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Connections to Independence (C2i) is a stand-alone non-profit organization that established its 501(c)3 status in July of 2010. However, C2i began in 2002 as a program of Summit Academy OIC in North Minneapolis. Summit Academy exists to train low-income people for living-wage careers in construction and health care. Over the years, Summit had added supportive educational programming that was aimed at children and young adults.

The Connections program was created to address the high number of youth who were reconnecting with County services post emanicaption but more so the high population of youth of color of color who were in the foster care system. It was also launched as an attempt to improve the long-term outcomes of this population, specifically to reduce the number of foster care clients reconnecting with the system via incarceration, utilizing homeless shelters, and having open child protection cases of their own.

Summit Academy OIC and Hennepin County partnered to develop the Connections Program to address the lack of stability among youth placements and to prepare them for a successful transition to self-sufficiency and independent living. As a result, C2i remains focused on these original core components.

In June of 2009, the Summit Academy Board of Directors and President made the necessary decision to narrow the school’s mission to focus more strictly on its core constituency. This allowed the opportunity for the Connections Program to transition into its own non profit organization. C2i has now moved to South Minneapolis and is housed in Sabathani Community Center. C2i is now able to solicit its own funding and partnerships to further its mission and serve more youth in foster care.