Our mission is for young people to find and strengthen their individual and collective voices, develop the tools to positively impact their lives and become leaders and motivated agents of social change.
How we Started
Founded by Laurie Meadoff in 1985, The CityKids Foundation has established and maintained cutting-edge youth development programs; training tens of thousands of diverse young people by providing opportunities for personal growth, leadership and artistic expression.
Laurie was inspired to create CityKids after a visit to the Albany Empire in London. There she saw a thriving and impactful social services and arts program for London’s youth founded by Jenny Harris with the support of Princess Diana.
Returning to New York City, she began holding meetings in the basement of a local church, inviting young people from different backgrounds to gather in a safe space and engage in honest dialogue. From that church basement, CityKids has grown into an internationally recognized youth organization dedicated to providing innovative programming and projects at the forefront in fields of positive youth development and social emotional learning for the past three decades. We have continued to empower, engage, connect, and inspire young people to skillfully lift their voices and be heard.
Laurie Meadoff has dedicated her life to envisioning a world without barriers and prejudices while striving to build bridges through tolerance and understanding. For more than 35 years, she has worked as an agent for social change, garnering an international reputation as an ardent advocate for those in need while possessing a proven track record for creating change through dialogue, media and the arts. She is also an innovative marketer with a penchant for utilizing strategic connections and collaborations to drive awareness and visibility to her many passionate projects and causes. Laurie founded CityKids and Authentik Inc., which make up her body of work where to this day, she continues to push forward these initiatives.
Acclaimed in the U.S. and around the world for more than 30 years of transformational work and accomplishments, with young people, Laurie has rightfully earned a reputation as an unsurpassed crusader for those who have not yet found their voice. She is a truly unique leader, innovator, and change maker who has been able to make monumental strides toward a more tolerant and compassionate world through virtually every challenge and assignment she’s undertaken.