In late April 1997 Presidents Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford and First Lady Nancy Reagan, representing President Ronald Reagan, met at the Presidents' Summit for America's Future in Philadelphia. Also present were 30 governors, 100 mayors, 145 community delegations, dozens of prominent business leaders and several thousand citizens. At this conference the Presidents asked the nation to make youth a top priority and to support the Five Promises. Powell was chairman of the conference and subsequently became the Chairman of the organization. He held that position until his appointment as Secretary of State but still actively supports the foundation.
The foundation works with hundreds of companies, non-profit organizations, faith based organizations, educational institutions, as well as government agencies to achieve its goals. A complete list of partners can be found here
1. Ongoing relationships with caring adults – parents, mentors, tutors or coaches
A caring adult serves as a guide, a mentor and a role model for young people. This sense of connection—within and outside the family—is a powerful factor that encourages good social skills, responsible values and a positive identity. Adult role models include parents, teachers, coaches, extended family members and tutors. All across the nation, America's Promise partners are connecting caring adults to young people.
2. Safe places with structured activities during non-school hours
A safe place with constructive activities gives youth an alternative to street corners, gangs and other harmful environments. A safe place nurtures young people's skills and interests, enriches their academic performance and gives them opportunities to contribute to their communities. America's Promise partners are responding by creating safe havens for young people.
3. Healthy start and future
Children need a healthy start before they begin schooling – prenatal care and early immunizations are vital in a child's first years of life. Children and adolescents also need accessible and affordable healthcare, including good nutrition; eye, ear and dental checkups; and regular exercise. America's Promise partners provide accessible and affordable health services for all young people throughout development.
4. Marketable skills through effective education
Marketable skills enable young people to prepare for employment in the 21st century. Young people must master basic academic and analytical skills, learn workplace etiquette and know how to use new technology, such as computers and the Internet. America's Promise partners help youth develop these essential career skills.
5. Opportunities to give back through community service
Community service not only benefits society, it also enriches the lives of people who provide it. Young volunteers have higher self-esteem, perform better in school, build leadership skills and learn how to solve community problems. Unfortunately, many youth are rarely asked to participate in community service – even though most volunteer when asked. America's Promise partners are providing numerous opportunities for youth to help their communities.
America's Promise also has a public policy affiliate organization called First Focus