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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

BUILD

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Education, Secondary & High Schools, Youth Development - Business

Mission: Through entrepreneurship-based, experiential learning, BUILD ignites the potential of youth in under-resourced communities and equips them for high school, college and career success.

Results: Since 1999, BUILD has: Incubated over 750 youth businesses Partnered successfully with over 20 schools Expanded service from one city to five Grew budget from $37,000 to $12M Grew staff from 1 to over 100 Since 2012, 98% of students completing the BUILD program graduate from high school on time, and 98% of those are accepted to at least one post secondary opportunity

Target demographics: BUILD works with 1,425 under-resourced students, most of whom will be the first generation in their family to succeed in college and are considered highly disengaged, meaning they have low GPAs, low standardized test scores and infrequent attendance.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 99% of BUILD seniors graduated from high school, 100% of graduating seniors were admitted to at least one college, 90% were admitted to at least one four-year university and 70% enrolled in college.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C. and Boston, MA, New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA

Programs: BUILD works with high school students at-risk for dropping out of school. Our four-year college preparation program begins as a ninth-grade class and uses entrepreneurship as a vehicle to teach academic, business and executive functioning skills. Entrepreneurship is a powerful hook, but college is the goal. By helping students start up and run their own small businesses, BUILD supplements traditional school with real-world professional experiences, academic support and 21st Century skill-building. By equipping students with these college and career readiness skills, BUILD reduces high school drop-out rates and gives youth hope and a promising future in college

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was a mentor for 3 years and had such a great time working with the students. We truly did everything a real startup would do -- from creating a business plan, to pitching an investor, to actually making & selling a product. Every week was challenging & fun in their own way. I loved being able to share my expertise & also connect with students one-on-one.

2 Bryan24

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I manage Box Inc's relationships with nonprofits globally. Our ACT10x volunteering committee leaders and other Boxers who have worked with BUILD have had excellent things to say about them. We hope to continue to deepen our relationship with them. :)!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined BUILD as a mentor for the spirit of entrepreneurship and partnership it embodies, and the promise of a dignifying future for the less privileged. At BUILD students learn valuable skills they can use in college such as project management, inter-personal communication and presentation, and meet professionals from varied backgrounds in a fun and engaging setting. It's rare to find such a diverse group with several generations learning from each other, eliminating social boundaries and exchanging lots of positive thoughts! BUILD team - managers and instructors - are doing an impressive job organizing this class and engaging students and mentors as well. As mentors, we work in collaboration with the students on their projects but the truth is they are the project. It is very gratifying to be with them at this important time of their lives when they are making their way through. This program made a great impression on me and surely on our young BUILDERS. I am certain that the students at Sequoia will remember this elective class long after they will graduate from college.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended my second mentor session yesterday. I was quite impressed with the teacher, the other mentors, and the kids themselves developing mature awareness, effective execution and meaningful purpose with these 9th graders. What an advantage these 9th graders would have if they have the vision that what they learn and do today if help them be successful and happy after high school. This is one of the reasons why I liked BUILD today.

As a funny story, over 12 years old I rented Suzanne Kahr her first workplace. Even then I could smell BUILD's success.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is the second year that I am mentoring for Build, and I am extremely impressed with the professionalism and dedication of both the staff and the students. The program is well run and the trajectory from classroom to college is well thought through and directed. The students are given a lot of freedom to be creative and they are empowered to run their businesses on their own. It's great to work with the students and to experience a curriculum that will set them up for success in high school and beyond.

MissCheryl

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my third year mentoring young women from Skyline High in Oakland. It has been wonderful to see them grow and learn and develop confidence. What I like about BUILD is that it is a comprehensive program that focuses on developing a broad set of business / presentation / life skills through the entrepreneurial part of the program, but it also incorporates a focus on academics as well as prep for college. The result is a very high success rate in getting at risk kids into college. There is an incredibile amount of support provide in a number of different areas, that these kids likely would not be getting otherwise. I also have to say that the staff is wonderful and so committed to each student's success.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a Build mentor for 4 years from 2009-2013. I worked with the same group from their Freshman year until they graduated as Seniors. It was immensely gratifying to see these students grow and mature. The context of Build let me get to know these students as people and I think I will stay in touch with my mentoring group long after they've graduated. I'm really invested in their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a mentor, meeting with BUILD students once a week, for the last 2 years. BUILD is a unique program that both provides academic support for students as well as allows them the opportunity to start a real business. BUILD students get a chance to present a full business plan, meet with venture capitalists to get seed money and then get to put their plan into action, manufacturing and selling their products.

I have been greatly impressed with the BUILD staff who work tirelessly to support these students all the way to applying for colleges.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've just begun volunteering as mentor to 9th grade students this year. BUILD provides a tremendous opportunity for adults in the community to work with kids who may not otherwise be exposed to what its like to develop and implement a project. The program teaches the kids to tap into their creativity, develop ideas, make presentations, be professional, experience setbacks and learn to persevere through them, and generally develop skills in communicating and working with others. The kids are wonderful - they're enthusiastic, they work hard, they care about their assignments, and they have so much energy. The BUILD staff and the teachers in the schools they serve are dedicated and committed to working with the kids, and the kids really respond to that attention and focus they see in the adults around the, Its an honor to be a mentor and I hope to see all of the 9th graders I've been working with graduate and go on to college.

1 Sabrina6

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Business Plan Judge for Oakland, I'm on my second year as a Student Mentor in East Oakland, and recently joined their Bay Area Advisory Board. I have been most impressed with the efficacy of this organization and their ability to dramatically change the lives of the youth that participate in BUILD.

1) The first thing you notice when you volunteer with BUILD is how organized and professional they are, from the guided curriculum to the volunteer training and coordination.
2) The second is the talent, passion and enthusiam of the staff that support these amazing high school students.
3) Finally, the passion and caring nature of the mentors that volunteer their time to help these kids succeed in high school, in college, and in life.

While BUILD targets the most dis-engaged youth with the fewest resources in some tough neighborhoods...the attitudes, confidence and talent among these youth is heart warming and astounding. Providing them someone who is guiding them and believing them is a true recipe for success. I've seen first hand youth turn from a life with gangs and drugs, on the path to being a High School Dropout, to being straight A students.

Thank you BUILD for all that you do!