Educational Institutions

National Association for Urban Debate Leagues

Preparing the Next Generation to Lead and Succeed


Chicago, IL


NAUDL's mission is advancing debate education in urban public schools to amplify youth voices and develop confidence and skills for future success. We work with 22 partner leagues across the country, impacting 11,000 students each year.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Ms. Rhonda Haynes

Main Address

200 S. Michigan Ave. Ste. 1040

Chicago, IL 60604-2402 USA


Urban Education, Debate, Academic Debate, High School, Achievement, Access to College, at-risk-behaviors





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Secondary/High School (B25)

Management & Technical Assistance (B02)

Student Services and Organizations (B80)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

NAUDL is committed to urban debate because it works. It works where other solutions have failed -- in schools plagued with poor test scores and high dropout rates. By giving minority students from low-income families the tools they need to succeed, urban debate literally changes lives. Urban Debate is proven to (1) Improve secondary literacy; (2) Improve academic performance; (3) Increase high school graduation rates; (4) Prepare students for college; (5) Prepare students for twenty-first century careers; and, (6) Prepare students for community engagement.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Urban Debate Education, Training, Curriculum, Programs and Research

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

As the national leader of the urban debate movement, the NAUDL works with its partner leagues to provide debate programming to urban middle and high school students. Our visions is that all urban youth graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and their careers, and to contribute to their communities.

NAUDL will accomplish our overall mission and vision by (1) Within the next five years, triple the number of students who participate in competitive policy debate through NAUDL-affiliated urban debate leagues. (2) Strengthen and support affiliated leagues, helping them to build capacity, achieve sustainable growth, and adopt best practices. (3) Build new leagues at a moderate pace, focusing efforts on large school districts and cities with strategic value. (4) Expand middle school policy debate and explore Debate Across the Curriculum as an innovative way to expand the number of students participating in rigorous, evidence-based argument. (5) Empower the NAUDL and its affiliated leagues to be more effective advocates for urban debate. (6) With support from the NAUDL Governing Board, establish a diversified, sustainable national base of support.

The NAUDL's goal is to triple the number of urban debaters in the next five years. The NAUDL Governing Board and its staff believe that while this goal is ambitious, it is also achievable. The board is committed to achieving this goal through a multifaceted strategy which includes: strengthening and supporting the existing leagues; expanding programming into middle schools and the classroom; continuing to build new leagues; conducting long-term research on the impact of debate on the futures of urban youth; and more effectively communicating the benefits of debate to students, teachers, principals and school administrators.

NAUDL will assess progress through a variety of numerical metrics. These metrics will (1) focus on the NAUDL's primary goal of tripling the number of students; (2) incorporate the programming goals established by each local league; and, (3) adequately account for the number of students and others reached by all forms of league programming, including tournament debates, classroom debates, and public debates. Furthermore, working with a third party vendor, develop and implement a computer-based system that can be used to (1) register students for tournaments; (2) tabulate tournaments; and, (3) report student participation data to the NAUDL and the affiliated leagues. Test the software, and then make it available to all leagues, with training and support for coaches and league directors.

The National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Since 2002 it has served as the national leadership organization for urban debate. In the last four years the NAUDL has built or re-organized twelve urban debate leagues. Today, 22 urban debate leagues around the country are members of the NAUDL's informal network of leagues. NAUDL has a twenty-two member Governing Board of Directors and an eleven-member Honorary Board. The organization has six full-time and one part-time staff members.

External Reviews


National Association for Urban Debate Leagues

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?