Youth Gain Experiences to Learn, Lead and Succeed

Studies show that out-of-school time directly affects youth behavior and academic success. By keeping youth occupied with activities to stimulate their minds, they are engaged and focused while improving social skills and grades.

  • Every Minnesota youth has an average of 2,000 hours of discretionary non-school time in a given year.1
  • Early education and participation in after-school programs can reduce initiating drug use among youth by nearly 46 percent while reducing the likelihood of them skipping school by half.2
  • Every $1 invested in out-of-school-time programs results in a $10.51 return with the benefits of improved school performance, reduced crime and welfare costs, and increased wages.3

United Way's Response

We invest $5.7 million annually in supporting quality out-of-school efforts:

  • These investments focus on high-need communities serving youth from low-income families. Investments support highly rated programs based on best practices and definitive outcomes such as academic success, parent involvement and youth development.
  • United Way is one of the largest funders in Minnesota for quality out-of-school programs for youth.
  • We collaborate with state leaders in youth development to create and implement research-based quality standards.

Our Results

2014 Goal: Provide 21,000 youth quality out-of-school-time programs that offer enrichment and academic opportunities.

Result: We exceeded that goal and engagedĀ 24,200 youth in quality out-of-school-time programs.


  1. Commission on Out of School Time. (2005) Journeys into Community: Transforming Youth Opportunities for Learning and Development, Minneapolis, MN: Center for 4-H Youth Development.
  2. Cunha, Flavio and Heckman, J. J. (2006) Investing in Our Young People. University of Chicago.
  3. A Matter of Money: The Cost and Financing of Youth Development by Robert P. Newman, Stephanie M. Smith, and Richard Murphy. Center for Youth Development and Policy Research, 2001.