Nonprofit Spotlight: St. Paul Youth Services

St. Paul Youth Services!

St. Paul Youth Services (SPYS) is on a mission to improve our community’s collective ability to engage and support Black youth by pioneering practices, creating tools, and sharing resources across the state, the country, and the world. “Rewriting the Rules® of Youth Engagement”, SPYS creates system change around the underlying barriers to equity and delivers programs that allow youth to be accountable for their actions, but with a safety net, second chances, and by developing the skills to make choices that allow them to pursue their dreams. 

We asked SPYS:

Q: What is unique about St. Paul Youth Services, or what would the community miss without your organization?  

A single suspension from school – which could result from something as “typical teen” as a passionate argument with a teacher – increases a young person’s chances of dropping out or going to prison. Similarly, a trip to the police station for breaking curfew can have a profound impact on a young person’s life. Minor offenses, but major consequences – with residual effects that can last a lifetime. Black youth, immigrant youth, and youth of color face these consequences at disproportionate rates.  

That’s why we’re so proud to partner with the police, county, schools, libraries, and other public and nonprofit agencies, to offer positive redirection strategies and proven alternatives for early behavior intervention that hold youth accountable to learn from their past mistakes without reducing their life options. Our approach is smart, fair, loving, and gets results. 9 in 10 children we serve do better in school, stay out of the criminal justice system, and resolve conflicts with healthy options. 

As more communities and institutions struggle to eliminate disparities in their youth outcomes, our approach of training adults and transforming systems, cultures, policies and practices – all in partnership with young people themselves – has never been more urgent. Our community simply needs new rules of engagement. 

SPYS earned the Meets Standards® seal through Charities Review Council’s Accountability Wizard® online tool. 

Q: How has assessing your organization with the Accountability Wizard® strengthened your capabilities or led to improvements?  

The Council’s review process supported us in SPYS’s value to Demonstrate Shared Vulnerability & Accountability.  

We’re growing three key areas of our work, which together will amplify youth voice and power, shift adult perspectives and practices, and create more effective and equitable public policy. To achieve this, we’re also strengthening and growing our own operations.


You can find St. Paul Youth Services’ latest annual report and financials here. 

Motivated to donate to SPYS? Tune in to their Rewriting the Rules® podcast or sign up for their newsletter to learn more. 

If you are inspired by their work like we are, share this post with your networks to help spread the word about St. Paul Youth Services. Thank you!


Your support of the Council builds important bridges like this between donors and nonprofits. Thank you for considering a gift to Charities Review Council – strengthening philanthropy to foster strong, vibrant, and just communities.    

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