Our Mission

BRIDGES unites and inspires diverse young people to become confident and courageous leaders committed to community transformation.

BRIDGES is rooted in the belief that young people can—and should—play a vital role in making Memphis a better place to live, work and play.

We believe great leaders, regardless of age, must appreciate diversity, lean into courageous conversations, and build bridges across deep philosophical and physical divides. Yet many Memphians’ relationships and day-to-day interactions are still as segregated—whether by race, socioeconomic level, or other factors—as they were when the Bridge Builders® began in 1988.

With each passing year, BRIDGES works to break down those barriers and unify our community, starting with our youth.

Through CONNECT, COLLABORATE, and CHANGE, our three levels of Bridge Builders programming, youth in grades 6-12 learn to step outside their comfort zones and seek out diverse perspectives. But they also hone other critical real-world skills like communication, problem-solving, and decision-making as they explore effective citizenship and social responsibility. And Bridge Builders programs don’t stop at diversity appreciation and leadership development—they challenge youth to apply those skills to make meaningful and lasting impacts on schools, neighborhoods, and city.

At BRIDGES, we believe youth aren’t just “the leaders of tomorrow.” They’re powerful agents for positive change today.

BRIDGES USA is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit and has no political or religious affiliation.