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Based in the San Francisco, Juma Ventures is focused on helping youth complete four-year education programs after high school, with the ambitious goal to help break the cycle of poverty in California.
“Juma Ventures is an innovative and award-winning youth development program that combines employment in social enterprises, college preparation, and financial asset building to create a safe, supportive community where under-resourced youth can achieve their dreams of a college education,” their website explains.
The program has proven tremendously successful, with over 90% youth entering college after the Juma Ventures program. The founders of the social enterprise believe offering youth the opportunity for a four-year education will help ensure they not only enter the workforce, but receive higher earnings than those with adults with less, or no, post-secondary education. As a result, they hope this will help end the poverty trap.
The Juma Ventures website is packed with stats to show the scope of the problem, and the potential to offer empowerment and opportunity through education. For example, students from U.S. families with household incomes below $20,000 are three times more likely to drop out of high school than those with incomes over $50,000. Average earnings for those who haven’t completed high school is $18,734, they’re $27,915 for those who have completed high school, and $51,206 for those with university degrees.
The Juma Ventures program offers college preparation services, including coaching, tutoring and SAT prep, and continues support through the students’ first three years of college enrollment. They assist in job training and placement, and offer financial assistance, from helping with applications to matching tuition funds and offering donor-funded scholarships for students who excel.
Juma Ventures was launched in 1994 in partnership with Ben & Jerry’s, when they launched to offer employment opportunities to homeless youth, and made their mark as the first American nonprofit corporate business franchise.