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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Pivotal (formerly Silicon Valley Children's Fund and TeenForce)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Higher Education, Job Training, Secondary & High Schools, Youth Development - Business

Mission: Pivotal helps young people in and from foster care realize their career goals through access to education and employment opportunities that ensure equal opportunity for success.

Results: Foster youth enter the foster care system through no fault of their own. While the system ensures they have access to food and housing, foster youth lack the family support that most young people need to succeed in school and in their career. With nobody watching out for them, it's easy for them to fall through the cracks. When compared to other youth in America, foster youth have the highest rates of school dropout,  unemployment, and teen pregnancy. Since 1987, we have helped turn around the lives of 800+ foster youth in Silicon Valley. Pivotal high school scholars graduate at 86% (vs. 50% national average) and college seniors graduate at 34% (vs. 3% national average). We are experts in the foster care system with 30 years of experience at providing foster youth with individualized combinations of education and employment support to ensure their career success.

Target demographics: foster youth ages 14-24 graduate on time from high school and college and build career-focused work experience

Direct beneficiaries per year: 550 foster youth take positive steps towards achieving their dreams for career success.

Geographic areas served: California's Santa Clara and San Mateo counties

Programs: 1:1 academic coaching, subject-specific tutoring, weekend STEM classes, college scholarships, professional development training, and paid summer internships at top Silicon Valley technology firms.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Meg E.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Pivotal is filled with a passion for the success of each youth that we cross paths with. Whether they need education guidance; employment assistance; or just positive adults to cheer them on. The youth and their needs are on the forefront of every decision and action the organization makes.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A seriously cutting edge non-profit, right here in the Silicon Valley. Non-profits can sometimes be considered technologically impaired or stuck in their own ways. Can't say the same for Pivotal. Right down to their marketing, to their events, to the way they handle data, Pivotal is a non-profit looking towards the future. Their entire staff is authentically committed to improving the lives of our community's most vulnerable and it shows. The way their students talk about Pivotal, and the impact the organization has had on their lives is so extremely moving.

I urge you to take a look at their website and see what makes them different.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Children's Fund is an absolute leader in our community on issues impacting educational and employment opportunities for foster youth. They sponsor and support a number of disruptive innovations, and work to bring them to scale and long term sustainability. Examples are the Emerging Scholars program, the TeenForce youth jobs program, and their work within the Opportunity Youth Partnership.

1 Nichole G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for SVCF for years and could not say enough about how great they are. I have had nothing but great experiences and really love the work they do in the community.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have worked with SVCF for almost a year now and am continually impressed by the level of care they provide these kids. Foster youth can be such a vulnerable population without the right support, but SVCF refuses to see them as victims but as people with great strength and potential for the future.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with SVCF for about 10 years now and I'm always so impressed at the level of care and dedication the staff have to working with this underserved population. The commitment and the hours that they rally to make sure that they can help every single one that asks for help is amazing (many don't even have to ask!). They continue to expand on their expertise by attending conferences, serving on collaborative committees and extending their programs of support, especially with the high school youth preparing (or trying) to transition to college. Many who thought college was not an option for them, found the support they needed to realize it was not only a viable option but they could receive financial & academic support via SVCF's scholarship program. I will always be a strong supporter and advocate for SVCF.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Silicon Valley Children's Fund is doing amazing work to keep youth in foster care on track for success in learning and life. Through the use of education champions the youth they support have a significantly greater chance of completing high school and moving on to college. We are proud to work in partnership with SVCF to improve children's lives.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The SVCF is a very innovative nonprofit. Their work with foster youth is making a big difference in educational obtainment. They are helping increase the odds for this vulnerable population in Santa Clara County. Their staff are hardworking and user friendly.

