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2016 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

94 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has been such an amazing program, that I have been blessed to be a part of. It has provided not only the resources but the guidance I needed to be successful in my college admission process. I am also looking forward to participating in Student Rising Above for the next three years.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are many organizations that focus on advancing educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth, however the thing that attracted me to Students Rising Above is the breadth of their program and their desire to give students all the tools to be successful - getting into college, graduating from college and finding jobs. The students are wonderful and really embrace all of the opportunities SRA offers them - coaching, interviewing workshops, internships and mentorships. It is very inspiring to meet these young students and to support them through their journey!

Anastasia N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a recipient of Students Rising Above from the age of 16 until I graduated from University. I had a rough start to life. My family struggled financially and we ended up homeless until I was placed into foster care. I remained strong academically, but didn't know how I would (realistically) get into and let alone pay for and graduate from college.

Students Rising Above made it possible for me. Among other things, they paid for me to take an SAT training course, helped me with the complicated financial aid forms and college applications, gave me a laptop, helped to support me financially and emotionally, and with the transition from university to career.

I now have a degree in Economics and a Masters in Finance. I work in the Tech industry with a promising career and a future better than anyone with have expected from a foster kid.

Now I want to give back by volunteering with the organization, but there is no way I can ever re-pay what the organization and all the wonderful people in it, have done for me :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a mentor in fall of 2010 for SRA, and my life hasn't been the same since. I met Charleen my mentee who has become an important part of my life, and has inspired me on so many levels. SRA has been a constant presence in Charleen's life, helping her with funds during emergencies, academic advising support during the school year, and activities to share together. She always speaks of SRA with pride, and the program has been instrumental to her success getting into college (with two full ride scholarships!) and excelling at Berkeley. I can't speak highly enough about the professionalism and powerful spirit of SRA organization.

1 Chetuan S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered to work on the Gala Committee 3 years ago. My experience was so positive, that last year I became a Mentor. Students Rising Above ("SRA") is an outstanding organization that not only assists talented youth with financial support needed for college, but also with academic guidance and emotional support necessary for the successful matriculation from college, and well beyond. The time I have spent on the Gala Committee, as well as with my student, has been wonderful and I highly recommend this organization. Chetuan L. Shaffer

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with SRA for 7 yrs. This is a terrific program assisting motivated, sharp, interesting kids to achieve their educational aspirations by supporting them in all the most important ways. Many, many success stories are testament to the organization's great work. I have mentored three students-two are graduates of Brown and both are now teaching and traveling. This is the program where volunteers will feel a personal connection to the students and see rewards for involvement!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What makes Students Rising Above exceptional is that their commitment to students' success extends well beyond college scholarship. They realize that in addition to financial aid, disadvantaged youth need a robust network of support including mentors, health care, and college/career advisors to achieve their educational goals and find their professional path. I feel honored to have contributed to this compassionate and results oriented effort. All of the people I have met through this organization have been wonderful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above (SRA) has a small but extremely dedicated and hardworking administrative team – I can’t believe the amount of work they do, putting on their various fundraising events throughout the year, including the Gala in the spring and the GRADWalk in the summer.

I’ve volunteered at SRA’s annual Gala for over 5 years now, which is always an incredible event because it features the heartwarming and, many times, heartbreaking stories of the students they serve. Many of these students have been through so much, and yet are doing well in school, recognizing how important a good education is for their futures. I've also volunteered at all 3 GRADWalks, which is a really fun 5K walkathon in Golden Gate Park, with lots of SRA students participating. After the walk, SRA honors their high school and college graduates for the current year.

It's been impressive to see SRA's growth over the time I've been volunteering -- this year they've got 100 new students in the program! I heartily recommend SRA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SRA is a wonderful organization that changes the lives of the students that they assist. They are able to guide the students through the college application process, financial aid applications as well as the painful process of choosing the best college fit. Advisors help with the process above and volunteer mentors enrich the students' lives with activities, new experiences and sometime the simple gift of a caring listener.

During the summer the mentors, advisors and staff help the students prepare for college by shopping together for dorm room supplies, setting up their new computers and giving seminars on college life, financial planning and much, much more.

The greatest attribute of this program is that the needs and success of the student are always the first priority.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above(SRA) is an excellent organization serving at-risk students in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their mission statement compelled me to become a part of their group of dedicated individuals focused on assisting youth achieve their goals. SRA provides the comfort, knowledge and resources the youth need to overcome their environment while developing skills to create a successful career and become a positive member of our society. This has been a very rewarding and heartfelt opportunity for me as I witnessed a student mature as she prepared for college. BHuds