16 Best Charities for Inner-City Youth (Complete 2024 List)

16 Best Charities for Inner-City Youth (Complete 2024 List)

Dennis Kamprad

Read Time:12 Minutes


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Modern life has brought us comfort and personal convenience, but it also has presented us with the possibility of doing more with our money. Charities have the infrastructure to efficiently increase the impact of your dollar on the real world. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for inner-city youth?

The best charities for inner-city youth are Stand Up for the Kids, Maryland Youth Club, and Common Ground Foundation because they help provide fundamental needs for youth development (such as food, shelter, clothing, and education) on a near nationwide level.

If you wish to contribute toward the goodwill of the inner city youth with your time or money, you should read our complete analysis of 16 of the charities that should have your attention.

These Are the 16 Best Charities for Inner-City Youth in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for inner-city youth:

  • Stand Up for the Kids
  • Youth Impact Program
  • All Stars Project
  • InnerCity Struggle
  • Inner City Youth Charitable Foundation
  • Inner-City Arts
  • ABC Youth Foundation
  • Maryland Youth Club
  • Houston Children’s Charity
  • Inner City Impact
  • Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation
  • Inner City Youth Opportunities
  • Inner City-Inner Child
  • Urban Youth Impact
  • Inner City Youth for Change
  • Common Ground Foundation

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support. And we’ll give you an overview of how you can find out how to best support your chosen charity.)

Stand Up for the Kids

While education and personal development can help youth prosper in their future, homelessness is such a critical drawback that it grounds the kids’ attention in the present, where they have to focus only on getting by on a daily basis by whatever means necessary.

This provides such a drastic environment of deprivation that no education takes root even if the kids are attending a charitable program focused on STEM or arts education. Stand Up for the Kids is a charitable education with the mission to get children off the streets by providing housing support, assisting with goal-setting and job readiness, and rehab introduction where necessary.

Areas of impact: Inner cities all over the states

Focus of mission: Ending homelessness among those under the age of 17

How to contribute: Donate, Volunteer, or start a chapter in your neighborhood

Youth Impact Program

The Youth Impact Program was founded by people with a background in the National Football League (NFL), which has a universal appeal to teenagers across America. Through this program, inner-city youth can get free education and get a better chance at life upon graduation.

One big educational challenge for inner-city youth is overcoming an environment where consumerist messages take priority over education. Surrounded by such messages, they find that classical learning methods like classrooms with standard curriculum do not interest them. 

The Youth Impact Program Curriculum was designed to use football and sports terminology to educate youth. By partnering with fourteen universities and professors, the charity produced a program that has impacted 3,000 young men. 

Area of impact: Baltimore, Bronx, Chicago, Detroit, Harlem, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Washington, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Syracuse

Focus of mission: Free education for young-adult and teenage males

How to contribute: Donate or shop with smile.amazon.com and select the Youth Impact Program as your charity of choice. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase amount to the charity.

All Stars Project

Disadvantaged kids are often addressed in the context of their most fundamental needs. Charities can offer clothing, shelter, and food, but that also restricts the children to just living to sustain themselves. The emotional needs of a child include their dreams. When asked about their dreams, most children wish to hone their talents and become superstars.

The All Stars Project makes sure that stardom is not just for those with privilege. The world needs artistic talent to shine regardless of background, and if the inner-city youth are given a chance, they can be the stars of tomorrow.

Afterschool development is a relatively new form of education that engages urban city youth in positive activities. This allows them to connect with like-minded kids and teenagers and cross-pollinate ideas. Consequently, the kids are influenced to dream big, be bold, and cultivate self-confidence to help them in their lives ahead regardless of the career they choose.

Area of impact: New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta, Greensboro

Focus of mission: Talent development among youth and afterschool engagement

How to contribute: Volunteer, Join the team as a staff member, or Donate

InnerCity Struggle

When a child is in a deprived environment, psychologists say that they can develop a self-centered perspective that can lead to narcissism. This possibility looms over many youths growing up in the inner cities. InnerCity Struggle organizes the community to cross-collaborate and demands the right action. With direct action campaigns, the organization can transform the neighborhoods to end the cycle of struggle.

Area of impact: East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights

Focus of mission: Community organization, demanding action, and leadership training

How to contribute: Donate to the organization, attend marches, or get educated in leadership (as a student)

Inner City Youth Charitable Foundation

Education is a key component of success in the modern world. While financial issues, prejudice, and a lack of infrastructure can be obstacles in front of teenagers and young-adults, nothing is as influential as peer pressure and lack of examples. The Inner City Youth Charitable Foundation motivates and supports the disadvantaged Youth of Chicago to obtain higher education.

