Press Releases

More Than 900 Multi-Sector Leaders And Young Adults To Convene At The 2016 National Opportunity Summit To Mobilize Around The American Dream

by Opportunity Nation   •  

More than 900 business leaders, nonprofits, policymakers, philanthropists and young adults are expected to convene at the 2016 National Opportunity Summit to mobilize around economic mobility on September 10 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The Summit is led by Opportunity Nation, whose mission is to close the opportunity gap and restore access to the American Dream. Opportunity Nation is a campaign of Be The Change, Inc. Summit speakers include: Gen. (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal; Senators Susan Collins and Tim Scott; and Neera Tanden, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, among others.

“America is truly the nation we make together, and we invite the country to transcend politics and position to invest in restoring the American Dream,” said Monique Rizer, executive director of Opportunity Nation. “As our annual Opportunity Index shows, many challenges to economic mobility in the United States still exist, and are often based simply on where you are born. The Summit will bring together bipartisan leaders to close these opportunity gaps and ensure zip code doesn’t determine destiny.”

The 2016 National Opportunity Summit will feature these announcements:

  • The release of the 2016 Opportunity Nation Policy Agenda entitled Our Opportunity Nation: A Plan to Fulfill America’s Dream as an Opportunity Nation, which is endorsed by more than 115 leading national and community based organizations in the Opportunity Nation Coalition, which are committed to working across the aisle on the nation’s most pressing issues.
  • The inaugural Jacob K. Javits Prize for Bipartisan Leadership, awarded to Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for a lifetime of bipartisanship, and to Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) for their emerging partnership. The Prize celebrates their collaborations across the aisle to make progress on the nation’s most pressing issues.
  • The release of Opportunity Nation’s issue brief, Retail’s Opportunity: Exploring the Industry’s Impact on People and Places. The report, sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, details the state of opportunity for retail workers and steps needed to increase economic, social and educational opportunity for those working within the retail sector.
  • The 2016 ServiceWorks AmeriCorps VISTA Cohort Swearing-In Ceremony, funded by Citi Foundation.

A national coalition of more than 330 businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits and civic organizations representing the collective voices of tens of millions of people will be represented at the Summit, in addition to leaders from the employer, policymaking, youth advocacy, education and philanthropic communities. Attendees will include nearly 100 Opportunity Leaders, a national network of young adult advocates who have personal experience with and solutions to barriers to advancement in America.

The Opportunity Summit is co-chaired by:

  • Gen. (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal, Founder, McChrystal Group and Chairman, Service Year Alliance
  • Deval Patrick, Managing Director, Bain Capital and Former Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Monica Lozano, Chairman, The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program
  • Jonathan Lavine, Co-Managing Partner, Bain Capital & Chief Investment Officer, Bain Capital Credit and Co-Chair of Opportunity Nation Campaign.

“The chance to work hard and apply your talents to create better outcomes is fundamental to American life,” said co-chair Jonathan Lavine. “We’re working with businesses, policy makers and community-based organizations to ensure the promise of America is true for every young adult.”

“Youth unemployment has profound consequences, threatening the social and economic future of an entire generation of Americans,” said Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, the premier funder of the Summit. “The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support the 2016 Opportunity Summit and to continue the work of reaching across sectors to expand opportunity and build more inclusive economies for more broadly shared economic success.”

Other speakers at the 2016 Opportunity Summit include:

  • Representative Chris Gibson (R-NY)
  • Robert Doar, Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute
  • Ron Haskins, Co-Director, Center on Children and Families of the Brookings Institution
  • Rob Denson, Co-Chair of Opportunity Nation Leadership Council, and President, Des Moines Area Community College
  • Anne Kress, President of Monroe Community College
  • Bobbi Silten, EVP Global Talent and Sustainability, Gap Inc.
  • Abigail Carlton, Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Justine Cabulong, Audience Supervisor, The Daily Show
  • Blair Taylor, CEO of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance
  • Judith McKenna, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S.
  • Andrei Santalo of LinkedIn for Good
  • Ed Skyler, Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs, Citi

“Young Americans must be able to harness their full social and economic potential for U.S. cities to remain economically competitive,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation, a signature supporter of the Opportunity Nation Summit. “We are committed to being part of the dialogue and the solutions surrounding the Summit, as we work together to bridge the gap between aspirations and reality of our young people today.”

“Convenings like this – bringing together individuals from a range of backgrounds and sectors – underline that partnerships are essential in order to advance pathways to success for our nation’s young people. Together, we can create opportunities for young adults to gain better trajectories toward economic mobility and build thriving communities that benefit us all,” said Kerry Sullivan, President of Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

Alan Khazei, Founder & CEO of Be The Change, Inc., concluded, “We must act now to restore the promise of the American Dream by ensuring that all Americans – regardless of where they are born – have the opportunity to thrive. We are excited to rally with our nation’s Opportunity Youth and this cross-sector, bipartisan group of leaders at the 2016 Opportunity Summit to inspire meaningful change for the nation, and to put forth our policy agenda for the next President of the United States to consider implementing.”

The 2016 Opportunity Summit will take place September 10, 2016 from 7:30AM until 4:30PM at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Those interested in learning more about the 2016 National Opportunity Summit, seeing the full list of speakers and supporters, and supporting Opportunity Nation’s work may do so here: Follow the event on Twitter with the hashtags #TheNationWEMake and #OppSummit.

For information on the policy agenda, reports and other information being released at the Summit, contact Stacy Heit at

To speak with an Opportunity Leader, contact Selena Gonzales Jones at

For all media inquiries, please reach out to Kristina King at


Opportunity Nation Opportunity Nation is a bipartisan, national campaign comprised of more than 350 cross-sector organizations working together to expand economic mobility and close the opportunity gap in America. Opportunity Nation envisions the United States as a nation where everyone – regardless of where they were born – has equal access to opportunity, economic mobility, and success at all stages of life.

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