Welcome to Memphis "Beat the Odds" Foundation


Our site will return soon, BUT you can still make a donation or purchase event tickets 

About Us

How We're Helping

The "Beat the Odds" project was initiated in 1990 by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) to focus on the positive potential of youth. The Memphis "Beat the Odds" Foundation (MBTO) was founded in 1994 to identify and reward local youth who are succeeding despite having experienced significant hardship in their lives. The Foundation also seeks to recognize adults who are working on behalf of youth.

Get Involved

Are you passionate about what we're doing? Let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to help us make our vision a reality. We'll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you. We're excited to have you join the team!

Thank You

Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of supporters like you. 

Site Content

What are we up to?

To date, the Memphis “Beat the Odds” Foundation has helped to share the stories of over 125 youth by honoring them with the Memphis “Beat the Odds” Award. On May 17, 2018, another group of young people will be recognized at the 25th Annual Memphis “Beat the Odds” Awards Program. The youth recipients will be presented with a monetary award, trophy and other prizes in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments. We will also recognize an adult who has made a positive impact on youth and young adults with the Cathryn Rivers Johnson Award. We need your help to identify deserving individuals for these awards.

Donations and Sponsorship

Thank you for your willingness to support the young people in Memphis Shelby County, Tennessee, through your sponsorship of the Memphis "Beat the Odds" Celebration.

Your sponsorship allows us to continue celebrating local high school youth who have overcome tremendous hardships to excel and give back to their communities.


Each year, Memphis "Beat the Odds"award recipients receive a monetary award and other gifts. Help us reach our goal of giving each student $2500 and a laptop computer. Whether you donate $20 or $1000, your contribution helps each student achieve their goals.


Application Packets

  • Youth nominations are open for ages 13-21 of all races and genders. 
  • The Cathryn Rivers Johnson Award recognizes an adult working tirelessly to improve the lives of local youth.

Download an application today


The 25th Anniversary Memphis "Beat the Odds" Awards was held May 17th and Lindenwood Church. The event was a rousing success thanks to the efforts of our donors, volunteer staff, and the amazing stories shared by our six awardees. Thank you to all of those who attended to support these inspiring young people. We hope you join us at next year's celebration and for many years to come!

Contact Us

Memphis "Beat the Odds" Foundation

286 North Avalon, Memphis, TN 38112, US



Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm

Saturday - Sunday: Closed