About the YEF Institute

The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute), a special entity within the National League of Cities (NLC), helps municipal leaders take action on behalf of the children, youth, and families in their communities.

NLC launched the YEF Institute in January 2000 in recognition of the unique and influential roles that mayors, city councilmembers, and other local leaders can play in strengthening families and improving outcomes for children and youth.

Responsive to municipal leaders on a wide range of issues, the YEF Institute focuses on five core program areas:

  • Education and afterschool
  • Youth development
  • Early childhood success 
  • Safety of children and youth
  • Family economic success

The YEF Institute is a national resource, providing guidance and assistance to municipal officials, compiling and disseminating information on promising strategies and best practices, building networks of local officials working on similar issues and concerns, and conducting research on the key challenges facing municipalities in these core program areas. It collaborates with a broad range of national partners and works with the nation's 49 state municipal leagues to reach local officials in up to 19,000 cities and towns across America.

With a cumulative investment of more than $25 million from philanthropic, corporate, and government sources over the last 10 years, the Institute has stimulated and guided local initiatives in 140 cities through more than two dozen technical assistance projects. Nearly 60 action kits, strategy guides, and other reports and publications - along with an extensive set of online resources - now provide trusted roadmaps for municipal leaders.

Peer networks help city officials share lessons learned, while the biennial Summit on Your City's Families as well as leadership academies, webinars, and other convenings have given local leaders countless opportunities to take their efforts to a new level.