Imagine a City


More work must be done to address our city’s pervasive urban youth crisis and serve the more than 12,000 young people living in underserved neighborhoods in Knoxville.

To reinvigorate our community and prepare the next generation of leaders, Emerald Youth Foundation is excited to lead IMAGINE A CITY, an initiative focused on raising Knoxville’s next generation of promising, godly leaders.


Our Challenge

Research has indicated the following are true for urban children in Knoxville:


Fewer than half of the youth do not have a mentor like a coach, tutor, or youth worker.



Only 20 percent are known to be engaged in organized sports.


Less than 15 percent of youth are known to be engaged in faith development.


Urban youth lag 50 percent behind academically to their suburban peers and the gap is widening


I am convinced that their programs in faith, learning, and health are quite literally changing the trajectory for our city’s young people.

Doug Kennedy

Chairman of the Board, Emerald Youth Foundation  
CEO, Johnson & Galyon Construction


Our Goals

By 2027, Emerald Youth Foundation aims to accomplish TWO ESSENTIAL GOALS:


Increase Comprehensive Program Participation: Expand the number of young people who are comprehensively engaged in faith, learning and health programs.

We aim to increase the number of young people who are comprehensively involved in all three program areas from approximately 300 children each year to more than 2,400 or 20 percent of the urban youth population.

Develop Leaders: Annually graduate 200 godly, young leaders who have fully completed the Emerald Youth Pipeline.

Learn about the Emerald Youth Pipeline:


Emerald Youth has nearly three decades of experience in growing leaders from Knoxville’s urban neighborhoods, redefining what is possible for the thousands of young people.

Mr. James A. Haslam II

Founder and Chairman, Pilot Corporation


Imagine With Us:
How You Can Help


In order to accomplish these goals by 2027, Emerald Youth Foundation needs increased philanthropic support to:

  • Hire talented new staff and volunteers to engage more youth.
  • Seek new community partners who can strengthen our ability to expand programming
  • Invest in facilities to better serve our participants

With your investment of time, energy, and resources, we will continue to not only imagine but cultivate a city where every child in every neighborhood has the opportunity for a full life.

We hope you will join us as part of our city’s Kingdom transformation.