Rating: 4.81 stars   43 reviews


2385 Bay Road Redwood City CA 94063 USA


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.


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


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

2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for BUILD

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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. :)!

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Tipping Point Community has been a proud funder of BUILD since 2005! Suzanne McKechnie Klahr has created an organization that is smart, measurable and innovative and gives young people the opportunity to engage in business from a young age unlike any other I’ve seen. In a time when budget cuts are putting more pressure on teachers and administrators than ever before, BUILD is doing the heavy-lifting of getting more low-income students to graduate high school and go on to college. I am most inspired by the stories of BUILD students who become the first in their families to go to college. They are blazing a trail for their younger siblings and future generations; BUILD is helping families break the cycle of poverty for good.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've talked to many BUILD students and staff over the past 5 years and conducted fundraising events from which BUILD benefited directly.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Ensure that more schools were able to offer BUILD programs to their students.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

BUILD is an amazing program that offers resources to students that would not get the support other places. Because schools are crowded and the counselors at the schools BUILD serves have large student case loads, BUILD is able to serve the students that might fall through the cracks.
The staff at BUILD genuinely cares for the students and their families. The students that enter the program are immediately considered family and there is little the staff will not do to help them succeed. I recall a time when a student needed clothing for one of the Business Plan Competitions. Without a second thought, staff and mentors coordinated to get the students clothing for the event so that they not only impressed the judges with their plan, but looked professional in the process.
BUILD shows students, through examples and unconditional love, that they can and will be successful with hard work and determination.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have formed a bond with each of the students and seen them excel past their own expectations. I have learned how strong youth can be. I want to continue working with youth because of this program.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would offer this program at more schools and provide transportation from the schools to the offices because more students deserve to have BUILD

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