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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

Donor

Rating: 5

SRA invests in low-income, first generation college students who have demonstrated a deep commitment to education and strength of character in overcoming tremendous odds of poverty. SRA help each student to realize his or her potential by guiding and supporting them through college graduation, and into the workforce. These are areas I struggled with through my college years. I feel greatly impressed that this type of organization is working hard to make a difference. I felt great to donate money to support this causse.

Advisor

Rating: 5

SRA gives student's the tools to get accepted and succeed during college. SRA reaches out to student's who have such potential but haven't had the influence or oppurtunities in their lives. SRA also helps students choose schools that offer them the best academic oppurtinities and the schools that will cost little to no debt so they won't be haunted by it in their post college years that most of us have to deal with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above invests in low-income, first generation college students who have demonstrated a deep commitment to education and strength of character in overcoming tremendous odds of poverty, homelessness, and neglect. SRA help each student to realize his or her potential by guiding and supporting them through college graduation, and into the workforce. One of the ways SRA help each student is by pairing them with a mentor....my husband and I are mentors to an amazing young woman, Meagan, who is starting her Freshman year at UC Santa Cruz. Meagan is truly a Student Rising Above and we are so honored to be with her on her journey!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Nearly a year ago, I was seated on a flight from SFO to Boston. It was a long flight and I immediately struck up a conversation with my rowmate. After sharing many stories, she mentioned "you should be a mentor." I was flattered, but didn't really know how to respond. After a couple of hours (and more stories), she made the same comment. So, I asked "what exactly do you mean?" She went on to tell me about Students Rising Above (she was a volunteer and board member) and I was so moved. An organization so targeted and focused was very appealing to me! I was immediately sold and wanted to get involved. When I settled in to my hotel room, I called my husband and said "Honey, guess what we're going to get to do?" Fast forward to today, we are mentors with SRA and we're getting ready to throw an 18th birthday party for our student! The opportunity to share in the life of a hopeful youth is the gift SRA gives to me and my husband! Forever grateful!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SRA is an amazing program that provides an arm of academic support and also personal support for students.

SRA has an amazing academic advisor team that is extremely helpful in guiding the students through college applications and the decision making process.

On the other hand I have had the opportunity to be a part of the mentorship program where I got to be the fun, light side of things.
It's clear that they care very much about making sure the mentor/mentee relationships are meaningful by investing a lot of time into preparing the mentors and mentees separately before they meet and setting expectations for both sides.

The whole team is very sweet and supportive, also organizing get togethers for mentors to hear from one another.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer for Students Rising Above in a small way but that is due to a lack of time. I choose my volunteer activities very carefully and I have found SRA to be a very worthwhile cause. I recently had the
chance to attend their fundraising event and was very impressed. mainly with the kids that benefit from the donations and how they give back.

Sumat L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a current student of the program. By the end of this year, I will have graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor's in Anthropology and a Minor in Spanish. The opportunities afforded to me in college were largely possible because of the Students Rising Above Program. The program served me from senior year and applying to colleges all the way to my final year of college, offering me guidance, support (educational and emotional/personal), a bit of financial aid, mentorship, and a network. Most importantly of all, they gave me a second family to count on and an amazing resource to use that would otherwise not have enabled me to do the things I have done, from great internships to an amazing experience spent abroad. The SRA helps those who have overcome much to find their path and eventually their dreams in life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about SRA many years ago. I started volunteering through National Charity League, a mother daughter volunteer organization. When my daughter left for college, I began independently volunteering for SRA. I have experienced many different volunteer jobs there. I am on the gala committee, I have worked with students writing resumes and I mentor two SRA students. The thing that I really appreciate about SRA is that whether you are donating time or money, you have the opportunity to talk with the students, get to know them and see just what a life changing experience your donation is providing for them. With all this interaction available, when you do become involved, you also have a life changing experience. Now that is really golden.

Polly M.

Advisor

Rating: 5

For the past five years, I have been an Advisor with the program. As of this writing, I am responsible for 26 students all at various levels of matriculation through college. This spring, five of my first group of high school seniors (Class of 2009) will be graduating with their bachelor's degrees. I am SO PROUD of all of our students and am overcome with gratitude for what SRA provides for them, and for the genuine respect and honor they provide to SRA and to me. I never had any children of my own; SRA has been the perfect place for my maternal longings! What I love the most is when i hear a student say "SRA is like family" because to me, they are. If that is how the students feel, then I have done the most important part of my job. I am in consistent awe of the fortitude, persistency and achievement of our students, despite so many obstacles in their young lives.

