In 2003, a group of youth-serving nonprofits gathered to discuss solutions to the lack of developmental opportunities and safe spaces for young people in DC. That first meeting led to a year and a half-long dialogue around the systemic barriers and resources impediments preventing nonprofits from efficiently serving young people. The result of the ongoing and passionate conversation led to the formation of an alliance to collectively advocate for the greater good of DC youth.


Maggie Riden at mic“DCAYA was founded in 2004, recognizing that until young people had a say, a say in the policy decisions, the funding decisions, and the practice decisions, as a community we were never going to achieve the outcomes we need. And that was really the impetus behind our founding.”


– Maggie Riden


DCAYA has grown from a staff of two to five and one intern, representing more than a hundred organizations and over eighty-eight thousand young people in the District of Columbia. That’s a tremendous footprint for a very small team, and one that requires quick communication, nimble and responsive messaging, and the ability to navigate an ever-changing landscape environment. Learn more about the team.

“The commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration.”

Collective Impact drives every element of our advocacy work, from Community Input Meetings to mobilizing people to testify at Council hearings. We work better when we work together.

More than ten years later, we are now a coalition of over two hundred local youth serving organizations working to promote positive policy, practice, and funding in the District of Columbia that supports young people from cradle to career.

Put simply, our mission is to make sure that no matter what community a young person lives in, what school they attend, they have every opportunity they need to thrive, to grow, and to succeed in their journey to adulthood. Interested in joining us? Learn more about becoming a member organization.