5 Beliefs That Drive Our Work


Why do you do what you do? What are your underlying beliefs that drive how you live? Here at Urban Ventures, our driving mission is to end urban poverty. It’s what gets us up in the morning, and fuels us throughout the day. And we're not alone.

Over 1.5 million nonprofits are registered in the United States and many address poverty like we do. So with countless organizations out there, and that stack of holiday fundraising letters piling up, who do you stand behind? Who do you trust?


At Urban Ventures, we know we can’t take on the giants of this world alone.


So we choose to stand behind and partner with those who share our beliefs and passion for ending poverty in an empowering way. Here are five key beliefs that drive our work.

1. We believe place matters

Twenty-four years ago, we moved into the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis and have been rooted there ever since. Seeing the beauty and potential of what others then called “Crack Alley,” we made the corner of 4th and Lake St. our home.

Today, we remain hyper-local—focused on a 25-block area that is bordered by 35W to the west, East 26th Street to the north, Portland Avenue South to the east, and East 35th Street to the south.


Our neighborhood has changed over the years, but one thing remains the same: our commitment to love and be present in this community.  


As we enter our 25th year, we are more committed than ever to see our neighborhood thrive and each of our neighbors reach their full potential.

2. We believe relationships come first

The ongoing process of transformation happens through relationships, so we strive to prioritize relationships in all we do. Whether with our supporters, neighbors, program participants, partner organizations, or local institutions, relationships are the lifeblood of Urban Ventures.


Relationships are the lifeblood of Urban Ventures.


Plus, urban poverty is a complex issue that we can’t possibly solve alone. Addressing poverty requires the ingenuity, creativity, and generosity of a diverse community. So while relationships catalyze the process of transformation, they also foster a more effective, dynamic approach to fighting poverty.

3. We believe education changes everything

The majority of adults in our neighborhood grew up in poverty, and data shows that their children are likely to remain in poverty, too. While we continue to be committed to a holistic approach, we are ramping up our focus on education. Why? Because research shows that a high-quality education is the single greatest mechanism for breaking the cycle of generational poverty.


With this in mind, Urban Ventures is committed to doing whatever it takes to prepare and send every child in our neighborhood to college, or some form of post-secondary school, by 2040.


And while we strive for that goal, we’ll continue to serve parents, caregivers, and our community as a whole to ensure that kids have the supportive environment they need to succeed.

4. We believe in finding creative ways to make donations go further

We aim to maximize the impact of every dollar given to Urban Ventures. To do that, we strive for financial sustainability through launching and growing social enterprises. Over the years, we’ve sold coffee, honey, kombucha, lip balm, soap, T-shirts, mugs, and more. We started a Mobile Farmers' Market, a CSA, and a cafe on the Midtown Greenway.


As the enterprises evolve, our goal remains to create job opportunities and generate revenue to fund Urban Ventures programs.


In fact, last year, 20 percent of our revenue came from sustainable sources! That means your donation goes even further.

5. We believe in living out our faith

Our biblically-based faith motivates us to do the work we do. It leads us to treat everyone we meet with love and respect, regardless of their beliefs.

We strive to make our neighborhood one that reflects the justice, love, and welcoming community that characterize God’s dream for the world.


We strive to make our neighborhood one that reflects the justice, love, and welcoming community that characterize God’s dream for the world.


And as we do, we trust that God will use the seeds we plant to produce fruitful, long-term change.



These core beliefs guide us at Urban Ventures.

They are part of our DNA. So while we work to educate kids, strengthen their families, and create a healthier community, we are doing it from a place-based, people-first, faith-inspired frame of mind.

We prioritize education while holistically supporting families. And we strive to sustain it all, and maximize the impact of your financial support, by developing innovative social enterprises.


If this is your heart too, then welcome to the team.

Urban poverty is a complicated issue, and despite progress, half of the kids in our neighborhood still live in poverty. We know how to change those numbers and break the cycle of poverty for good, but we can’t do it alone. We need a community of supporters and advocates. We need you.


It’s not about what or how much you give. It’s about all of us pursuing a better world together.

Will you join us?