Unleashing the power of youth to change the world.


Action: We listen. We reflect. We act. YouthRoots is responsive to the ever changing needs of our communities through intentional action that results in tangible impact.

Inclusion: Every individual has a unique ability to change the world. YouthRoots elevates the voices of diverse individuals to build community through dialog and growth to ultimately contribute to a more equitable society.

Innovation: Whether it be through collaborative partnerships, new programs, or community resources, we are always on the lookout for creative and strategic opportunities to elevate youth voice in philanthropy.

Youth Power: Youth change the world every day. YouthRoots unleashes the limitless passion and energy of young people who are the engine that drives much community impact work. Youth are not only the future, they are also the present.

Why we exist

We remember being teenagers. We remember having lofty goals, faith in humanity, and little fear of failure. But we also remember people who told us our big ideas wouldn’t work.

YouthRoots believes it’s up to today’s teens to solve tomorrow’s problems. We catalyze this natural energy and passion of youth by providing a holistic leadership curriculum that uses the philanthropic process to teach youth how to communicate, make decisions, foster their passions, and align their strengths. We develop thriving young adults and authentic leaders.

YouthBoard members set the goals. They do the work. We give them the support they need. As one participant stated, “I love that everything is real: real pitches, real businesses, real grants and real change. It’s not just a class or simulation.”

YouthRoots graduates embrace the world with the confidence, tools, and optimism to make their dreams a reality.


Founded in 2010 by Lacey Books, YouthRoots has gained esteem and recognition as our impact has grown. We’ve expanded from serving 15 students a year in Denver, Colorado to 150 students across three states. In addition to our front-range YouthBoards that are direct programming of YouthRoots, we serve additional communities though partnerships with community foundations in Boulder, CO, Pueblo, CO, Yellow Springs, OH and Sioux Falls, SD.

YouthRoots participants have increased the funding pool for community nonprofits by raising and granting over $315,000. Additionally, participants develop tangible skills to bring their big ideas to life and improve their communities.


  • Top Nonprofit (Finalist) – CoBiz Magazine, 2020
  • Top Nonprofit (Finalist) – CoBiz Magazine, 2019
  • Innovator – Community First Foundation’s Innovators Society, 2018
  • Outstanding Foundation – CO National Philanthropy Day, 2017
  • Outstanding NonProfit – Governor’s Service Awards, 2014
  • Best New Charity (Finalist) – Stay Classy Awards, 2010
YouthRootsOur Story