Athens, Georgia

is a special place.

Anchored by a thriving university and peppered with history and culture, it’s easy to understand why Southern Living called it “The South’s Best College Town” in 2022.

But the true story of Athens as a community is more complex. Nearly 27% of Athens-Clarke County’s residents live below the poverty line, compared to the state average of 12.7%.*

These statistics paint a grim picture for the children who grow up in our community: the impact of poverty on children is significant and long lasting, negatively affecting brain development, emotional and psychological health, academic achievement and more.

The Downtown Ministries story began as an initiative out of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, with a visionary group of believers who saw the stark dichotomies of the Athens community and felt God’s call to act.

What started with a volunteer-led youth football team in 2003 has grown into a multi-faceted ministry that includes a fully accredited K-5 Christian School, a robust sports program with 5 seasonal offerings, a community kitchen and volunteer programs that engage more than 400 volunteers annually.

*data from 2022 US Census

Our History


Redeemer Presbyterian Church starts the “Downtown Falcons” football team as an outreach initiative for children in the community.


The “Downtown Falcons” grow to include four football teams, basketball teams and a cheerleading squad.


Downtown Ministries is incorporated as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.


Downtown Ministries expands to include Downtown Life, offering an After School Program, a Cub Scouts Group, and a Job Skills training course for adults in the community. 


Downtown Academy opens its doors to 17 Kindergarten and First Grade students, adding one new grade level each year. 


Downtown Academy receives accreditation from the Georgia Accrediting Commission.


Downtown Sports adds golf to its roster of sports programs.


Downtown Academy graduates its first class of 5th graders.


Downtown Ministries partners with Our Daily Bread, a community kitchen operating in Athens since 1989, to offer food, health screenings and other social services to those experiencing homelessness.


Downtown Ministries celebrates 20 years of investing in Athens’ next generation of leaders.