Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

BUILD

3,994 pageviews

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I mentor with Build once a week. I first hand see the dedication this group of individuals has with these young adults. They are actively working to create an environment where young people are valued in society and feel that value.

Face to face time with my mentees every week in a environment outside of school where there may be environmental pressures also ensures success of this program.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BUILD offers a depth and breadth of learning that is unmatched by other organizations targeting this demographic. The idea of brainstorming and then actually creating a unique product offers students real-life perspective into the business world and what it takes to be successful. They not only build soft skills such as teamwork and negotiation, but also hard skills such as cost management and pricing. As a professional in the business world, I am glad to be able to parlay my day-to-day knowledge to the students.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The students' enthusiasm for entrepreneurship is amazing and so is their personal conduct. I cannot believe that these teenagers come from disengaged and low-income communities, because they are organized, well-spoken, disciplined, and creative in solving problems.

I can only imagine how far the students have come and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help them grow further and succeed as adults.

Jamie54

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is run extremely well. Having face-to-face access to students allows for rich and meaningful impact. The 1/week consistent meeting frequency is an excellent way to optimize time with students and see their growth over time. The program and site directors are top notch and provide a full support system for mentors and students alike. I highly recommend participating in or funding this nonprofit.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a small business owner and high school teacher, and I have been volunteering as a business mentor with BUILD for 3 years now. BUILD has set me up with a co-mentor and four students that have really become an extended family. I've seen marked improvements, some radically stark improvements, from all four of my mentees in the past few years as a result of their interactions with me and my co-mentor, and their involvement in the program. I have no doubt in my mind that BUILD is the reason at least two of my students are on track to graduating high school at all.
BUILD provides the structure and support for student success through their model. It's not to say that every student buys in, and every mentor commits long-term, but the system is in place for this to occur. I think

Connor B.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Read an article I wrote about my experience with BUILD...

http://section925.com/2013/06/27/get-stoaked-an-oakland-clothing-line-is-determined-to-challenge-perceptions/

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a BUILD mentor is a big commitment but an amazing way to make a tangible difference. I've worked with a small group of students for 3 years, and I've seen them grow into really sharp young entrepreneurs. BUILD gives them an opportunity to flex their intelligence and work ethic in a way that doesn't feel as forced as school. If you want a way to help close the achievement gap in just a couple of hours a week, this is an organization that does that work in a way that few others do and that leverages mentors' knowledge of the professional world.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've only been working with BUILD for a few weeks so far and am so glad I am able to be a part of this organization! They have a wonderful mission and treat their students, families, staff, and volunteers with respect and enthusiasm. I can't wait to see what the future holds for BUILD!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Instead of whining about how bad things are, I started volunteering at a place where I could help real people build real skills and learn life lessons that will be with them forever. By helping kids graduate from high school and successfully pursue post-secondary school, Build.org helps our young citizens create future wealth and build tomorrow's society. Every day I am impressed and pleased at how these kids mature and learn and figure things out. These are good kids who are up to the challenge, and take our help and mentoring seriously. They put the lie to ridiculous stereotypes and fear mongering. I am more than happy to have helped them along their path.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

At BUILD, I can volunteer by doing what I love - brainstorm how to start a business! I love business and want to help others. The BUILD method has found an incredible way for me to help youth achieve their goals and get into college by teaching them business schools. The most impressive thing about BUILD is how well run it is. From the very first session, BUILD has planned activities that make facilitating relationships with your mentees incredibly easy and natural.

