Meet One Degree’s newest Board Members + Harvard Leadership Award

I believe One Degree gives credit to the agency of extremely hard-working families. It’s our privilege as a board to make sure that the incredibly talented staff team has the very resources, coaching, and access they are providing to all the families that log-in to One Degree. This is a big year for One Degree and I’m excited to add two new stewards to our ambitious mission.

One Degree’s Board adds top-notch leaders


Lilibeth Gangas, CTCO at Kapor Center for Social Impact
Lili, a proud Bolivian immigrant, believes in fostering inclusive tech ecosystems for all. As the Chief Technology Community Officer at the Kapor Center, she’s helping catalyze Oakland’s emergence as a social impact hub of tech done right. Lili is eager to use her background as an engineer and skilled connector to help improve One Degree’s product, platform, and community engagement.


Dr. Michael McAfee, President at PolicyLink
Michael is President of PolicyLink and the Co-Director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink, a national research and advocacy institute advancing economic and social equity. He has spent more than 20 years serving as a results-driven leader in the government, philanthropic, and human-service sectors, and is excited to use his skills to help scale One Degree through strategic partnerships with government and nonprofit agencies.

Founder Rey Faustino recognized as Harvard’s 2017 Emerging Global Leader

Last week, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government awarded its Emerging Global Leadership Award to our very own Rey Faustino. This award recognizes an alumnus who has stood out as a leader and has made a meaningful difference to individuals, organizations, or governments. We’re so proud of Rey and the whole One Degree team for bringing this concept to life and continuing to grow the impact of the organization.

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Thank you for your support, and belief in the power of One Degree.

Forward,
Karla Monterroso, Board Chair

One Degree’s Board adds top-notch leaders

Karla, our board chair believes One Degree gives credit to the agency of extremely hard-working families. It’s the board’s privilege to make sure that the incredibly talented staff team has the very resources, coaching, and access they are providing to all the families that log-in to One Degree. This is a big year for One Degree and we’re excited to add two new stewards to our ambitious mission.

New Board Member: Lilibeth Gangas

Lili, a proud Bolivian immigrant, believes in fostering inclusive tech ecosystems for all. As the Chief Technology Community Officer at the Kapor Center, she’s helping catalyze Oakland’s emergence as a social impact hub of tech done right – where tech, diverse talent, and action driven partnerships can tackle pressing social and economic inequities of our communities head-on. Lili’s been spearheading innovation specializing in crowdsourcing, prize challenges, and open data solutions for the public sector. As an active ecosystem builder via Oakland Startup Network, Startup Weekend DC and Oakland, she’s also supported SBA’s Startup In a Day competition, White House Council of Women and Girls Advancing Equity project, and Census Bureau’s first open data challenge and demo day. Lili holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California and Systems Engineering Certification from UCLA Extension.

New Board Member: Dr. Michael McAfee

Michael is President of PolicyLink and the Co-Director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink. He has spent more than 20 years serving as a results-driven leader in the government, philanthropic, and human-service sectors. He has partnered with community leaders to build 3,000 units of affordable housing, create 5,000 jobs, and provide hundreds of thousands of children and their families with the educational and community supports they need to thrive. Most recently, he played a leadership role in creating the Promise Neighborhoods program, a $1 billion dollar federal investment in American neighborhoods for building opportunities for children and their families.

Founder Rey Faustino receives Harvard Emerging Global Leader Award

Last week, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government awarded its Emerging Global Leadership Award to our very own Rey Faustino. This award recognizes an alumnus who has stood out as a leader and has made a meaningful difference to individuals, organizations, or governments. We’re so proud of Rey and the whole One Degree team for bringing this concept to life and continuing to grow the impact of the organization.

“We cannot do this work alone.”

Rey Faustino MPP 2012 is the founder of One Degree (1degree.org), a web and mobile platform connecting hundreds of thousands of people with needed social services. Before coming to the Kennedy School, before he started helping low-income teens graduate from high school and go to college, and before founding One Degree, though, Faustino was familiar with the difficulties of finding assistance with necessities such as immigration and health services.

