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

Rating: 5 stars  

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!

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

I'd like to see them have the ability to offer more programs in more schools in the cities they operate in and the ability to grow to additional cities. This is an amazing program with proven results.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The BUILD model uses entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. This program is now nation-wide with incubators in Boston, Washington D.C. and Northern California. And it's working! The BUILD model is one of the most successful in the nation targeting and working with at-risk youth.
I am proud to be part of BUILD and to see the changes they are making in the lives of students and in education systems across the country. GO BUILD!

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

observing the changes in the lives of at-risk students in the communities BUILD serves

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

allow it to grow faster!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I engaged with BUILD over 10 years ago because I felt this group captured the entrepenuerial spirit that built Silicon Valley and was attacking a whole new opportunity. It was the opportunity to take disengaged youth and get them to a place they never saw as possible. It applied this entrepenuerial culture to a group of people that no one else would consider and, it did it right in our backyard. We often fail to see the issues right in front of us. I started as a Venture Capital Advisor which allowed me to see uninterested kids develop into a fully functional teams/business. I was so inspired that I wanted to help more and joined the advisory board in order to get other corporate leaders engaged in tackling local issues. The BUILD staff is an amazing, dedicated group that is constantly innovating and further improving an already outstanding program. They hold themselves to a very high standard, which in the end, becomes the basis of a great role model for the kids they are developing.

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

being an advisor to at least 50 different different students and watched them struggle with their businesses and develop into excellent leaders and attend college. These kids are usually the first of their family to attend college and their motivation often goes "off the charts" due to the support and the development of the BUILD staff.

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

continue to find new ways to fund expansion as the model has been proven to work in multiple geographies. The limit to impacting more students comes down to dollars and the ability to properly scale the staff.

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