Preparing Low-Income Youth for College and Career

Jul 16, 2012

In the United States, low-income students are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to apply for and attend college. These students often lack the support and guidance to navigate the complexities of the college application and decision process, and the role models to showcase the benefits of higher education.

Enter Juma Ventures. In 1993, Juma became the first nonprofit organization to own and operate a commercial franchise. Since then, Juma has grown from a job-training and placement program serving 25 homeless youth to a nationally-recognized youth development organization operating in four cities (New York, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco)—all with the mission of breaking the cycle of poverty by ensuring that young people complete a four-year college degree.

Bank of America is a proud supporter of Juma Ventures. In 2008, the bank awarded the organization with a Neighborhood Excellence Initiative grant in the amount of $200,000. The grant has allowed Juma to further develop its infrastructure, build capacity, and support data management and performance management.

“Bank of America’s financial support has been instrumental to keeping our doors open—to pay for salaries, infrastructure and programming,” said Dr. Marc Spencer, CEO of Juma Ventures. 

“Community development is important to Bank of America and it’s important to address the resources available in the community to help better it. We’re able to bring a level of expertise, because we have been supporting the community for a long time,” said Gail Lannoy, Bank of America western region market executive. “We can help bring together the right people with the right financial support.” 

In 2012, 100% of Juma Venture’s Bay Area seniors graduated from high school, with over 90% transitioning into college. To date, Juma has served more than 3,000 teens who have earned $3 million in wages and saved more than $2 million for higher education.

With support from Bank of America, Juma Ventures is growing to serve more youth across the United States. “The award from Bank of America has definitely helped Juma Ventures meet our expansion goals,” says Dr. Spencer. “It enabled us to increase the core technologies we feel are essential to any type of expansion and replication.”

Join the conversation: Learn how we’re working to help strengthen communities on the Bank of America Facebook page.

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