About Us

Celebrating 25 Years

This year we are marking a major milestone—turning 25! Over the course of the 25 years that we have been in existence, much has been done to help traditionally underserved youth become more successful, and we count our efforts in improving youth policy as a significant contribution. As an important voice in education, youth, and workforce policy, AYPF has educated, informed, and engaged policymakers at the national, state, and local levels to help them implement policies that support underserved youth. To celebrate our achievements over the last 25 years, we will be looking back and reflecting on those moments that have defined us as an organization.

AYPF’s focus on youth who are traditionally underserved will remain a bedrock of our work. While many are only now coming to embrace equity as a key tenet, AYPF will continue to seek strategies that improve equitable opportunities and outcomes for all youth.

Our Founder: Samuel Halperin (1930-2014)


Photography By: Ralph Alswang202-487-5025ralswang@aol.comwww.ralphphoto.com

Dr. Samuel Halperin

Our founder, Dr. Samuel Halperin, was a committed advocate who tirelessly fought to improve the life quality of the most powerless and disadvantaged youth in America. Sam founded the American Youth Policy Forum in 1993, with a vision of helping national policymakers learn about effective programs and policies that lead to youth success. He was an insistent voice for focusing policies and resources on “the forgotten half” a phrased he coined that refers to the majority of America’s young people who do not complete high school or pursue career-related postsecondary education and who consequently face dim economic and social futures. He also believed that bringing together policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to learn about what works and experience effective programs through first-hand experiences would lead to enlightened policies for youth.

Sam had a long, illustrious, and fascinating career, serving as the Assistant Commissioner of Education for Legislation and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and he was also one of the chief architects of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

AYPF is deeply grateful to Sam for his enduring leadership, his steadfast vision to serve “the forgotten half,” his insist focus on “what works,” his genius in creating venues for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to come together, and his generosity in mentoring and guiding generations of young people.

Additional information about Sam’s career and life is here:


AYPF gets me inside schools and programs in a way that allows me to ask policy-related questions and hear the questions others are asking. 

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