Denver Urban Scholars was founded by Larry and Margaret Byrne in 1995. Larry grew up on the South Side of Chicago where resources were scarce. Despite his humble beginnings, he made education a priority and eventually became a successful entrepreneur. But Larry always knew he wanted to give back. In 1995, he established a family foundation to provide scholarships for at-risk Denver youth and to prepare these students for college and future employment.
Over its 20 years, the organization has become a public charity operating under its own 501(c)(3) status and is supported by individuals, companies, foundations, and government grants. Denver Urban Scholars maintains a relationship with the Byrne family, and today the Byrne family and our Board of Directors provide funding for overhead costs, allowing 100% of money raised from other sources to be applied directly to our programs.
- 1995: Larry and Margaret Byrne establish a family foundation to provide school scholarships and programs for at-risk Denver youth to prepare these students for college and future employment.
- August 2005: Stepping Stones program for middle school students is launched.
- 2006: Organization changes status from an operating foundation to a public 501(c)(3) charity, and is renamed Byrne Urban Scholars.
- April 2007: Claudia is the first scholar in the program to receive a Daniels Fund Scholarship.
- August 2012: Capstones program for students in their first two years of post-high school education is launched.
- November 2012: Name changed to Denver Urban Scholars to better reflect the mission of the organization.
- January 2014: Set the goal of supporting more than 200 youth by the late summer.
- October 2017: Denver Urban Scholars and Colorado Youth at Risk join forces. With a combined 46 years of mentoring and youth development experience, the newly forged agency will benefit from the unique programmatic elements and outcomes of each organization; and will begin a new chapter with the intent of delivering improved programming and outcomes to every young person we serve.