Every child. Every neighborhood.
A full life.


Since Emerald Youth Foundation launched more than 25 years ago, our Christian mission has centered on developing young leaders in the heart of Knoxville.

We are encouraged by the stories of those who have grown up to become godly mothers and fathers, neighborhood coaches, Sunday school teachers, church board members, teachers, managers, business owners and civic leaders. Yet, despite these abundant stories of inspiration and hope, our community faces ongoing challenges that require a continued commitment to change.

While we all regularly recite the prayer Jesus taught to his disciples, we too often allow the words to become routine, forgetting to reflect upon the underlying purpose and meaning. That enduring line, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven,” is a prayer of conviction, faith and vision.

This is a prayer that I encourage us all to say daily for our children in the hope that earth could look a little more like heaven, that we could help their life trajectory become more aligned to His will rather than defined by the blueprint of this world.

I firmly believe this can be true for all children in Knoxville: that every child, in every neighborhood, can have a full life. Today, there are approximately 15,000 youth in underserved neighborhoods in Knoxville. Each and every one of these promising children and young adults deserves an opportunity to build a better life – a life defined by pillars of faith, learning, health and relationships. It is this fundamental belief that drives our work day in and day out, and it is a belief we hope you will share.

Whether you are new to Emerald Youth or have engaged with us since our earliest days, I encourage you to join our mission, either by helping the young people in your life participate in our programs or by volunteering your time or resources to support our work. Together, we can build a stronger Knoxville and raise the next generation of leaders.

Steve Diggs Signature.png

Steve Diggs
President & CEO
Emerald Youth Foundation


Steve Diggs  | President & CEO

Steve Diggs | President & CEO