Winter Giving Circle: Refugee Transitions

Last week a group of TechEquity community members met to discuss the finalists in the running to receive our next Giving Circle contribution. With a focus on refugee and immigration rights, we sourced three amazing organizations in the Bay Area. Our finalists were 1951 Coffee, Refugee Transitions, and Immigrants Rising. While it was a tough decision, we ultimately voted to make our contribution to Refugee Transitions!

If you’re not familiar, a giving circle is a community of like-minded philanthropists who pool their funds in order to increase their collective impact. If you spend a little time reading up on giving circles, you’ll find that these initiatives democratize philanthropy. The goal of the TechEquity Giving Circle is to build a culture of philanthropy specifically among tech workers. In the past we’ve made contributions to Youth Uprising and Techtonica. Read more about our selections on the TechEquity blog.

About Refugee Transitions

Founded in 1982 as the Refugee Women’s Program, Refugee Transitions (RT) is a community-based nonprofit providing free services to people who have sought refuge in the U.S. RT serves those who have experienced forced migration due to war, violence, persecution, and/or economic duress.

Refugee Transitions

RT’s mission is to assist newcomer families in becoming self-sufficient in the U.S. by providing services to help them attain the language, life, job, and academic skills they need to succeed in their new communities. They serve youth and families in Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Francisco counties.

Some of RT’s accomplishments that impressed our Giving Circle group:

  • 86% of high school seniors who attended RT’s home-based or after-school programs graduated high school, outperforming English learners in California by 18%
  • 96% of youth who completed RT’s youth leadership programs enrolled in college after graduating
  • Gain in language skills by RT adult students exceeded California state averages (for adult schools, community colleges, and other community organizations) in all four English language levels that they prioritize
  • 259 adults received one-on-one case management support from RT’s bilingual/bicultural staff members

In addition to these impressive accomplishments, the key factor that resulted in RT’s selection as our Giving Circle recipient was their holistic approach to support. One of the things that we at TechEquity have learned over the years is that when it comes to supporting people’s journeys out of homelessness and into stable environments, housing is just one piece of the puzzle. Drawing on that learning, the group ultimately felt that RT’s focus on the whole family and their multifaceted support strategy across language skills, housing, jobs, and academics makes them a truly special organization.

Get Involved

We’re leaving the contribution period open until Friday, March 29th in hopes that we can pool together more resources to support Refugee Transitions. Join us in building this culture of giving and reaching our goal of making a $2,500 contribution (we’re already over halfway there!). We encourage you to give the recommended amount of $150 (or 1% of your income), but we understand that unplanned contributions can be tough. Please consider donating what you can. Donate today!

While only one of our finalist organizations receives our collective contribution each quarter, we were still extremely impressed with all our finalists. We encourage everyone in our network to learn more about 1951 Coffee and Immigrants Rising and the amazing work they do!

You can stay up to date on this work and make your voice heard on who will receive our next contribution by joining our Giving Circle (the next meeting will likely be sometime in July). Our next beneficiary will be an organization doing work in childcare and early childhood education. As childcare can often be a barrier to entry to the workforce for so many, we’re interested in learning more about organizations who are working to bridge that gap. If you have suggestions for organizations that fit the bill, join our circle and we’ll loop you in on the process!


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