Silicon Valley has acquired a global reputation as a center of innovation, attracting an influx of migrants in search of better prospects. Nevertheless, while there are significant economic opportunities, there are also grave challenges.
In this article, we look at five nonprofits supporting underserved communities throughout Silicon Valley.
LifeMoves helps individuals experiencing homelessness to find a route back to stable housing. Through its community-based projects and programs, the organization is committed to finding effective solutions to homelessness in Silicon Valley.
In 2019 alone, LifeMoves helped 2,127 clients return to stable housing. With an average of 950 people receiving food, shelter, clothing, and supportive services from LifeMoves each night, LifeMoves operates 23 shelter and service sites across San Jose and Daly City. These locations give people experiencing homelessness with a temporary place to call home, while simultaneously addressing their long-term housing needs.
The organization offers a number of services, including: residential services, which provide food, clothing, emergency interim shelter, and other necessities; supportive services, which provide customized support and case management; community outreach services, which provide assistance to residents who are unsheltered through drop-in centers, outreach programs, and prevention services; family services, including education programs, behavioral health, and veteran services; and single adult services, including housing and employment services as well as LGBTQ+ programs.
Throughout 2019, the organization provided the equivalent of 224,000 nights of food, shelter, and services to Silicon Valley clients. This helped thousands of individuals transition to stable housing and achieve long-term self-sufficiency.
2. Parents Helping Parents
Parents Helping Parents is dedicated to supporting parents of children with special needs. It offers valuable support, inspiration, and information to help families build a better future.
The majority of Parents Helping Parents staff have children with disabilities. This gives them unique insight into the challenges and complexities faced by their clients. Established in 1976, the organization works with parents, families, and entire communities, helping tens of thousands of families to thrive.
Based in San Jose, California, this nonprofit 501(c)3 organization provides a range of resources on its website. Its E-Learning Library contains information in a variety of formats, including videos and podcasts, that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Everything from Covid-19 to financial planning and assistive technology to behavioral issues is available. Content is continually added to provide an expansive online library to benefit children and adults with special needs as well as their families.
CollegeSpring helps Silicon Valley students to succeed through a comprehensive test preparation and college knowledge curricula. It provides students with the skills and tools they need to achieve exam success and gain college entry.
Higher SAT and ACT scores help students qualify for admission to some of the nation’s best universities. These institutions have generous financial aid, robust student support, and high graduation rates. CollegeSpring provides teachers and schools with training, curricula, and data to help educators support their students, boosting test confidence and ultimately improving grades.
Succeeding on SAT and ACT tests requires more than just a few tips or clever tricks. It is also vital that students understand the college application process to make the most of their educational opportunities. CollegeSpring helps its clients pinpoint best-fit schools; gain insight into why tests are so important; recognize how changes in attitude and behavior can change their life-trajectories; and improve their educational and job opportunities, career paths, and ultimately their lifetime prospects.
4. Second Harvest Food Bank
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley was created with the ambition of eradicating hunger in the local community. The Second Harvest Food Bank is committed to doing whatever is necessary to build a hunger-free community. It leverages all available food resources and partners with local people and organizations with the shared belief that hunger is simply unacceptable today.
Nutritious food forms the bedrock of a healthy, productive life. Silicon Valley is synonymous with innovation, industry, success, and wealth, yet a record number of families rely on Second Harvest each month. It is hard to imagine a pain greater than sending your child to school on an empty stomach. Nevertheless, food poverty is a stark reality for a staggering 25 percent of the Silicon Valley community.
The local economy may be booming, but this has triggered an exponential increase in housing costs, leaving many families and seniors struggling to get by. Second Harvest works with the local residents to ensure they have access to healthy, nutritious food. Today, 10 percent of the population of Silicon Valley receives food aid from Second Harvest in the form of nutritious food parcels and pre-prepared meals.
5. Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula
Currently the largest youth-serving nonprofit in the region, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula offers local young people from low-income backgrounds the opportunities they need to achieve academic success. The organization serves 2,500 local children through a variety of programs, including after-school clubs and summer camps.
Operating from 13 sites across Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and Redwood City, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula works closely with prestigious learning institutions such as Stanford University. Its robust programming for high schoolers provides them with a solid foundation for graduation and college enrollment.
As a supporter of #BlackLivesMatter, the organization is committed to making Silicon Valley a great place for all children to grow up, irrespective of race or socio-economic background. It works to ensure that young people’s futures are dictated by their own choices and actions rather than the color of their skin or where they were born.