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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Foundation For Students Rising Above

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Philanthropy, Public Foundations, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid, Undergraduate Colleges

Mission: Students Rising Above helps exceptional low-income Bay Area high school students who are overcoming tremendous odds of poverty, homelessness, and neglect, to fulfill their dream of a college education. We provide the mentoring, financial assistance, and employment skills to be successful in school and in life.

Target demographics: low-income, first generation college students

Geographic areas served: the San Francisco Bay Area

Programs: college application assistance, pre-college readiness support, tuition assistance, career development workshops, paid summer internships, mentors and healthcare.

Community Stories

104 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SRA truly is a life changing non profit for those students who are in need and looking to overcome adversity. The support, guidance and love that they provide their students is incomparable and truly admirable. Without SRA and te support of the entire SRA staff, I wouldn't have been as successful as I was in college and as successful as I am today. I look up to my advisor and the entire staff as role models for they are examples of what makes a nonprofit organization so great and impactful in the greater community. I absolutely love SRA!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is an exceptional organization that stands for a great cause. I am a student that has benefited from the help provided by the SRA advisers and mentors and am very grateful for their contributions to my education.

SRA aims to support low-income, high achieving students who have overcome obstacles in life. They make it possible for these young adults to graduate college and successfully enter the workforce. The services they offer such as counseling, health insurance, and financial assistance really make them a one-of-a-kind organization that deserves praise.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was in the graduating class of 2010, and I must say, the Students Rising Above foundation has made a true imprint in my heart that will last a lifetime. The people who work for this organization are impacting the community one student at a time, and doing so exponentially. It is because of the guidance and strength of SRA, I found the courage to rise above my situation, and conquer my dreams as the first in my family to graduate from college. Just knowing that they were there supporting me was the push I needed to be the star they always knew I was.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a mentor at SRA for 2 years and it is the most enjoyable volunteer job I've ever done! The students are terrific people who have overcome obstacles and have a special spark of altruism and compassion for others. This makes my job easy; I make a young friend and she enjoys the support of an elder who believes in her. This in itself, is ample satisfaction for me, but there's more. The management of SRA is well-organized. The details of the events are tended to and management is generous with gratitude to all who participate. It means a lot that I am thanked for my efforts. Also, they are careful with donations, making sure each dollar is spent wisely. For this reason I feel good about donating to SRA as well. I see my efforts and donations as an investment in the future. A college degree equips these promising young people to support themselves and help their families and communities. They are tomorrow's leaders and they give me much hope for the future.

2 Gerardo Z.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SRA is a wonderful and very successful organization. Going into my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to apply to and attend college, but SRA helped me to turn those dreams into a reality. SRA provided all of the support I needed and then some. The college application process is stressful. SRA understands this and provided guidance throughout. After I was admitted to Yale university, SRA didn't leave me to fend for myself. They provided books, clothing, bedroom essentials, a laptop, transportation, and even a discretionary stipend. Throughout my time at Yale, I kept in touch with an SRA mentor often (at least weekly!). We discussed grades, classes, and they helped me navigate all aspects of college during all four years. Not only that, during the summers I worked with knowledgeable SRA career mentors who helped me craft a stellar resume, apply for and land internships and ultimately a dream job after college. To say that SRA far exceeds my expectations is an understatement. SRA does an incredible job of selecting a community of students and scholars who have inspiring strength of character, an incredible work ethic, and a proven track record of success and overcoming tremendous obstacles. I am always inspired by my peer SRA students and I am happy to write this positive review for the SRA program.

2 Thay

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am thrilled to be a volunteer at SRA. The organization gives me the opportunity to do what matters to me - to help individual students who have intelligence and drive, but are lacking the access, exposure, and confidence they need to be successful in college and early in their careers. I particularly want to help empower young women and SRA gives me a chance to be an ongoing mentor and as needed career advisor to young women who don't have the same opportunities I had when I was a young person in college and early in my career.

