One Degree proudly serves all nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County in California, and the city of Gainesville, Florida. In this post I’ll shed light on how communities have brought One Degree to their own region and how you can do the same, empowering low-income and marginalized residents with access to critical resources.
Check out our Chapters site for more information about how to start a One Degree chapter in your own community.
In 2012, our CEO Rey Faustino founded One Degree in San Francisco. Rey wanted to ensure everyone had access to the critical, life-saving resources, just like he and his family needed growing up. (You can read more about Rey’s story here.)
Over the next few years, One Degree’s footprint expanded to include all nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area, making resources accessible to more than 1.5 million individuals in the region struggling to meet their basic needs. Then in 2016, a social worker in Gainesville, Florida, took it upon herself to found a Florida chapter of One Degree, bringing our tools and service to her own community. And in 2017, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services started a chapter by closely partnering with One Degree to launch the service in LA.
With each new chapter, we’ve learned what works
We have developed the technological and service infrastructure to support organizations and groups of various configurations to bring One Degree to their community. A One Degree chapter can be created by any nonprofit organization, government agency or community group taking the lead. We work closely with potential lead organizations to determine an approach that makes sense for their specific situation:
- Who is doing the implementation work (One Degree, the organization, or volunteers)
- Where funding is coming from if needed (the lead organization, philanthropy, government)
- How to conduct outreach and training (One Degree or the partner organization takes the lead).
We keep community at the heart of our work
Our goal is to support communities themselves to start their own chapters.
We believe local leaders, low-income and marginalized individuals, local funders, and governments are the experts in their own communities. These stakeholders know the resources best, know local terms and customs, and know what neighborhoods have the highest need and the highest concentration of resources. Furthermore, community leaders can more easily build trust and know how to best share One Degree with their own neighbors, rather than an organization coming in from the outside.
One Degree’s existing chapters exemplify the power of passionate community leaders and volunteers on a local level. Consider Gainesville, FL: Thanks to the passion and determination of the Gainesville Chapter President Alisa, over 45,000 individuals experiencing poverty in Gainesville have ready access to hundreds of community resources near them. Not only are Gainesville residents now able to find needed resources on their own, service providers in the community are able to more effectively support their clients:
Resources often feel like moving targets — funding begins or ends, eligibility criteria changes… Keeping the information transparent and accessible is critical to serving vulnerable people… While I am happy to provide this information to my clients, the One Degree technology allows my clients to access this information on their own.
— Alisa, Chapter President
Joining a nationwide effort
Powered by One Degree, Alisa and service providers like her, are revolutionizing the social service sector and empowering community members to be able to find the support they need, when they need it.
If you think a One Degree Chapter would benefit your community, check out our Chapters site with more about our program and next steps. You can also use our Chapters Toolkit to start adding resources on your own, whether you’re new to One Degree, or want to add resources to one of our existing regions.
Have questions about chapters? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org