youth Policy Institute had made numerous payments to Slingerland’s personal account that lacked documentation. 3 Beginning in 2014, Slingerland was accused of directing $1.7 million of Youth Policy Institute’s funds into his own personal account and to contribute political donations to Democratic candidates. 4

Advocacy Activities

In 2010, Youth Policy Institute spent $60,000 on total lobbying expenditures, but by 2014 it was spending $140,000 lobbying the White House and other federal agencies. 5 6

In both 2009 and 2010 Youth Policy Institute hired a firm, Brian Cave LLC, to lobby the executive office of President Barack Obama and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for federal grant money. Youth Policy Institute faced criticism from local Los Angeles-area politicians who expressed concern that Youth Policy Institute had not reported its lobbying activities and that there was a lack of transparency in the grant awards process for the Obama administration’s Promise Zone initiative. 7

Cause of Action, a nonpartisan government accountability organization, alleged that Youth Policy Institute’s tax returns and audit forms demonstrate that the organization should have been liable to the Internal Revenue Service for $24,000 in penalties and had violated federal lobbying laws. 8

In 2019, former chief executive director of Youth Policy Institute Dixon Slingerland was accused of using the organization’s funds to contribute to national political causes. During the time he held this position, a period of 23 years, he established relationships with politicians at local, state, and federal levels so that he could secure government funding for his organization. He also worked to raise over $743,000 for the Obama Victory Fund and the Democratic National Committee over a period of two presidential election cycles. 9


Dixon Slingerland was the former president and chief executive officer of Youth Policy Institute from 1991 to 2019. 10 He had an annual salary of $400,000 when he was fired from Youth Policy Institute for allocating the organization’s money towards his personal account, and making financial contributions from Youth Policy Institute to Democratic campaign committees in violation of federal tax law. He worked as a booster for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D). He held several fundraisers for Mayor Garcetti’s 2013 campaign and contributed $5,000 to a committee created by Mayor Garcetti to support congressional candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. He also raised more than $743,000 for President Obama’s election campaigns in 2008 and 2012. 11

In 2018, Youth Policy Institute’s board of directors included James Alva; Dr. Myung Ki “Mike” Hong; Ari Lanin from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Brenda Freiberg from New Village Girls Academy; Tom Unterman from Rustic Canyon Partners; Richard Foos from Shout! Factory; Yasmine Johnson from Alliance of Moms; Shari Leinwand from Gibson; David Messinger from Activision Blizzard; Mary O’ Connell from Adams O’Connell Inc.; Bradford Pollard from Citi Private Bank; Amit Verma from Pricewaterhouse Coopers; and Steve Rindner from Main Street Advisors. 1213

Iris Zuniga was the executive vice president and Director of Youth Services at Youth Policy Institute. She managed afterschool programs that provided tutoring services at 56 school sites throughout Los Angeles. Prior to working at Youth Policy Institute, she worked for the California State Senate District 20 as the Education and Health Field Deputy. In this role she developed education policy for citizens of California. She also worked as an Assistant Education Consultant for the Senate Select Committee which sought to develop programs to eradicate poverty in California. 14 Currently, she is a fellow of the Casey Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship. 15

Steven Schultz was the chief financial officer of Youth Policy Institute. He worked to procure the financing for programs that provided families living in the poorest neighborhoods of Los Angeles access to education, and workforce training. He managed finance, risk management, payroll, and procurement operations for the organization. From 2006 to 2015 he worked as the chief financial officer for AbilityFirst, an organization that provides employment services to people with disabilities in Los Angeles County. 16

Angelica Solis-Montero was the chief communications development officer of Youth Policy Institute. She worked on programs that addressed education, housing, health, and public safety issues. She developed the Los Angeles Promise Zone initiative and core programs under the Workforce, YouthSource, Health & Wellness, and Community and Support departments. Previously, she worked as the executive director of the organization Alliance for a Better Community. 17

Tara Watford was the senior director of research and evaluation at the Youth Policy Institute. In her role she measured the impact of Youth Policy Institute’s programs in providing educational services to high-poverty communities within Los Angeles. Currently, she works as the chief data officer at the Bail Project, an organization that provides free bail assistance to low-income individuals who are deemed eligible for release before trial on the condition that they pay bail. 18


Youth Policy Institute had a $42 million annual budget and was primarily funded from local, state, and federal money. It originally received sole funding from the U.S. Department of Education to implement its educational programs in eight charter and public high schools in “Promise Neighborhoods.” These neighborhoods were originally designated by the Obama administration to qualify for additional support and services due to high levels of poverty. 19

In 2018, Youth Policy Institute received $45,621,949 million in government grants. 20

In 2009, Youth Policy Institute was the recipient of a $26 million grant from the California Department of Education to provide after-school academic and enrichment programs to schools in Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley. 21

