Denver Urban Scholars

A nonprofit organization

Denver Urban Scholars envisions a life of choice and opportunity for every young person. We support academic achievement and positive social development for Denver youth faced with external challenges because with support and direction our students will build individual pathways to college & career.


"My mentor Sherry is simply brilliant. She has grown to become close with my family and I. Our relationship is everlasting and even when I leave for college, Sherry will always be my mentor and close friend. I honestly couldn't fathom my life without her...I have an unbelievable support system. Denver Urban Scholars, the help of Sherry, and my loving family have played a vital role in my success and hard work throughout the years of my high school experience. The Denver Urban Scholars have greatly impacted me in so many ways. Most importantly they kept me intact with the greater good, the bigger picture with its beautiful frame, which is ultimately to graduate, and attend college." -Meron F., scholar

"My family is very proud because I am in Arrupe. They're especially thankful because without Denver Urban Scholars, I would not go to Arrupe. This is a great experience because my parents never got the opportunity I have here with Denver. I will be the second one in my family to graduate high school." -Rodolfo G., scholar

"My life has changed because of being a part of Denver Urban Scholars. My mentor, Christine, is the greatest because she has always been there when I needed someone to talk to, get advice from or share ideas. She is the one person I know is always there for me and who doesn't judge me. She has always provided me help. I know we'll be friends forever." -Chearelle D., scholar

"I'm proud of myself because I have a lot of problems, but I have been able to overcome them and do well at school because they've given me strength. I'm also happy that I'm graduating in May and plan to go to college...I know that this will make my mom happy because I'm going to be the first generation in my family to finish high school and go to college. I'm not only doing this for me, but also for my mom and my little brothers that look up to me. I'm the one that's setting the example to them because my dad never did." -Heriberto J., scholar

"The best experience I have had as a mentor came about as the result of difficult circumstances. Because of some issues at Ivan's school, Ivan was required to change schools at mid-year during his freshman year. In light of the difficult circumstances, Ivan could have become bitter and given up. Instead, he showed maturity beyond his years, worked incredibly hard and made the change a positive one. He wound up with great grades the second half of the year following the move and has taken on a leadership role in his new surroundings. It is inspiring to see somebody work that hard, turn turmoil into triumph and succeed when it would have been easy to give up." -Lyle W., mentor


Denver Urban Scholars provides life-changing opportunities for students to pursue individual pathways to career and college.

Background Statement

Denver entrepreneur Lawrence Byrne, along with his son, Patrick Byrne, founded Denver Urban Scholars (DUS) in 1995 to address the alarming rate of school dropout among disadvantaged youth. Modeled after Student Sponsor Partners in New York City, they believed that youth at risk of dropout would improve their odds of success in life through positive mentoring relationships and academic support. They began partnering with private high schools to place youth in a culture of success and paired each student with a mentor. Since its beginning, DUS has developed programming that spans 6th grade through postsecondary, with increasing equity for youth at the heart of its programming. Over its 23-year history, DUS programs have evolved into an integrated approach that addresses the complex needs of youth through mentoring, personal case management and academic support. The mission of DUS is to provide life-changing opportunities for students to pursue individual pathways to career and college.

After many years of working with Colorado Youth At Risk (CYAR), a partner mentoring organization, DUS acquired CYAR in 2017. This merger represents the ultimate level of collaboration to reduce duplication and integrate the most effective programs of both organizations. By joining forces with CYAR, DUS gained CYAR's mentor training, coaching and curriculum, which in turn enhanced and complemented DUS' personalized case management, mentoring and academic support services. This integrated program model will continue to give youth a unique opportunity to build their skills, graduate high school, and prepare for college and career. Notably, as an acknowledgement of its great work, Denver Urban Scholars was awarded the Large Nonprofit of the Year Award by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce 2018 Business Awards.

Organization Data


Organization name

Denver Urban Scholars

other names

The Byrne Foundation, Byrne Urban Scholars

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)





3532 Franlkin Street Suite T
Denver, CO 80205


3532 Franklin Street Suite T
Denver, CO 80205

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US



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