The foundation connects individuals with positive role-models so they can learn about the possibilities and opportunities that life has to offer them. Furthermore, it educates them on educational opportunities and helps them gain access to funding for scholarships.

Area of impact: Chicago

Focus of mission: Education

How to contribute: Donate or Shop on Amazon using smile.amazon.com and selecting the Inner City Youth Charitable Foundation as your charity of choice. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase amount to the foundation

Inner-City Arts

When looking at charitable organizations, there seems to be a dichotomy between charity and education. Organizations either spend money to provide funds for youth or invest in their education. 

However, the arts are often left behind when they impact creativity and foster innovation, both of which are contributors to an area’s overall success. There are multiple examples of creative thinkers from disadvantaged neighborhoods coming forth with inventions and ideas that have changed the world around us.

Inner-City Arts champions creativity and positive learning among the disadvantaged youth of inner-city areas. With a physical campus that provides state of the art education in the arts, middle schoolers and high school-aged children have a shot at exploring their creativity.

Area of impact: Los Angeles Inner City

Focus of mission: Education in the arts and creativity through distance learning and physical campus

How to contribute: You can donate to the organization, become a frequent-contributing member, and get exclusive perks, or volunteer if you have the right qualifications. Alternatively, you can also fundraise for the organization

ABC Youth Foundation

Inner-city youth have many things holding them back, including the belief that they are destined to live a certain type of life. Pushing children away from even dreaming, the loud opinions about what they can’t do become the shackles that hold them back for the rest of their lives.

Boxing legend Archie Moore became a worldwide superstar despite the disadvantages of holding him back. He founded the Any Body Can Youth Foundation to help raise disadvantaged kids in an environment that challenges them and supports them simultaneously, bringing the best cooperation and competition. 

Area of impact: Disadvantages of neighborhoods in San Diego

Focus of mission: Education, fundraising, and grants

How to contribute: Donate to the charity or become a volunteer

Maryland Youth Club

We all have heard the words ‘book smart’ and ‘street smart.’ These terms refer to the distinction between knowledge and wisdom. As kids, being book-smart is helpful, but as children transition to teenagers, it becomes important to gain transferable skills like cooperation and social skills.

Maryland Youth Club helps children and young-adulthood by providing education in a community setting instead of a classroom setting. This alternative education empowers them to be job-ready and acquire more skills. The programs run by the organization can be taken as an add-on to classroom education or as an alternative. Either way, the programs can have a real-world impact that can last a lifetime.

Areas of impact: Baltimore, Maryland

Focus of mission: Alternative education and positive engagement of inner-city youth

How to contribute: Donate to the organization

Houston Children’s Charity

A little positive influence can go a long way. A lack of guns in hand can lead to a lot of guns in hands later in life. By providing children the little things that can make childhood great, the Houston Children’s Charity helps children transition to youth in a positive environment free of deprivation.

With programs like A Better Night’s Sleep and Toys for Tots program, the children are given little luxuries in life that make a big difference. That said, the organization also helps with high-impact programs like Adopt-A-Family and Texas Children’s Hospital Emergency Fund. Helping youth can never happen in a vacuum, and it takes creating a positive impact on the family environment to prime youth for excellence.

Area of impact: Houston, Texas

Focus of mission: Helping children transition to youth without deprivation

How to contribute: Donate to the organization, volunteer to help with your time

Inner City Impact

It is often possible for people with children’s best interests in mind to get too focused on their future and miss out on the fact that childhood is precious. We can look back at our childhoods with rose-colored glasses and have a positive nostalgia, but inner-city kids with disadvantaged backgrounds may not have that when they become adults. That is why it isn’t just important to focus on their careers and future but also their present.

Inner City Impact attempts to neutralize the burdens of daily life that can rob inner-city kids of their childhoods. The organization creates an environment where these children feel safe, connect with other kids, and engage in wholesome activities. Nurturing their youths has a far greater impact on personality and social skills, which are also predictors of long-term success.

Area of impact: Chicago

Focus of mission: Children/Childhood Positivity

How to contribute: Donate or volunteer

Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation

One of the reasons problems persist in the world is because the attention of capable masses is consumed by celebrity culture and consumerism. In such a culture, it is refreshing to see celebrities use their appeal to bring attention and help to those who need it the most.

Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation is dedicated to helping inner-city youth succeed by eliminating the obstacles in their way. Some of the key barriers to youths’ success include a lack of education, lack of financial support, and negative influences. 

The foundation deals with multiple obstacles the youth face like the prevalence of drugs, lack of positive recreational outlets, and socializing difficulties.