In 2012, Youth Policy Institute was the recipient of the $30 million five-year Promise Neighborhoods planning grant that was awarded by the Department of Education. With this grant, Youth Policy Institute implemented programs in Pacoima and Hollywood neighborhoods in Los Angeles that targeted the educational outcomes and safety of youth living in these communities. 22

In 2015, Youth Policy Institute received a $4.4 million grant from the federal Corporation for National and Community Service for a program that had AmeriCorps members stationed to work in school districts within the designated Promise Zone neighborhoods of Los Angeles established by President Obama in 2014. 23


  1. Zahniser, David, and Howard Blume. “This Group Was Supposed to Help L.A. Tackle Poverty Head-on. Instead, It’s Shutting Down.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 25 Oct. 2019,
  2. “Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation Records: JFK Library.” Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation Records. John F. Kennedy Library ,
  3. Zahniser, David. “L.A. Nonprofit Promoted Heavily by Garcetti Faces Uncertain Future, Audit Says.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 21 Oct. 2019,
  4. O’Reilly, Andrew. “Obama Fundraiser Accused of ‘Lavish’ Misspending at Nonprofit That Filed for Bankruptcy.” Fox News. FOX News Network. 7 Nov. 2019.
  5. Ross, Chuck. “’Promise Zone’ Grantee with Ties to Obama Failed to Disclose Lobbying.” The Daily Caller. March 26, 2014.
  6. “Youth Policy Institute Lobbyists.” Client Profile: Youth Policy Institute. Youth Policy Institute. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  7. Ross, Chuck. “’Promise Zone’ Grantee with Ties to Obama Failed to Disclose Lobbying.” The Daily Caller. March 26, 2014.
  8. Ross, Chuck. “’Promise Zone’ Grantee with Ties to Obama Failed to Disclose Lobbying.” The Daily Caller. March 26, 2014.
  9. Luan, Helen. “Ex-LA Nonprofit Accused of Misusing Group Funds for ‘Lavish’ Personal Spending and Obama Campaigns.” The BL. November 7, 2019.
  10. “Dixon Slingerland.” LinkedIn Corporation. Accessed February 3, 2020.
  11. O’Reilly, Andrew. “Obama Fundraiser Accused of ‘Lavish’ Misspending at Nonprofit That Filed for Bankruptcy.” Fox News. FOX News Network. November 7, 2019.
  12. “Steven Rindner Business Profile.” Recent News. Zoom Information, Inc. January 4, 2017.
  13. Youth Policy Institute. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Part VII. Section A. 2017. Accessed February 3, 2020.
  14. “Full Biography for Iris Zuniga.” Voter’s Edge California. League of Women Voters of California Education Fund. January 7, 2013.
  15. “Iris Zuniga.” People. Annie E. Casey Foundation. Accessed February 3, 2020.
  16. “Steven Schultz.” Linkedin Corporation. Accessed February 2, 2020.
  17. “Angelica Solis-Montero.” Los Angeles Housing Community Investment Department. Accessed February 3, 2020.
  18. “Tara Watford.” Our Team. The Bail Project. Accessed February 3, 2020.
  19. Sanburn, Josh. “Inside the LA Nonprofit Whose ‘Cradle to Career’ Programs Helped the City’s Neediest Students before Its Abrupt Closure.” LA School Report. 3 Nov. 2019.
  20. Youth Policy Institute. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Part VIII.Section 1. 2018. Accessed February 3, 2020.
  21. “Youth Policy Institute (YPI) Awarded $26 Million Grant for Afterschool Programs.” Business Wire. October 15, 2009.
  22. Jones, Barbara. “Youth Policy Institute Wins $30M Grant for Schools in Pacoima, Hollywood.” Daily News. Los Angeles Daily News. August 28, 2017.
  23. “Mayor Garcetti and Youth Policy Institute Announce Major Americorps Grant.” City of Los Angeles. Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. July 6, 2016.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 1984

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Jun Form 990 $41,627,658 $41,507,430 $9,567,197 $7,095,317 N $41,400,774 $0 $0 $931,572 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $40,867,264 $41,252,666 $8,867,138 $6,515,486 N $40,288,776 $319,211 $0 $663,754
    2015 Jun Form 990 $36,004,451 $35,234,985 $8,055,399 $5,318,345 N $34,678,445 $1,097,855 $0 $1,171,288 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $28,993,064 $27,117,057 $6,233,380 $4,265,792 N $27,226,226 $1,594,542 $37 $0 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $21,326,310 $21,108,860 $5,669,034 $4,359,118 N $21,325,928 $0 $382 $0 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $23,604,159 $22,961,678 $5,364,226 $4,271,760 N $22,406,003 $0 $449 $0 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $25,681,884 $25,143,914 $5,519,363 $5,069,378 N $25,355,857 $0 $0 $554,817 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Youth Policy Institute

    LOS ANGELES, CA 90057-1007