Youth Development

How do we value the Youth Development field?

Youth development is a way to help young people acquire the knowledge and skills they need to become healthy and productive adults. While these programs are diverse and some focus on intervention as or after problems occur, most youth development work is preventative in nature.

Almost $302 million is invested in over 275 Illinois social impact organizations that do direct service youth development work. Those groups serve 1.2 million youth each year.

One third of that investment comes from government, and the rest from private sources like foundations and individuals who care about youth. Download the Youth Development fact sheet.

What does this investment in Illinois’ youth yield?

$1: $45

Every $1 invested in youth development sector generates $45 in socio-economic value.


Goes to youth and their families.


Accrues to society through increased tax revenue, increased economic activity due to the jobs in youth development, and avoiding spending to treat expensive social problems.

The work of the youth development sector has value.

It plays an economic role in Illinois–as job creators, as avoiders of costly social problems. It is also a builder of human capital, a pillar in communities, and a protector of natural resources — including our kids.

If you care about this work and the future of youth in Illinois, share this story or leave a story of your organization’s impact!


1 Response

  1. CeaseFire Illinois, a Cure violence program partner, calculated its social return on investment in Chicago and Illinois. For every $1 invested in CeaseFire, $15.77 in savings occurs including social benefits such as increased student achievement, higher IQ scores, higher reading scores, higher GPAs, increased rates of graduation, less likelihood of abusing drugs and less likelihood of becoming violent.

Leave a Reply

Send this to friend