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About Youth Leadership Institute


The Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) has been an innovative leader in the field of youth development for over 20 years, working to build communities that invest in youth. At YLI, we believe cultivating engaged and dynamic young people today will lead to a more equitable and sustainable society tomorrow.


Through our decades of youth leadership development, we consistently see young people’s deep motivation to challenge and improve the society in which they live. YLI fosters this passion, providing ways for youth to channel it into effective community change.


YLI’s youth-led engagement strategies include:

  • Adopting healthier community policy through civic engagement
  • Addressing and changing negative social norms
  • Abating predatory media messaging
  • Establishing better access to healthy choices


YLI is a nationally recognized leader in engaging youth in several key areas, including:

  • Access to healthy food
  • Educational Equity
  • Civic engagement
  • Prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use
  • Youth Philanthropy


Who We Serve

YLI’s model develops non-traditional youth leaders. In fact, 90% of youth served by YLI are people of color, and 71% are from low-income families. 


How We Serve

The Youth Leadership Institute serves youth and communities through training and consulting services, and through community-based programs.



Training & Consulting Services

The Youth Leadership Institute offers training and consulting services based on more than 20 years of leadership development research, implementation and evaluation. YLI has an award-wining history of tailoring these services to build the capacity of organizations of all sizes and areas of focus.


YLI’s training and consulting services focus on the following areas:

  • Action Research & Assessment
  • Environmental Prevention Strategies
  • Facilitation & Meeting Management
  • Leadership Development
  • Policy
  • Program Evaluation Strategies
  • Strategic Action Planning
  • Training of Trainers
  • Youth Adult Partnerships
  • Youth Development


To learn more, please send an email to


Community-Based Programs

YLI’s community-based programs create partnerships among youth, adults and collaborating community organizations in four California counties:

  • Fresno
  • Marin
  • San Francisco
  • San Mateo


Working on the ground in urban, suburban, and rural communities, youth examine the environmental and societal factors—such as unhealthy eating, substance abuse, or violence—and develop programs and campaigns that address and improve them in sustainable ways.


Through these channels, YLI works toward the goal of ensuring that all youth have equal access to healthy community environments.



Learn about YLI's two decades of youth leadership development in the report Youth Leadership Institute: Twenty Years of Innovation and Action (PDF). Learn more about YLI's recent impact in the 2010-2011 Annual Report (PDF).




YLI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, registered in the State of California. We have made our most recent 990 Federal tax return available here.