Area of impact: Boston Inner City

Focus of mission: The cultivation of positive recreation at an early age to keep the youth from making wrong decisions. The organization brings Drug Awareness Summits to disadvantaged neighborhoods, organize summer camps, hosts positive parties, distribute funds, and build basketball courts

How to contribute: Donate to the foundation or volunteer to mentor a youth

Inner City Youth Opportunities

Family problems can contribute adversely to children’s education. This temporary environmental issue can have a long-lasting impact on children’s well-being. As a result, the kids are unable to concentrate in class and progress in their educational path. 

In growing up, there is little one can do without the right education. Fortunately, Inner City Youth Opportunities combats this problem and a range of others that put inner-city youth at a disadvantage. The organization provides educational support and opportunities to the inner-city youth and has a motto of ‘Education in Motion.’

Area of impact: Cincinnati

Focus of mission: Experiential learning through tennis for kids, Academic Intervention for youth, and educational grant access for those in need

How to contribute: Donate to the organization or volunteer with your time

Inner City-Inner Child

A hardened environment can force children to grow up too quickly. By putting responsibilities on children beyond their age and exposing them to needs that children are not meant to deal with, the inner city environment can be quite harsh to the seedling of childhood.

Inner City-Inner Child provides early education to children, so they have the opportunity to be better adults. Most children who do not learn reading at an early age rarely get even a high school diploma let alone a university education. Therefore, the initiative championed by Inner City Inner Youth for two decades is quite significant.

Area of impact: Disadvantaged neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.

Focus of mission: Early education and literacy among the youth in urban environments

How to contribute: Donate to the organization

Urban Youth Impact

It is tough for parents with little means to see their children unable to receive the right education despite their love for learning. Urban Youth Impact is an accredited non-profit that helps children learn with a classroom curriculum. As a faith-based organization, it believes in loving, equipping, and empowering children every day, and the kids receive a state of the art educational environment upon enrolling.

300 inner-city youth have been given transportation, free tuition, and free lunch as of now. With more contributions, the foundation can expand its impact. You may wonder why the number is not in the thousands. That is because the organization focuses on quality. They have two kindergarten classes with ten children per class. 

Area of impact: At-risk neighborhoods in Palm Beach County

Focus of mission: Faith-based development and education of inner-city children

How to contribute: Donate to the charity or volunteer

Inner City Youth For Change

When you look across the adverse contributors to inner-city youth’s success, you find the same problems persisting throughout neighborhoods. Inner City Youth For Change aims to equip the teens to learn and be the propagators of change.

Responsibility is a great way to help young adults get out of their shells and focus on personal development. Furthermore, when these youths serve as positive peers and role models for the community, the potency of self-development messages expands exponentially compared to outsiders trying to force positive change on young-adults.

By reducing friction in the propagation of education and using positivity in social expectations, the organization has a lasting impact on the generations they serve. The educational program is followed by an incentivized all-expenses-paid trip that has cultural education embedded in it. 

By strategically positioning education as a prize for education, the organization motivates young adults to pursue learning with more focus and passion.

Area of impact: Kalamazoo

Focus of mission: Identity development, Cross-cultural exchange, peer-development among inner-city youth

How to contribute: Donate to the organization

Common Ground Foundation

It takes empathy and experience to relate to the inner-city youth, and by empathy without experience comes mismanagement of effort and a lack of return. The Common Ground Foundation was started by Academy Award-Winning artist Lonnie Jr. known by his stage name Common.

As someone who grew up understanding the disadvantages faced by inner-city youth, Common has committed his time and resources to set up the foundation which has served the community for over a decade.

Area of impact: Chicago

Focus of mission: Education and support

Ways to contribute: Donate to the organization

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on this list are, we deem, the best charities for inner-city youth. But don’t just take our word for it! You might want to do your own due diligence for each of these – as you should. Or for a particular charity that you may have in mind.

Either way, check out our six-step approach to select the best charity to support:

  1. Check out the charity website and their mission. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. The website is the best place to start. And while you are on it, also check out their mission to see how clearly you align with it.
  2. Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  3. Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
  4. Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  5. Double-check the charity’s independent ratings. Two great places for this are Charity Navigator, the largest database on charities that analyze their financial health, accountability, and transparency, and Charity Watch, which details the amount of money spent on charitable activities versus overheads.
  6. Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place.

How You Can Support Your Favorite Charity?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Youth is perhaps the most impactful point in an individual’s life. Helping the youth through one of the charities listed above will make your dollar reach farther, and your time matter more. Support the charities which resonate with you and share this post to make your clicks contribute to the cause.

Did you know that you could also pick a great many of these charities with the Amazon Smile program? Just pick for your favorite one as your charity of choice. And Amazon will donate 0.5% of all your order amounts to that charity. Without you paying more. It’s like automatic donations without spending extra money.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta


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