Removing hurdles, building community.

The key to breaking the cycle of poverty in Minneapolis is empowering individual families. We are doing the hard work of helping the hard-working.

Picture a foot race with each person running down a lane with hurdles. The hurdles aren’t all the same height, and some lanes have way more hurdles than the others. No matter how fast the runner in that lane runs, or how hard they train, they will never be able to keep up.

This is how the cycle of poverty works. Many families in our city are working hard to improve their lives, but they encounter hurdles others don’t have to face. Food insecurity, discrimination, lack of transportation, and under-resourced schools are just some of the obstacles that can quickly slow a person down, and they spend the rest of their life trying to catch up.

We don’t think that’s fair, and we bet you don’t either. For over 25 years we have worked to remove the unfair hurdles in our neighborhood so families can sprint ahead to the lives they are trying to build.


Education Changes Everything


There’s no silver bullet to end poverty, but continuing education after high school is close. Students who continue their education after high school:

  • Earn over twice as much

  • Cut their unemployment rate in half

  • Increase their job security

  • Live healthier and have healthier children

  • Have kids who are more likely to attend college

  • Are more likely to give back to their community

Every kid in college

Continued education is such a transformative force against poverty that we’ve made it the cornerstone of what we do. In fact, our one big goal is to prepare and send every kid in our neighborhood to college or another form of post-secondary education. Every program and event we do is geared around removing the hurdles to higher education and breaking the cycle of poverty for Minneapolis families.  

Supporting the whole person.


Complex challenges require holistic solutions. We take a integrated approach, empowering the three core areas of every person; heart, mind, body.

Real transformation starts in a person’s core. We believe relationships matter most, so nearly all of our programs include individual support. From Young Life mentorship programs to mental health seminars, we address what the heart needs.

Through our music programs, literacy initiative, and parenting classes, we offer ways to expand both the creative and logical sides of the brain. Quality out-of-school learning helps reduce the achievement gap.

From athletic programs to our urban farm, we address both the physical and nutritional needs of the body. Healthy diets and physical activity increase brain capacity and cognitive ability while decreasing illness that can cause attendance issues.



We drive economic mobility through education, family support, and community asset-building.

Urban Ventures is uniquely positioned to holistically support kids and their parents at every developmental stage from cradle-to-career.

Check out our strategic plan and theory of change by CLICKING HERE.
Check out our 2018 strategic update by


Across our we pay close attention to 10 key metrics we’ve identified as important indicators of success. We constantly monitor and tweak the way we deliver services to meet the evolving needs of our participants and community.


 Connected to supporters.


We know there are many others out there who are passionate about transforming our city. From volunteering to contributing financially, we look for every way we can to connect supporters to the work happening in south Minneapolis. (Heck, you can make a difference just by sipping coffee.) Our commitment to life transformation extends to our supporters as well:

  • Timely updates on how gifts are making an impact

  • Personal guided tours of our campus

  • Opportunities to volunteer with our programs

  • Regular stories of transformation from the organization

  • Events to raise awareness and support