Jennifer189

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about SRA after a 30 minute television program and immediately after I watched it, I think I called, emailed and filled out a form online to apply to be a mentor. It was one of the best decisions I've made! This is my first year as a mentor and it's been incredible! Here is what my student wrote just last night......."This experience is truly one of a kind..... From my background, I have never received what you have given me, which is to have a person to talk to when I need guidance, someone who invests time in me and I greatly appreciate all that time you take out of your work to spend with me as I know you work very hard." People will say, "you are changing her life" when the truth is, she is changing mine. I may live to be 100 years old and not remember my own name, but I will promise you i will NEVER forget that email. I have 2 words to describe SRA. Life changing!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is GREAT! My sister is currently in College because this program has helped her to follow her dreams and get the best education possible. There are thousands of students that get an opportunity to shine because of this program. Not only does this help the student but also helps their family in seeing their children progress and continue to a brighter future. Student Rising Above to me is part of our family we have been very blessed to have them help my sister get one of the best things in life EDUCATION. Thank you so much! From: The Razo Family :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Despite struggling throughout my life to find stability, my mentors and friends from SRA have been just that. I know they are always an email, text, or phone call away. They have helped me through college tremendously, both physically and mentally, and I couldn't imagine where I could possibly be today without them. The whole organization itself is amazing!

Tammy28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had always wanted to be a Mentor and it wasn't until I was introduced to SRA that I knew I found the right organization. I was so impressed with them from the initial Gala that I attended to the Mentor/Mentee selection to the training. They are an incredible organization that does incredible things. It is a privilege to be a part of the SRA family. I wish there were more organizations like them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has more than what I had ever expected. Their support for me through my struggles has given me strength to look beyond my past experiences and create better ones by becoming a better me. I have grown so much in accepting myself amongst people who have already accepted me. My advisor, my mentor, the SRA staff, as well as the students have given me a environment where I always feel comfortable in. Without SRA, I'm not sure how I would have dealt with my hardships. SRA is more than just a non-profit organization, they are building a family.

Sean8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been nothing but impressed with this organization from the first moment I became involved with them. From SRA's cause through to their executiton, they excel at making sure nothing is wasted, from time to money, and that everything they do serves the bigger purpose of helping as many bay area kids achieve their higher education goals as possible. SRA's growth and track record of success speak for themselves. It is a privledge to be able to lend a helping hand alongside such a dedicated and selfless organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the last 6 years, I've had the privilege of mentoring two students through SRA. The organization has provided wisdom throughout its program, supporting and guiding mentors and students all along the process - from college prep in high school through college graduation. Rarely have I had such a fulfilling experience as a volunteer and/or mentor as the one I've had with SRA.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Compared to most nonprofits, Students Rising Above excels due to its personalized service to each student and the passion and inspiration exhibited by the entire organization.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above in the San Francisco Bay Area is a unique nonprofit which focuses on providing disadvantaged students a comprehensive 5+ years support program of academic guidance and emotional support. I have been privileged to be a mentor to 3 of these extraordinary students rising above over the last 4 years. In my experience, I have watched these students change from quiet, ambitious and hopeful high school juniors into mature, confident and successful college students. With the support of SRA's expertise in navigating the college application and admissions process, our students are able to reach their goals of a college education. Once they are settled in their new college, SRA stays in touch and supports them with mentoring, medical and dental support, internship guidance, and emotional support. The individualized attention our students receive is reflected in the high graduation rate. All three of my students are thriving in their respective colleges and are confidently looking forward to their post graduate plans. It has been an honor to be involved in their lives and watch them blossom into such remarkable young adults.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a recipient of the scholarship and it forever changed my life. It probably is one of the best things that's every happened to me and has shaped into a successful individual. Not only do I have great lifetime mentors through the organization, but the Foundation has instilled a need for me to impact others the way it has with me. Being an alumni of the program, I'm still very involved with the organization but as a giver not a receiver. I work a ton of hours a week, at Visa Inc. (where SRA helped me obtain the job after college during a time when all my friends couldn't find a job), and I gladly spend my personal time volunteering with SRA. The dedication of the people in this organization is extraordinary. They are incredibly driven to expand their reach and evolve their programs to benefit the recipients. Also, what SRA does is quite extraordinary and I have not seen any other equivalent nonprofit of its kind. It support for students is very well rounded. It supplies financial support, emotional support through mentors and advisers, career/internship placement at large renounced organizations such as Wells Fargo, the Marriott, AAA, etc. and medical and dental assistance for as long as a student is in a 4 year college. That's incredible.

Rich V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Because of SRA I am proud to say that I mentor a young man who is excelling at Colby-Sawyer college with a full scholarship he earned. Last week I was able to visit him while on a business trip, it was so refreshing see him doing so well in an academic environment.

Lisa142

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer mentor and career coach, I have witnessed first-hand how Students Rising Above supports at-risk, under-represented youth to overcome tremendous obstacles by helping these young people to pursue their education and to often be the first in their family to obtain a college degree. The people involved in SRA are smart and passionate about this mission, as 90 % of SRA students graduate from college which is twice the national graduation success rate for low-income, first generation college students. Additionally, the care, respect and support that SRA provides to these young people shows in the tremendous success, inspiration and generosity that these young adults show in return to the organization, our communities (85% of SRA students give back through on-going community service) and to the world. Supporting SRA helps to develop and support compassionate future leaders and world problem solvers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is a fantastic organization that's really making a difference. It's my first year volunteering with the program but the staff is very dedicated and organized and it's been a great experience so far. The students are all very appreciative of volunteers' time and it's wonderful to know how much of an impact you're making. I will absolutely recommend SRA to friends looking to get involved.