I am so impressed by the impact this organization makes on student's lives. The staff integrates learning from experiences of the students, mentors, advisors, and all involved on a regular basis. This has resulted in a formula that supports the success of each and every student. The results speak for themselves, with 90% of its students graduating from college and 80% of them in careers or grad school within 9 months of graduation.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has changed my life in so many ways.

I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and immigrated to Pakistan at a young age. When I moved to America with my family in 2003 at the age of 10, I had very little education under my belt and couldn't speak much English. Slowly but surely I was able to catch up on everything I had missed and was offered a full-time scholarship from a college prep school.

Going to college was not only a dream but a necessity for me because I knew how much of a difference it would make. SRA helped me achieve that goal by providing financial and emotional support. I feel blessed to be a part of the SRA family because the mentors, advisers, and all the other students in the program are a constant force of motivation.

I recently graduated college and job a right away in my field. I love the work I do and couldn't imagine myself being where I am today if I hadn't come across Students Rising Above. Thank you so much!

2 Jim_145

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Mentor with SRA for about 2 years. The greatest gifts that SRA has given me have been the quality of the relationships and the interactions with the students. The connections with the students, especially in my role as a mentor, have been truly meaningful and have only grown over time....it's just a special community, all around. I also was able to hire a fantastic SRA student at my last company which was a great Win/Win!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a mentor for SRA students, and the experience is truly inspiring. The students are highly motivated, courageous, positive, eager to learn and appreciative, and I feel that I get as much out of the mentorship as the students. Highlights for me as a mentor include taking two students on a weekend hiking trip to Lake Tahoe, having a student accompany me on a business trip to Seattle, attending the annual Gala fundraiser event with my students and my daughter (who will also be signing up to be a mentor), celebrating high school graduation and recognition in a Hispanic students high school awards ceremony, helping my student move into her college dorm room, having my work colleagues mingle with my student during job shadowing events, and just sharing our lives over dinner or a walk. Students Rising Above is a class act, an extremely well-run organization. Looking forward to getting matched with my 3rd student soon!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a first time mentor and have been involved in career development and attended fundraising events. The students are completely inspiring, the staff is professional, dedicated and talented and the volunteers and benefactors are warm and engaged. The best thing I can say about SRA is that it really, truly works. So many success stories in each class, and the effect is compounding. SRA is breaking the cycle

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SRA has become our favorite charity!!! We discovered them a couple years ago, wanting to make a difference in a young person's life who needed help with a college education and shows a tenacity to learn and set goals. When we discovered most of the funds donated actually go to the needs of the student, we were convinced! We are so impressed with their mentor ship program, and have recently decided to become mentors as well!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above (SRA) is a life changing organization. They focus on helping first generation college students break the cycle of poverty within a household and also provide the students with a new outlook on life. SRA provides every kid with a mentor for just some fun times, an academic coach to help them through the college process, and a team encouraging the students. Some of the kids that go through the program have difficult stories but SRA is right there to help, guide, support and nurture them through everything! This is a great organization!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is an inspirational Organization focused on identifying students with personal hardships that through their daily adversity show a tremendous aptitude and will to go on to higher education. I have had the privilege to mentor a student that is now in his first year of college.

1 Ben_34

Client Served

Rating: 5

Without Students Rising Above I honestly I have no idea where I'd be right now. In a time when I felt like giving up, SRA made me realize that was not an option. SRA has been with me every step of the way through college so far and they've provided me with so many opportunities. The students and staff as a whole have motivated me beyond quantifiable terms to do and be the best I can be.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It is nearly impossible to overstate just how life-changing Students Rising Above is for the people it serves. SRA is a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, college readiness, and financial assistance to low-income high school students who have overcome incredible odds in pursuit of a college education. SRA often helps students who are most at risk of falling between the cracks of the American education system. But beyond helping otherwise underserved students successfully transition into college, SRA also immensely benefits low-income families, communities, and society at large because of the educational and professional opportunities, development, and knowledge SRA offers its participants. Students who graduate college with the help of SRA encourage other low-income students to pursue college and share their life skills and knowledge with their families and community. SRA students are often focused on helping others rise out of poverty which lead to careers in health, public service, law, and education. This cycle improves the lives of all those around SRA participants and alumni for years to come.

