About Us



Who We Are

The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth began when 16-year-old Shaka Franklin took his own life. This tragic incident sparked a light in his father, Les Franklin, who believed that suicide amoung youths was growing at increasinlgy alarming rates.

Since its inception in 1990, the non-profit 501(C)(3) has fought tireslessly to address suicide amoung youths in Colorado and to those across the nation.

The organization helps the youth, by providing appropriate education, support and awareness to those in need.

Moving Foward

The Shaka Franklin Foundation is not only committed to helping youth in the United States, but also across the globe. In 2007, the Shaka Franklin Foundation created an international branch in order to educate and support youth in South Africa. This new international branch allowed the Shaka Franklin Foundation to ‘adopt’ the Tarlton Intermediate School, making it possible for the 500 children to receive a healthy meal each day.

As the branch grows, the Shaka Franklin Foundation plans to move the overcrowded and dilapidated school into a new family oriented and green community through our partnership with InsituDesign Architecture and the University of Colorado Graduate School of Architecture.

Throughout the years, the Foundation has been committed to putting an end to youth suicide through a variety of outlets. However, the Foundation is in constant need of donations from the community to continue to make a positive impact on young people throughout the world.

Our Mission

The Shaka Franklin Foundation is dedicated to educating, informing, advocating and preventing suicide amoung youths by providing support to those in need.

Our Values

The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth is dedicated to the health, well-being and success of children and young people. We listen carefully and respond to the needs and concerns of those referred to us for help. All young people are our passion regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference. We embrace diversity, celebrate each individuals dreams, goals, accomplishments, and emphasize the value of self-worth.

We honor our commitments to the communities we serve and treat all individuals with respect and dignity, always keeping in mind each person’s right to privacy, discretion and individuality.

As an organization we feel that it is our responsiblity to encourage and seek out those who are creative and innovative in order to improve our services.

We are professional in our relationships with donors,funders and clients.

We hold ourselves accountable to our community and demonstrate the highest integrity in all situations.

History of Accomplishments

  • Over 3,000 presentations have been given on suicide, depression, self destructive behavior and positive alternatives.
  • A sponsor of Colorado Rampage Youth Hockey in Monument, CO. Two vans and a trailer are provided for their use. Players in need of financial support can request a scholarship.
  • Sponsor of the Western Regional Elite Youth Hockey Camp for three years – 2014, 2015, 2016. Supported a student at the University of San Diego with a four-year scholarship. This student graduated in 2016.
  • SHAKA On the MOVE program was launched in 2015 which is a mobile unit that will travel to school campuses with information on suicide, depression and mental health.
  • The DyLussi-Austin Scholarship for Figure Skaters was established in 2011 in memory of DyLussi-Austin who started the SHAKA I.C.E. learn-to-skate and figure skating program. First recipient was awarded in 2014.
  • In 2010 entered into a partnership with the University of Colorado Denver and created a scholarship fund to encourage nontraditional Students to attend UC Denver.
  • A scholarship fund was started at Denver University.
  • Founding board member of the Colorado Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
  • Established a branch in Johannesburg, South Africa by feeding 540 students in a rural school.
  • Through partnerships with Insitu-Design Architecture and the University of Colorado Graduate School of Architecture created a concept to rebuild a rural School in South Africa.
  • Shaka’s Place Youth Technology Center opened in 1999 as an educational and creative place for children and young people. A second building was renovated as an extension of youth programs and focusing on physical fitness, exercise and proper nutrition. Programs at Shaka’s Place: All About Choices – prevention and intervention for young people. (2) introduction to audio/visual technology, music production, lyricWriting, film production.
  • SHAKA I.C.E.(Inner City Edge) was started in 1997 as a development program for ice hockey and figure skating.
  • Acquired 320 acres in Westcliffe, CO. This was done with the idea of creating a youth retreat. Organized the Willie O’Ree All-Star Weekend in Denver which recognizes outstanding minority youth hockey players – 1998.
  • Co-Founder of the National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide (NOPCAS).
  • Appearances on 12 television shows to discuss suicide: Montel William(4), Bryant Gumble (Today Show), 400 Club, Rolanda Show, Phil Donahue Show, Colorado and Company, Lou Gossett, Jr. television special – Images and Realities, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Gordon Elliott Show.
  • Featured in the following:Time Magazine, Essence Magazine, Boston Globe, The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Inter-Mountain Jewish News, Emerging Markets, People Magazine.
  • Recipient of the El Pomar Foundation Outstanding Youth Organization Award in 1998.
  • Recipient of The El Pomar Foundation Shrine of the Sun Award of Excellence in 2001.
  • In 2007 Established an international branch in Johannesburg, South Africa, feeding 540 students daily Established a partnership in 2007 with Streets On Fire School of Fine Arts & Technology to expand their vision and training at Shaka’s Place.
  • In 2007 Established partnership with InsituDesign Architecture & University of Colorado Graduate School of Architecture to re-build Tarlton Intermediate School in South Africa.

Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth
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