Nomination Deadline is March 15!

Now Accepting

Nominate deserving youth who are overcoming the odds! NOMINATION DEADLINE: MARCH 15!

About Us


How We're Helping

The Memphis "Beat the Odds" Foundation (MBTO)  identifies and rewards 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.

The "Beat the Odds" project was initiated in 1990 by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) to focus on the positive potential of youth. MBTO was founded in 1994. 


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.


Youth Application Packets

Do you know a youth who is:

  1. Enrolled in school or a special training program
  2. Between the ages of 13 and 21 years
  3. Maintaining a grade point average showing marked effort, improvement, or success
  4. Succeeding despite, but not limited to, hardships such as poverty, poor health, disability, homelessness, addiction, personal/family tragedy, cultural/language barriers 
  5. Participating in activities involving, for example, volunteerism, extracurricular school, religious, or civic activities helpful to others 
  6. Achieving non-academic goals within his/her school and/or community

Post your packet by March 15th!

Download a youth application today

Adult Application Packets

The Cathryn Rivers Johnson Award recognizes an adult working tirelessly to improve the lives of local youth.

A CRJ Award winner will:

  1. Significantly influence and impact the life of a young person or young adults
  2. Provide service to youth and the Memphis/Shelby County community;
  3. Assist youth in their career development; and/or
  4. Assist youth in their educational endeavors.

 Post your packet by March 15th! 

CRJ Award Packet

Contact Us

Memphis "Beat the Odds" Foundation

286 North Avalon, Memphis, TN 38112, US



Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm

Saturday - Sunday: Closed