What We Do

Strive for Change Foundation is a fundraising and grant-writing organization that was founded to help the working poor strive to improve their employment potential and ultimately end their cycle of poverty.  To do this, the Foundation awards grants to innovative, local organizations that provide services in a range of skill areas including:

  • Job skills training
  • Career development support
  • Entrepreneurship and small business creation
  • Financial literacy and asset building

We are able to do this by raising funds and in-kind contributions  from a broad base of individual and foundation donors, and local businesses.  What sets us apart from other charitable organizations is the careful due diligence we conduct on each grantee organization and the local focus we have maintained to increase our effectiveness here in the East Bay.

Due Diligence: The Strive For Change Foundation rigorously researches, selects and monitors the grantee organizations to ensure that our grants contribute to meaningful and effective programs that support the working poor. Click here for our agency review process.

Local Focus: We focus solely on local, community-based organizations that provide services for the working poor in the East Bay.  This local focus is a key point of difference versus larger and/or national charitable organizations to ensure that your donation dollars will be focused on helping others in your local community.

Grantee Organizations in 2016:

  • The Bread Project
  • Cypress Mandela Training Center
  • Green Energy Training Services (GETS) of Rising Sun Energy Center
  • Kitchen of Champions
  • Lao Foundation
  • Opportunity Junction
  • Rubicon
  • Stride Center
  • Wardrobe for Opportunity
  • Youth Business USA

Grantees for 2016

In 2016, the Strive for Change Foundation made $102,000 in grants to 10 nonprofit organizations that provide job and career training to the working poor. These organizations included The Bread Project; Cypress Mandela Training Center; Green Energy Training Services (GETS) of Rising Sun Energy; Kitchen of Champions; Lao Foundation; Opportunity Junction; Rubicon; Stride Center; Wardrobe for Opportunity; Youth Business USA.

Cypress Mandela Training Center

Cypress Mandela Training Center provides pre-apprenticeship jobs and life skills training in the construction trades. Cypress Mandela is located in Oakland and has been in operation since 1993. Every year several cohorts go through a rigorous 16-week training process that exposes students to the selection and use of tools, reading blueprints, surveying, computer assisted drawing, and safe construction practices.

www.cypressmandela.org

Kitchen of Champions

St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County’s Kitchen of Champions culinary training program is an intensive, comprehensive 12-week session for low-income and disenfranchised individuals, many of whom were formerly incarcerated. The program, created in 2007, uses a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on kitchen food-handling safety techniques, along with case management, job placement assistance and follow-up services for graduates. Class size is limited to 25 students and there is no tuition for the program.

www.kitchenofchampions.wordpress.com

Opportunity Junction

Based in Antioch, Opportunity Junction fights poverty by helping low-income adults get the confidence and competence to get good jobs that enable them to support themselves and their families. Through intensive training programs, they build a solid foundation in computer skills, introduce participants to workplace culture, and offer the skills necessary for students to thrive in a competitive business environment. Opportunity Junction offers a three-phased program for its students including training in computer-based business applications, paid internship, and alumni services with 18-months of continued networking support and job-related guidance.

www.opportunityjunction.org

Rising Sun Energy

Founded in 1994, Rising Sun Center in Berkeley has evolved from a modest renewable energy education center into a major green workforce and retrofit non-profit organization. The SFCF funds are being used for the Center’s Green EnergyTraining Services (GETS) program, which provides a year-round adult pre-apprenticeship training program. The core course covers basic construction skills, energy efficiency auditing, retrofit installation and applied math.

www.risingsunenergy.org

Rubicon Programs

Rubicon’s mission is to prepare very low-income people to achieve financial independence and break the cycle of poverty. Rubicon places place low-income East Bay residents in jobs and housing and get them access to legal services and healthcare. Based in Richmond, Rubicon Programs offers services throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

www.rubiconprograms.org

The Bread Project

Started in 2000, The Bread Project trains low-income people in commercial baking, food preparation and restaurant service for employment in the food industry. The staff helps students find and retain jobs, and provides work performance tracking and ongoing support for one year after graduation. Today, there are 9-week classes in café and restaurant service located in Berkeley and 12-week classes in commercial baking located in Emeryville.

www.thebreadproject.org

The Stride Center

Based in Oakland, The Stride Center is a non-profit social venture that is empowering economic self-sufficiency for individuals and communities in the Bay Area. Through its programs, it is harnessing the power of technology to help low income men, women and families. The Stride Center prepares its adult students for professional, well-rounded careers in the information technology field. It also operates its own technology consulting business called ReliaTech. This operation generates jobs and internships for Stride Center graduates and students, provides revenue to sustain its non-profit mission, and brings affordable, local technology solutions to the community.

www.stridecenter.org

Youth Business USA

Young entrepreneurs receive one-on-one support and coaching in planning, designing and building businesses from Youth Business USA, and it is free of charge for selected applicants. Entrepreneurs learn how to build a business – from crafting a pitch to developing a strong product or service and establishing a customer base. Its professional advisors and mentors provide in-person and virtual support, connections, and specialty help on topics ranging from accounting and law to web design.

www.ybusa.org

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