Backpack Challenge


The 2017 Backpack Challenge will kick off on July 25th and run through August 18th. Stay tuned for more details!

Last year, the Backpack Challenge collected over $200,000 worth of backpacks and school supplies, as well as $25,000+ for foster care youth heading back to school this fall. We couldn’t do what we do without the support of our sponsors and supporters – thank you for a great year! Click for photos from the Kick Off and Closing Ceremony.

The Backpack Challenge raises funds and collects essential back to school items for foster care youth. From its humble beginnings, the Backpack Challenge has grown from a small collection drive to a national program due to the strong partnership between the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Five Below, iHeartRadio, and Valley Youth House.

This cause marketing collaboration provides direct benefits for all partners involved: government & nonprofit partners receive backpacks and monetary support, the retail partner drives in-store traffic and increases sales, and the media partner is able to build publicity of a philanthropic endeavor into their media sales package.

Most importantly, young people in foster care are given the tools needed to pursue and achieve their educational goals through the support of their own communities. From 2013 to 2016 in Philadelphia, the number of collection site partners more than doubled and over $100,000 was raised.

National Expansion

In 2015, we welcomed new partners in Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit and raised over 10,000 backpacks in all five markets. In 2016, we welcomed Houston, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham and Washington, DC. 28,256 backpacks were collected across all markets thanks to the help of Five Below! We’ll be announcing new cities for 2017 this spring.

Sponsor or Host a Collection Site

Information on sponsorships can be found here, and additional details on sponsorships and collection site partners can be found here.

Thank you to our amazing 2016 sponsors: NORR, Trinseo, Northeast Treatment Centers and Royal Bank!

Want to help?

You can make a monetary donation, donate school supplies online via Roonga, or visit one of our collection site partners to drop off your donation.

When visiting your local Five Below store, you can donate a backpack at the register during checkout!