About Dream Outside the Box

infographic_NEW-2Every Dream Outside the Box program is designed for dual impact: to propel youth in dream deserts toward higher education while cultivating leadership skills among collegiate volunteers. By producing imaginative programming in dream deserts, college students broaden the horizons of K-5 youth while developing skills to contribute toward the disruption of cyclical poverty.



Dream Outside the Box (DOTB) was founded as a college student organization in Columbia, MO in 2009. When DOTB started, 74% of boys K-5 aspired to be rappers, professional athletes, or both. In 2012, headquarters were established in Fort Worth, Texas where surveys showed approximately 83% of K-5 boys at a local youth service organization indicated “Police Officer” as their #1 pre-DOTB aspiration. As the mission of DOTB spreads, students are chartering chapters on their campus in effort to destroy dream deserts across the nation.

What is a Dream Desert?

Just as a food desert is a place where people lack access to nutritious and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, a dream desert is an area where students lack access to educational and extracurricular opportunities. In order for an area to qualify as a dream desert, DOTB considers percentage of children on free and reduced lunch, percentage of first generation college students, and access to mentorship and enrichment programming.


DOTB is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization, funded through grants, corporate giving, in-kind contributions, bereavement, and donations from individuals who believe in the power of dreaming beyond the box. Donors who contribute in these critical early stages will be forever honored as “Founding Donors”, recognizing their investment in the dream and support as we transform from a collegiate organization to a national non-profit.