Currenty, I am working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, three years after finishing SRA. For the next two years, I will be teaching English at a rural high school to students who will face many health, financial, and educational obstacles in reaching college or even completing high school. My job will be to instill a love of learning in English (because unfortunately and counter intuitively, the language of instruction in Tanzanian secondary schools is English) in Tanzanian students so that they may pass national exams, go to college, and break the vicious cycle of poverty present in Tanzania. My ability to cultivate the strength and compassion to confront world poverty and education issues in a new country is due singlehandedly to SRA. Through SRA, I met both a wonderful pair of encouraging and resourceful mentors who are now like family to me as well as a support network of young people who had experienced similar challenges to me. Making these connections helped me realize that I was never alone in the struggle for a higher quality of life. I am a stronger, wiser, and more well-rounded citizen because of the education SRA helped me to complete, and as a result, I am now able to give back and help others break through their own poverty ceiling through education.

SRA took a logistical weight off of my shoulders when it came to college admittance. Any questions I had, guidance I needed, or doubts I harboured with respect to college, SRA saw me through. Whereas many people's families support them through college, SRA students' families are often unable or without the resources and knowledge to do so. SRA has identified and begun to address a fundamental hole in the achievement gap where so many students typically fall behind with no hope of catching up, but SRA can't do this work without the prioritization, volunteerism, and financial support of others. Take note of SRA and visit the website to view some of the inspiring students' stories. It is an organization the merits all the support in the world.

Thanks for bettering my world, and so many others', SRA. Here I am, across the world, trying to pay it forward.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is an inspirational Organization focused on identifying students with personal hardships that through their daily adversity show a tremendous aptitude and will to go on to higher education. I have had the privilege to mentor a student that is now in his second year of college and have watched him grow in his determination to distance himself from the negative elements of his life and to be focused on how he can be a successful member of the work force. The fact that SRA is locally based, focusing on kids in the local community differentiates them from many other nonprofits

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above (SRA) has opened so many doors of opportunity for me! As a young Black man growing up in the inner-city of San Francisco in an area that's filled with poverty and crime it was very difficult to see life beyond the neighborhood in which I resided, until I became apart of SRA. During my time with SRA my mindset began to transform. I was able to cultivate new skills and tools that would prepare me for life in order to now empower my neighborhood and communities of-the-like.

Throughout my affiliation with Students Rising Above I was able to attend and graduate from the #1 public university in the nation as a student-athlete at UC Berkeley, I gained valuable professional skills from multiple internships, I was able to build invaluable relationships with mentors and professionals, and I was able to participate in a prestigious national leadership training program called Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs.

The investment from partners and supporters of Students Rising Above is what keeps it thriving & effective. Since joining SRA back in 2008 I am amazed to see how much impact they are creating for youth in the Bay Area region and how much they have grown since my time as a participant. Now as a SRA alum, I look forward to continue supporting SRA and seeing it continue to grow.

Donor

Rating: 5

As an educator, I think this organization is absolutely fantastic resource for underprivileged Bay Area students. I was so impressed with the student stories and the efforts of SRA, I am now both a donor and a volunteer mentor for two students. I can't say enough good things about the people involved and how the success of so many students happened because of SRA.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been so impressed by the work that SRA does. My son is married to a woman who was supported by this organization through college and now works for them. I have seen and heard about what good work they do. This is truly an organization that helps students who truly want and deserve the opportunity to go to college and life's circumstances were not there to have it happen until SRA showed up in their lives. The courage and drive of the organization is there to match that of the students who are truly rising above the circumstances that they grew up in.

Hung L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An incredibly impactful organization because it helps students who come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (when I say disadvantaged, I mean no parents, group homes, foster children, around drugs, gangs, abuse 24/7, extremely impoverished). These students that apply for SRA have made the decision themselves that they want a better life. They are self-motivated to succeed and SRA helps by giving them the tools and platform to do so. It's not an organization that gives fish but teaches to fish -- the most impactful kind