I tell all my friends about how great my experience is.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a new mentor with BUILD this year at a high school in Redwood City and have been absolutely impressed by the BUILD staff and program. They are extremely organized with training and weekly update emails on what we will be covering in mentor sessions. The teachers at the high school are very enthusiastic about the program and hold the students to a high standard of professionalism. I am looking forward to continuing the year learning and growing with the group and students.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was invited to be a guest at the Build Gala fundraising auction in San Francisco earlier this year. It was my first introduction to this amazing organization. I was deeply moved by their cause after meeting many of the kids who participate in this program. I knew immediately that I had to get involved beyond being a donor. Becoming a Build mentor has allowed me to have a positive impact on some wonderful teens who are at a critical point in their lives. With Build, I am able to leverage my experience as an entrepreneur and father to help put kids on a college-bound trajectory, one that will change their lives forever. Build is simply awesome.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've served as an academic mentor at BUILD for a little over two full
school years now, and primarily tutor mathematics and physics. It's great to play even a small role in helping students out who might not otherwise have that extra bit of guidance.

However, as I enjoy the subjects that I'm helping out with, I feel that I get as much out of the interactions as the students do, and hope that I can pass along some of my enthusiasm for these subjects.

I have also found that BUILD students are very capable of adult behavior and interaction. I'm always impressed at their level of dedication, preparation, and diligence.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

BUILD is a fantastic organization which betters the lives of all that participate (including mentors and staff). If there were more programs like this our world would be a much better place.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Build is an exceptional organization that betters the lives of so many people. Everyone I have engaged with is professional and caring. I feel fortunate to have worked with Build for so many years.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

rogersa

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a new member to BUILD, joining in 2011 as a mentor and gala committee volunteer. I heard so many great things about this org and have been more than impressed with everyone I've met so far (students, mentors, advisers and staff / board members). Each person has had such a great story of why they decided to get involved. Getting to see a student presentation at the mentor orientation really put a perspective on how important this cause is. I'll be meeting our students next week and cannot wait!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2008 I started to volunteer weekly with a group of freshman students. I've been consistently impressed by their transformation through BUILD. BUILD gave us dedicated teachers and staff that worked with the students in depth to lay down a solid foundation for the mentors (us volunteers) to build upon in our weekly sessions. Over each school year the shyest students became sharp salesmen, the math-nervous students confidently discussed financials forecasts for their small businesses, and - most importantly - the students who weren't interested in school are now applying to college. BUILD engages students.

It's been an honor to be involved with BUILD and I'll continue to work with the group as long as I can!

kaweber

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Before BUILD I was this quite girl who never thought I would be able to speak in front of a huge auditorium of people, let alone lead my team to winning first place. BUILD saw my potential and taught me the skills necessary to do this. Their continuous support through high school, college, and after has contributed to my success today. I cannot thank them enough for giving me the skills, tools, and resources necessary to being the first in my family to graduate college.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with BUILD for four years helping high school freshmen to write a business plan and present it at a business plan competition to corporate executives and venture capitalists from the Silicon Valley. The experience has been awesome for me each year. Helping the students to realize their passion for business, challenge themselves to go beyond what they thought they are capable of, and make the decision that they will be the first in their family to go to college are what I find most rewarding about the experience. Each and every week, I truly have a sense that I am making a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with BUILD after learning about the program through a social entrepreneurship class. I was so impressed with the enthusiasm and passion of everyone in the organization. Their hearts are truly in it 110 percent. I was so inspired by the stories I heard and the people I met, that I've mentioned BUILD to almost every entrepreneur I've encountered. It's truly a special organization. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great cause!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have served as a tutor, fundraiser, and business mentor at BUILD since 2005 and highly recommend the organization. I've really seen the impact of the program by getting to know individual students over the course of their high school career. The most exciting is to see a student who did not want to go to college get accepted to a four-year university.