Talia L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5


I have found SVCF to be a fantastic organization and I am always excited about the commitment of its employees.They are making an extreme difference in the lives of our foster youth.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5


Hands down, Silicon Valley Children's Fund is one of the best charities in the valley. I've watched their Director to program managers roll up their sleeves daily for the kids; it's incredible. The dedication to foster youth creates a sense of family, support and opportunities to advance their lives. I can only imagine the path these kids might choose without the impact of SVCF. The staff have official job titles that say program manager, director, etc. It doesn't describe the work they do on a daily basis. Realistically, they are our county "Superhero's." :-)

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SVCF is making a great impact on the lives of foster youth. There are numerous support services and programs that they provide to help foster youth become successful in their personal, educational, and career growth opportunities. SVCF's team members and employees care for the needs of their students and help them get the resources that they need, from financial services to mentorship and career planning, SVCF transforms the lives of foster youth so they can flourish. I have heard students speak highly of the program and I have witness their transformation. Their priorities and goals are to succeed and they are getting there. They found hope to a future that is not define by the circumstances that they were in.

1 Marcian D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The tremendous efforts of the SVCF provide invaluable services for foster youth and former foster youth alike. The Fund offers several areas of support to a vulnerable population that remains deeply marginalized. Personally, SVCF helped me secure funding for higher education through the YES! program scholarship. The scholarships eased a lot of burden associated with finding monies for school and allowed me to focus more energy into my studies. I'm grateful for the care and support I have received from the wonderful staff. I appreciate the work of SVCF and am grateful to have opportunities to volunteer my time with the organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SVCF is one of the best charities I have ever been involved with. Their dedication to their foster youth allows for a family and a support system, when they need it most. The opportunities those children have are directly influenced by SVCF and the program they have developed. From volunteering there, I have firsthandedly seen SVCF in action and experienced such great events put together for these children. Because if SVCF, their foster youth have a future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SVCF is one of the most committed charities I have been involved with. The staff is devoted to making a difference in the lives of Foster kids and has a positive impact on all the programs that they are involved with. I have first hand experience in participating with some of their events and they are all top notch.

1 Susan362

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer for SVCF events, I am always impressed with the level of commitment the employees have. There is a genuine passion driving them to create better lives for the foster youth.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We work with many non profits and find SVCF to be among the most passionate, most dedicated, most caring group of people I can recall. We are humbled by the amount of dedication and absolute love SVCF organizers and staffers feel toward their charges. More importantly, we are FLOORED by the results! The number of graduates SVCF is able to add up is flabbergasting. Public/Private partnerships should take note! I wish we could bottle this model and put it toward every social ill we face.

Humbly,

Sylvia Gomez
Aviana Productions

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Silicon Valley Childrens Fund has an intragual approach in addressing the needs of current and former foster youth in their pursuit for academic success. As a former foster youth the Fund personally helped me with financial support, mentorship, academic planning and career development as I strived to give meaning to my life and pursue high education. As an Alumni of the Funds YES Program I am just as involved with the Fund as I was when I was a participant and will continue to engage with the Funds staff and current participants. The Silicon Valley Childrens Fund is trail blazing the road ahead so more foster youth will realize the opportunities higher education has to offer them. I can't speak highly enough about the imaginative, action orientated, smart business practices and quality leadership embodied in the Funds Staff. The Silicon Vally Childrens Fund is an amazing one of a kind nonprofit. I encurage everyone to put your values to work and invest in the Fund to ensure that ALL foster youth in Santa Clara County have the support they need to graduate highschool and college. I successfully obtained my bachelors degree because of the services I recieved from the Silicon Valley Childrens Fund.

1 Lupe D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Five years ago I interviewed with the Silicon Valley Children's Fund in search of a new start (more like desperate). I had a 1.7 GPA, homeless, living in a car, and with all of the worries in the world. They gave me the opportunity of a lifetime; a fresh start. Just a few months ago I graduated from San Francisco State University with straight A's as I became the first member of my family to attend a four year university. The Silicon Valley Children's Fund has not only been my support financially over the past few years, they have provided me with the basic needs in life such as: housing, transportation, and food. They have also helped me grow into the beautiful person I am today. They replaced my life problems with math problems giving me the freedom to concentrate in school thus excel in my academic career. The Silicon Valley Children's Fund is not just my scholarship, they are my family and I will forever love them thus continue to pay it forward as they've taught me throughout this beautiful struggle. Thank you again!