About Us

Futures and Options’ mission is to empower New York City’s youth, particularly youth of color and students from historically underrepresented communities, to acquire transferable professional skills, pursue higher education, and successfully compete in a global 21st century economy. We collaborate with New York City employers to provide transformative career development opportunities to young people, enabling them to succeed in college and inspiring them to pursue meaningful careers.

Futures and Options was founded in 1995 by Dr. Barbara Christen as a pilot project of the Alliance for Downtown New York. For nearly 30 years, we have worked to address the persistent inequity that inhibits New York City’s young people from having access to meaningful early work experience.  Using a student-centered, strengths-based approach, we ensure that our students have access to meaningful growth opportunities and the resources needed to succeed, while we simultaneously create a pipeline of talented youth for NYC employers.

Since our founding, Futures and Options has served more than 14,000 New York City youth, partnered with more than 500 businesses and 200 schools.  Our programming has grown to include a robust internship program, multiple career development workshops, specialized, industry-specific opportunities for students to explore their passions, and myriad touch-points for alumni engagement. Through this web of support, we prepare students to be competitive in the 21st century job market, equipped with the critical thinking, collaboration, and interpersonal skills necessary for success in the working world.

Our Values


We are dedicated to fulfilling our mission and realizing our vision of promoting an enduring and positive impact for our students, partners, and community.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We are committed to fostering and sustaining a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion, welcoming others to share their voices and create a thriving, vibrant community that represents and respects diverse perspectives and ideas.


We continually look to achieve the highest standards in all we do and to fulfill our promises to provide exceptional services for our students, partners, supporters, and team.


Integrity is fundamental to every action and decision we undertake; we uphold the community’s trust in Futures and Options to do the right thing at all times.


We treat all people with the highest respect and utmost dignity and appreciation.

High Expectations

We believe in the potential and talent of people, propelling them to become confident and have faith in their abilities.


We emphasize working together in an atmosphere of trust that supports our commitment to excellence. We rely on teamwork and partnerships to successfully achieve our mission.