What is the Afterschool Alliance?

The nation's leading voice for afterschool programs.

The Afterschool Alliance is the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for more afterschool investments to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs.

Afterschool programs are critical to children and families today, yet the need for programs is far from being met. 

  • In communities today, 11.3 million children take care of themselves after the school day ends.

  • 10.2 million children are in afterschool programs—but the parents of another 19.4 million children say their children would participate in afterschool if a program were available.

  • A report on 21st Century Community Learning Centers (afterschool programs receiving federal funds) showed that 45 percent of all participants improved their reading grades and 41 percent improved their math grades.

  • On school days, the hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and sex.

  • Teens who do not participate in afterschool programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes than teens who do participate. They are also three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs, and they are more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and engage in sexual activity. 

  • Parents with children in afterschool programs are less stressed, have fewer unscheduled absences, and are more productive at work. 

The nation's leading voice for afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance is the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for more afterschool investments. The Afterschool Alliance works with the presidential administration, the U.S. Congress, governors, mayors, and advocates across the country. Today the Afterschool Alliance boasts more than 25,000 afterschool program partners and our publications reach more than 65,000 interested individuals every month. Its efforts include:

  • Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide celebration of afterschool programs that attracts 1 million Americans to more than 8,000 events across the country.

  • A sustained media campaign that reaches millions of people each month and tens of millions each year during Lights On Afterschool.

  • Leadership and communications training for an elite group of local Afterschool Ambassadors who build support at the local, state and national level.

  • A national Afterschool for All Challenge that brings afterschool leaders to Washington, D.C. for trainings and then to Capitol Hill to educate policy makers about their programs.

  • Online resources at afterschoolalliance.org that attract 98,000 page views and 38,000 user sessions each month.

  • A series of briefing papers, reports, and fact sheets used widely by media, policy makers, concerned organizations and individuals.

  • Award-winning public service announcements geared towards adults and youth.

Vision, Mission and Goals

Vision: The Alliance works to ensure that all youth have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs.

Mission: To engage public will to increase public and private investment in quality afterschool program initiatives at the national, state, and local levels.


  • To be an effective voice for afterschool in efforts to expand quality afterschool programs.

  • To serve as an information source on afterschool programs and resources.

  • To encourage the development of local, state, and national afterschool constituencies and systems.

  • To communicate the impact of afterschool programs on children, families, and communities.


The Afterschool Alliance was established in 2000 by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, J.C. Penney Company, Inc., the Open Society Institute, The After-School Corporation, the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and the Creative Artists Agency Foundation.

The Afterschool Alliance grew from public awareness efforts undertaken by the Mott Foundation through an unprecedented public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Education to expand afterschool programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program. The federal government provided grants to local communities for afterschool programs, while the Mott Foundation funded training, evaluation, and public awareness activities. The Foundation and the Department's efforts caught the attention of several outside entities with a shared interest in achieving afterschool for all. These groups came together in September 1999 to create the Afterschool Alliance.

Today, the Alliance works with a broad range of organizations and supporters, including policymakers and policymaker associations, advocacy groups, afterschool coalitions and providers at every level, business and philanthropic leaders, technical assistance organizations, and leaders representing a variety of interests, each with a stake in afterschool.