Marc T

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The BUILD program is truly incredible! With a perfect record for getting their students into college, there is little room to argue about the efficacy of the program.
I had been looking for a mentoring program where the students are more motivated to participate. The BUILD program is different because the students must apply for entry each year and nearly all of them stay with the program throughout all four years of high school. With the aid of the mentors and the staff these students draft a 30-page business plan and compete against several other teams while running their own small business. After only a few short months, I began to see the passion and dedication that these young people brought to the mentor sessions each and every week as they cultivated their businesses. It was truly remarkable and personally rewarding.
The connection I made with my students has shown them that adults are capable of caring about their ideas and what they have to say. Furthermore, it has shown them that with proper guidance, even the seemingly unattainable goal of starting their own business is possible.
That’s why I will continue to do all that I can to support this organization for many years to come and I encourage others to do the same. Anyone out there looking to become a mentor should give BUILD a try. I promise it will be a life-changing experience that you and your students will not soon forget.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was first introduce to BUILD in 2009 and immediately fell in love with the kids and the program. In 2011 I chaired their first Gala and joined the National Board this past June. BUILD is a perfect non-profit for those of us looking to connect our entrepreneurial passions with helping kids make a better life for themselves and their families.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful organization! I had the pleasure of working with them during graduate school as well as serving as a guest judge following graduation. The thing that always impressed me about BUILD is that their results are incredible, but they refuse to rest on their laurels. Whereas many non-profits would be satisfied with "great," they constantly ask the question "how can we do even more?" They've already accomplished so much, and I'm excited for what they'll continue to do.

Jean K.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the great pleasure of hosting BUILD's first Washington office, serving on its local advisory board and serving as a judge at its events. It is a fantastic organization with an outstanding record of results in keeping at risk students in high school, engaged and headed sucessfully to higher education. Unlike other programs, BUILD are not "cream skimmers" and can benefit any high schooler. When former BUILD students testify to their success in college and after it is difficult to keep the tears from your eyes

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have the honor of being both a long-time BUILD volunteer and a donor.

I mentored one of the first teams of BUILD students over 10 years ago, and I have seen the remarkable impact the program has had on hundreds of kids over the years.

BUILD bases its programming on entrepreneurship. Over the years, led by a dynamic and brilliant staff, they have designed and implemented a curriculum that really motivates students - young people who feel disengaged with high school and who "don't see the point" in studying math and other core subjects.

BUILD allows students to create small businesses; these are not theoretical exercises. Rather, young people form teams and come up with ideas for products and services. Currently, BUILD runs the nation’s largest youth incubators.

I've seen firsthand how their mission of using entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school and on to college has positively impacted hundreds of young people.

BUILD is an excellent volunteer experience as well as an incredibly high impact investment.

Ralph S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BUILD uses entrepreneurship as a way to re-engage students that many others would leave behind. As a volunteer with the students, I have felt well trained and supported. I have also felt that BUILD is very organized and well run - like a successful corporation. The staff is professional and helpful and the students (although a more difficult population to work with then other college programs serve) truly are transformed. I am very excited to see BUILD scaling to new communities - the program (I have been involved for 4 years) just keeps getting better and better.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've tutored at BUILD for 3 academic years and am just starting a 4th year. I tutor at-risk youth in math & science for about 1.5 hrs/week. Definitely hard at times to get the kids engaged, but I've had many positive experiences tutoring kids there.

There is also a really cool business side to BUILD. The kids form teams and start small businesses. I've never personally gotten involved in that, but I love going to the business sales events and seeing how proud the kids are of what their businesses do.

Margaret23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mentor some at-risk teens? Teach them how to write a business plan? Form long term relationships and support students as they raise their GPAs and apply to college? I had no idea what to expect when I started volunteering with BUILD as a business mentor three years ago.

I was assigned a group of four girls and one boy my first year with BUILD. I learned a lot about the BUILD program right along with my students and realized I had a lot to teach them as I helped them write assignments, deliver presentations, and calculate financial projections. Moreover, I discovered how much they responded to me consistently showing up to work with them, assuming they are going to college, and treating them like smart, responsible, young adults.

When the students launched their business, they immediately started running into problems. Their product didn't sell like they thought it would. Some team members left the team and some left the BUILD program. It was a very discouraging time. The students experienced ups and downs of business ownership just as real entrepreneurs do.

I have now started my fourth year with my mentees and I have seen them change and mature dramatically over the course of high school. They are better about self-starting, voicing their opinions, asking for resources, and sharing news and stories with me. I care about my student's success and happiness and that's what keeps me coming to BUILD.