Finn lives in California and participates in our custom program with the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund.
The SV2 Teens are focusing on investments in education for low income youth both locally and internationally. As a part of our mission to expand educational resources, we have the opportunity to visit and invest in three organizations: Khan Academy, BuildOn, and MultiCultural Institute. We’re looking forward to the grant making decision process in April, but the site visits are always a special opportunity to experience impactful organizations throughout the Bay Area. Here is a review of our second site visit:
“We want others to know that people are out there who actually care; we hope to inspire the community to help out” – Ben, BuildOn Program Alumni
The SV2 Teens travelled to Oakland to spend the afternoon at BuildOn, an organization that works to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations for students through service and education. BuildOn mentors low income high school students in cities throughout the United States including Oakland, Chicago, and New York City. Their students graduate at a rate of 97%, and have contributed over 1.8 million hours of service! There is more to this organization than domestic programs, however. BuildOn Trek is a program in which students travel to seven countries such as Haiti, Malawi, or Burkina Faso to build a school, stay with a host family, and immerse themselves in a new culture. To date, they have built over 1000 schools abroad
Several BuildOn high school students and alumni also shared their experiences and insights with us. It was an incredible opportunity to hear the excited participants speak about their favorite community service days including working at soup kitchens and visiting the elderly at senior homes. We also learned about their trips to Nepal and Malawi and how it was challenging yet wonderful to learn about and be a part of the unique culture of their host families!
Other groups, besides SV2, are taking note of the impactful work that BuildOn is doing with education for low income youth! We learned that BuildOn students have recently partnered with General Electric Digital Technologies to combat social injustice and socioeconomic inequality using innovative technology. In addition, BuildOn schools across the world are now being transformed into around-the-clock community centers through a partnership with Solar City, who install solar panels in the schools to provide light and energy at night.
BuildOn’s unique and innovative approach to combating civil unrest, poverty, and low expectations through education is remarkably effective. However, their students’ natural love for community service is what makes this organization so impactful!