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By CoFounder Josh Burstein

I grew up as the son of an academic, hopping from campus to campus while my father pursued tenure. It was a charmed gypsy life, as I had the pick of the litter of cute undergraduate babysitters. The thought never crossed my mind that I would not go to college.

For many inner-city high schoolers, further education is by no means a given. The desire may be there, but an uncomfortable reality tends to get in the way.

I live in California, a state heralded for its top-notch public universities, but 47th in state spending per public school student. So while the world looks to the glorious left coast as a dynamic power of industry and culture, its local development of young minds is rather lacking. I don't know precisely how many of those inner-city kids can see beyond the horizon of a high school diploma, but whatever the number is, it's clearly not what the promise of America is supposed to mean.

That's why this year my colleague Zach Fishbain and I founded MyPi, the Millennial Youth Professionals Initiative...

...Read the full article here.

MyPi Introduces Inner-City Youth to Amazing Industries (VIDEO)


Los Angeles— One of the most unique things about our generation is our incredible desire to give back. In LA I met Josh Burstein and Zach Fishbain who began a cool non-profit called MyPi (The Millennial Youth Professionals Initiative). MyPi’s mission is to bring inner city teens into the work place and show them what it really takes to be part of some of the coolest industries. Josh and Zach invited me to check out one of their mentor excursions at 826LA. These guys both have 9-5 jobs but heeded the call to help uplift the lives of young people in their community. Keep an eye on MyPi, these are young guys making moves, while making an impact.

CED Unit, Gibson, Dunn Help NGO Serving Disadvantaged Youth

By Keith Fujiu, Public Interest Fellow

Inner-city youth from South Los Angeles received a boost of inspirational mentorship through the work of LAFLA’s Community Economic Development (CED) attorneys with the Millennial Youth Professionals Initiative (MyPi). CED partnered with pro bono counsel Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP to help two aspiring nonprofit entrepreneurs create MyPi, which inspires youth in South Los Angeles to pursue a college education by linking them with mentors at progressive companies

Following a test visit with one student to Electronic Arts, MyPi co-founders Zachary Fishbain and Josh Burstein, recently completed their first trip by bringing eight middle and high school students to TOMS Shoes. TOMS is a shoe company that gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold. At TOMS, students toured the facility, met and spoke with employees, and even designed their own custom shoes. By conveying the message that skills have value in the workplace, MyPi hopes that inner-city youth will aspire to achieve internships and jobs at companies like TOMS.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher attorneys Marin Babb, Britten Bailey, David Koch-Weser and Stephanie Kim, assisted MyPi with incorporation and the attainment of tax exempt status.

"It was inspiring to help Zach and Josh realize their vision for MyPi.  These founders are committed to helping young people build better futures for themselves, and the Gibson Dunn team appreciated the chance to be involved in their efforts," said Marin Babb, an associate with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

 LAFLA’s CED Unit, which works with community-based organizations to improve their neighborhoods, continues to work  in conjunction with Gibson Dunn  to provide MyPi support through the tax exemption process including reviewing of contracts and navigating fundraising regulations.

The Huffington Post:

Identifying Community Leaders

By CoFounder Josh Burstein

I was privileged to explore space with six kids from South Central LA last week. MyPi, a new non-profit devoted to empowering inner-city youth, takes teens on fun field trips to cool workplaces. On this visit behind the scenes of SpaceX, something very exciting happened in the brief history of our non-profit: we had a repeat customer.

"Andre" had joined us earlier at 826LA, a creative writing workshop, where he let his imagination run free by penning a "choose-your-own-adventure" novel. Despite his past participation in our program, Andre started this trip imitating the unproductive habits of his fellow students. Hanging out in the back, slouched, disengaged -- too cool for school. But this wasn't school, and our representative from SpaceX wasn't having any of that. She insisted that Andre sit in one of the first two rows -- he posted up front and center as close to her as possible. His friend joined.

Then we talked science. Real boring stuff, like attempting manned missions to Mars, picking apart hi-tech gizmos and fusing them back together, pyrotechnics, the usual. Andre came at our lecturer with a barrage of questions -- his enthusiasm and energy changed the tempo of the presentation. His buddy joined the conversation, and the rest of the crowd responded to it.

Discovering trendsetters like Andre is how we propose to identify and support potential leaders and shift the dynamic of a learning space. An hour later, we went to the production floor, which was loaded with Tony Stark future stuff. The tour sold itself. Between Mission Control and a 180 foot spaceship, a question was posed to the group -- and there was Andre, recalling the type of fuel used by these 21st-century rockets (liquid O2 and RP-1, for those curious).

I don't expect this kid to be an astronaut -- nor does he have to become one. We just like to kick up some dust so a young guy like Andre can see new possibilities. And if he can take that attitude back home and let his charisma work for him in and beyond high school, it makes him a cornerstone of his community. I want to see more like Andre: student leaders to captain our trips and reform the classroom.