our mission and values


Educating kids, strengthening their families, and building a healthy community.


An introduction to Urban Ventures, from CEO Dave Hawn


“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

This proverb guides the way we approach our ministry at Urban Ventures. For 25 years, we have worked to break the cycle of poverty in south Minneapolis. Our community deserves to realize the change it seeks; our region’s economy demands it. Everything we do at Urban Ventures centers around one big and audacious goal—to prepare and send every child in our neighborhood to college or some form of postsecondary education. This empowerment–through education–is at the heart of our mission. 

To get there, we seek transformation from the inside out. Potential is unleashed when our community pools the assets of businesses, civc organizations, faith communities, and schools together with the God-given talents of individual community members. By building relationships and connecting across divides, it becomes easier to build on what works and empower those in need to dream bigger than they ever thought possible. When people intentionally engage in each other’s experiences, doors open and the benefits of shared networks multiply.

Reaping the benefits of a diverse community takes listening; it takes patience; it takes intentionally. But it gives the opportunity to think broadly, share in breakthrough moments, and more fully live into our values. Urban Ventures is always striving to broker new connections, build on the talents of others, and craft joint initiatives that bridge the gaps between profit and purpose.  

We know that on the path towards transformation, the middle gets messy. It’s hard work to help the hardworking. We view it as our job to show up and serve–faithfully and tirelessly–together. It’s my privilege to serve alongside you.  

Dave Hawn
President & CEO



Every kid deserves a fair shot.


 But 51% of youth in our South Minneapolis neighborhood are growing up in poverty—a burden no child deserves to bear.



In our neighborhood, entire generations of families lack access to economic and social capital.

Harsh realities affect many in the blocks surrounding our South Minneapolis campus:


Poverty = Achievement Gap

Just 16% of students-of-color graduating from local high schools go on to get a college degree and/or a fulfilling career.


Poverty = Parenting Gap

62% of households are headed by single mothers. 42% of those mothers lack a high school diploma. 50% don't speak English.


Poverty = Health & Nutrition Gap

98% of students get free or reduced lunch.  Few get enough physical activity daily.



Here’s how we answer the question
"How do you build a city without poverty?"



A city without urban poverty.


Educating children, strengthening their families, and building a healthy community. 


Faith, integrity, empowerment, transformation, diversity, and sustainability. Learn More.

What does it mean that Urban Ventures is a faith-based organization?

Urban Ventures is proud to be a faith-based organization. With the principles and teachings of Jesus at the center, we are led to serve all people and treat everyone with love and respect regardless of their beliefs. Our faith compels us to action; we strive to make our neighborhood one that reflects the justice and love that characterize God’s dream for the world. We trust in the power of God to use the seeds we plant in the hearts of those in our community to produce fruitful, long-term change.


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