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Mission, Vision, & Values

Learn about Search Institute’s purpose and aspirations through our mission, vision and values.

Our Mission

Search Institute partners with organizations to conduct and apply research that promotes positive youth development and advances equity.

Our Vision

All young people have what they need to thrive.

Our Values

In our work, internally and externally, we value:

  • Diversity: We embrace diverse perspectives, experiences, ways of learning, and forms of wisdom.
  • Equity: We strive to understand systems of access, opportunity, justice, and power in order to eliminate barriers, recognize strengths, and meet the needs of all.
  • Curiosity: We are driven to learn.
  • Scientific rigor: Our work is grounded in high-quality research.
  • Youth focus: Positive youth development is the ultimate purpose of all we do.
  • Relationships: We strive to build developmental relationships.

What We Do

Search Institute achieves its mission in three primary ways:

Generating knowledge and insight through mixed-methods research.

We conduct and communicate findings from quantitative and qualitative studies to deepen understanding of and reframe critical issues in youth development and education.

Developing and disseminating resources based on our research.

We design and deliver workshops, surveys, and other practical resources that help adults and youth improve the connections they build.

Partnering to improve outcomes

We bring together the knowledge that is generated and the resources that are created through our research to deeply collaborate with organizations to put youth on the path to thriving.

Who We Work With

Search Institute works with youth-serving organizations to help their young people thrive. We partner with organizations like: schools, out-of-school time programs, community coalitions, prevention programs, faith-based organizations, foster care programs, juvenile justice centers, child welfare agencies, and civic organizations, and any other organizations that work directly with young people.

Most of our work takes place in the United States and Canada, but we have conducted successful projects and engaged with youth-serving organizations worldwide.

As part of our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, Search Institute's first priority is working with organizations that serve young people from marginalized communities. In order to achieve that objective, we actively seek funding and partnerships that enable us to work with those organizations.

Search Institute helps young people thrive by supporting youth-serving organizations who carry out this work. While we don't partner directly with individuals unaffiliated with organizations, we do offer research and resources for any caring adult working with young people. Visit the Resources Hub for research-based tools, activities, and measures and explore our open enrollment workshops for your professional development needs.