A Chance in the World

Our Mission

What We Do
A Chance in the World™ was founded on the proof that small chances make a big difference. Our mission is to provide young adults aging out of foster care with the chances they need to move toward success. We have an open channel to these young adults to find out what they actually need on their journey to independence. Our parallel channel is to those of you who want to give a chance and make a difference. These channels connected, and these chances strung together, ensure A Chance in the World™.

How We Do It
We start by identifying organizations that are currently providing resources and services to those aging out of foster care. A Chance in the World™ identifies those daily necessities and specific items that help promote and strengthen independent lives. We ensure our partner organizations are providing those necessities and items to the young adults aging out in order to help them not only survive, but thrive.

Steve Pemberton

A pioneering Corporate Executive, visionary youth advocate, dedicated board member, and best-selling author, Steve Pemberton has always made equality, access, and opportunity pillars of his professional and personal life. He currently serves as Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice President for Walgreens, one of America’s oldest and most successful companies. He is the first person in the company’s 113 year history to hold this position.

This was not the path envisioned for him. At one and half years old, he was described by a caretaker as a boy who would not have ‘a chance in the world.’ But Steve would not accept this prediction, defying seemingly impossible odds. His relentless march to adulthood is powerfully captured in his memoir, A Chance in the World (Harper Collins, 2012). His book describes the extraordinary challenges of navigating a foster care system that had forgotten about him while trying to solve the mystery of his identity and one day, triumphantly return home. Steve is aided in his quest by the kindnesses of several mysterious strangers who are unaware that their gifts are giving him the resolve to carry on and fulfill his purpose. These benefactors sit at the core of Steve’s powerful talks and central message; that perhaps you can choose your family after all.  Read more



A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past,
and How He Found a Place Called Home

Home is the place where our life stories begin.

It is where we are understood, embraced, and accepted. It is a sanctuary of safety and security, a place to which we
can always return. Read more


“Teens from the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Black and Latino Achievers lined up, even elbowed each other, to get a chance talk to Steve Pemberton – the role model who has it all – a successful career, access to Capitol Hill, a beautiful family. Well, he has it all now. And that’s just what these teenagers wanted to find out about. How did he – and how can they – overcome significant barriers in their lives?

Steve inspired us to look beyond a person’s skin color and background, urged us to support worthwhile organizations that help those at-risk and under served, and totally charmed us with his easy going style and Boston accent. Steve humbled us with his childhood experiences and urged us to persevere through difficult times and reach out to those who help us along the way; in a few words, he cajoled us to take our chance in the world.

The audience – teens and adults alike – hung on Steve’s every word. Throughout the reception and afterward, they came back again and again, to ask a question and try to get at the essence of Steve.”

Laura Freveletti,
Senior Director for Grants and Strategic Partnership,
YMCA of Metro Chicago


For speaker inquiries, please contact the
American Program Bureau and fill out the
contact form to request his availability.

Learn more about his speaking topics by
visiting Steve Pemberton’s speaker profile.