The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation was established for the purpose of raising and distributing funds to youth service and enrichment programs. Established in May 2001 by Mark Wahlberg and his brother James, lifelong members and advocates of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Mark came from a family of nine children and spent most of his afternoons and evenings at his local club. Mark credits a large part of his success to the fact that he was fortunate enough to spend his free time in the positive and nurturing environment of the Boys and Girls club.
The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation is dedicated to helping inner city youth reach their full potential in life. Built off Mark’s belief that “it’s our turn to help,” the Foundation funds the same types of programs that helped Mark Wahlberg overcome challenges during his youth. Despite overall progress when it comes to improving teen graduation rates in the United States, the sobering fact remains that three out of every 10 students in U.S. public schools still fail to finish high school with a diploma according to a 2009 EPE Research Center Study. The Foundation aspires to reach those children whose dreams and passions are limited due to financial circumstances and provide them with opportunities that allow them to see the value in their education and planning for their future.
• Youth Summer Camp: Since 2004, MWYF has hosted “Camp Northbound,” a one-week, recreational, summer camp in Bridgestone, ME. The camp serves 150 youth each year from Boston’s inner city communities. The camp also engages alumni campers by hiring them as junior counselors for the week.
• Afterschool Programs: MWYF provides grants to Boys & Girls Clubs and other after school programs across the country. Annually, MWYF hosts a holiday party and gift giveaway for more than 250 underserved youth. Other partners include Reach Back L.A., an educational program in South Central L.A. that was recently awarded an MWYF grant toward a new youth center.
• School Support: MWYF is committed to giving inner city kids equal access to education and provides grants to support school computer labs and educational scholarships. One of its recent partners include the Dorchester Alternative Youth Academy, which serves teens who are discharged from traditional school settings and need help functioning successfully in school.
• Graduate to Go Campaign: MWYF has joined the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens to support Graduate to Go, a long-term initiative raising awareness and funds to combat America’s high school dropout crisis. This year, more than $4 million will be distributed to nearly 350 organizations to fund real world experiences that inspire teens to stay in school. The partnership also includes the launch of Graduate to Go Studios, state-of-the-art music and film studios built in Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.