National Academy Foundation

National Academy Foundation (NAF) is an educational non profit organization. The mission of the National Academy Foundation (NAF) is to sustain a national network of career academies to support the development of youth toward personal and professional success in high school, in higher education, and throughout their careers. NAF Academies represent business/school partnerships that prepare young people for future careers through a combination of school-based curricula and work-based experiences. (source

NAF was created by philanthropist Sanford I. Weill. His proposal was accepted by the New York City Board of Education resulted in the opening of the first Academy of Finance in a Brooklyn public high school in 1982. The program was designed specifically to address the lack of opportunity for young people in New York City.

In 1987, NAF's Hospitality and Tourism theme was launched with the opening of two pilot Academies, one in Miami, Florida and another in Richmond Hill, New York, with support from the American Express Foundation.

In 2000 NAF piloted a third theme, opening Academies of Information Technology in 12 high schools across the country with support from Lucent, AT&T, United Technologies, GTE/Verizon, Oracle, Computer Associates and Compaq.

In 2002, the first set of Career Academies outside the US were set up in the United Kingdom by Career Academies UK, affiliated to NAF

Today there are 130 Academies of Hospitality and Tourism, 159 Academies of Information Technology, and 318 Academies of Finance located in 40 states and the District of Columbia supported locally by over 2,000 businesses and corporations.

Recently, the NAF has created a fourth academy soon to grow in numbers like the other three major academies. This new academy is known as the Academy of Engineering.

As Weill explained in his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee:

You saw young people playing in the street, young people without having a clue of what life was about, and how they can become part of the system. That was the beginning of the idea that maybe the private sector should get together with the public sector and see if we can create a high-school level program that can expose young people for a career in the financial services industry.

The Academy of Finance (AOF) was first established in 1982 by the National Academy Foundation. The Academy of Finance is one of the three member programs sponsored by the National Academy Foundation. It is a small learning community that offers high school students an opportunity to study accounting, international trade, leadership, and the use of technology in preparing for college and the financial services industry. It also allows students to earn college credit while still in secondary education. The program is offered in more than 260 secondary education institutions nationwide.