His own family had experienced those challenges after they immigrated to Southern California from the Philippines when Faustino was eight years old. Faustino’s mother eventually found work as an administrative assistant at a hospital, liking it so much she became a nurse. His father, who had trained as an architect, worked multiple jobs as a salesperson and as an entrepreneur on the side, remodeling kitchens and bathrooms. “I’d accompany him on nights, weekends, and holidays to help him at different job sites so that we could make sure there was food on the table for the family,” Faustino says.

Faustino went to the University of Southern California, intent on studying entrepreneurship to help grow his father’s business. But he found his calling to serve the community when he began volunteering for an organization that mentored children from Los Angeles’s inner city. “I did this for four years at USC and loved it,” says Faustino. After college, he relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area to work with a nonprofit helping low-income and minority students. But he found himself increasingly frustrated by the difficulty his clients had in accessing community resources. “Even though our students were closing the achievement gap, they were experiencing issues like abuse, hunger, and homelessness,” he says. “So every week, we would look for support services for our clients using a clunky and often outdated paper binder full of listings for service providers.

“Right down the street from us were Google and Facebook and other amazing tech companies that were changing the way the middle- and upper-classes were living and working. But none of this technology was being used for our most vulnerable families.”

Faustino came to the Kennedy School with one large question: How could technology connect people to social services? The answer would be One Degree. “I took almost every philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and social and urban policy class there was,” he says. His Policy Analysis Exercise was a feasibility study for the nonprofit.

Today, One Degree connects more than 8,000 individuals a month to over 10,000 social resources across the Bay Area. It has helped more than a quarter of the people in need in San Francisco and Alameda counties. With its desire to be the “Yelp of social services,” One Degree empowers users by allowing them to offer feedback on various resources such as affordable housing, food banks, employment services, and health clinics, giving users a voice while harnessing market forces that will lead to improvements in services. It also helps thousands of nonprofit professionals identify and share thousands of resources, replacing the clunky binders with an always updated technology-enabled solution. Over the long term, Faustino plans to scale the One Degree platform nationwide and to leverage the robust data collected by One Degree to help community-based organizations, policymakers, and funders chart effective courses.

One Degree was launched with support from various organizations, including the Kresge Foundation, the Knight Foundation, Tipping Point Community Foundation, and Google. Says Faustino, “Even though I was the solo founder, I always felt I was part of a bigger movement. I used the lessons from Marshall Ganz’s class to organize and catalyze groups, starting with my hks classmates, who were early helpers and advisers. At One Degree, we know we cannot do this work alone.”

Tech for Good Talk: Rey Faustino, One Degree

I had the opportunity to speak at Fast Forward’s Accelerate Good Summit for nonprofit tech innovation. Check out the video and share!

We were in the first cohort at Fast Forward & they’ve been able to create a unique support group of people who are mission-driven and tech-driven that I rely on pretty regularly. I’m thankful for both Fast Forward and Yahoo’s support.

 

Ready, Set, Refer! Introducing One Degree Plus

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Since 2012, we’ve been seeing a small but very active group of people using One Degree in creative ways. Today, over 1,500 nonprofit, healthcare, and social work professionals from across the Bay Area rely on One Degree in their work to fight poverty. And I’m excited to share with you some powerful new tools that will make it even easier for professionals to make an impact.

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We’re thrilled to launch One Degree Plus, a suite of referral management and reporting tools made especially for nonprofit and healthcare agencies. These powerful tools, built on top of the One Degree community resource platform, enable professionals to “close the loop,” serve more clients faster, and track the impact they’re making.

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Join us in Los Angeles on May 4

We’re hosting a One Degree Meet & Greet in Los Angeles! Come by to say hello and hear about our plans to impact the 4 million low-income Los Angelenos. Details & RSVP here.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to speak at Fast Forward’s Accelerate Good Summit for nonprofit tech innovation. Check out the video and share!

Thank you for your support, and belief in the power of One Degree.

In community,
Rey

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Meet our new Board Chair, Product Designer & Partner!

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To celebrate International Women’s Month, I want to introduce you to two amazing women who are stepping into new roles at One Degree and a new partner working with women.

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Karla Monterroso, VP of Programs at Code2040, becomes Board Chair
Karla has been a board member since One Degree’s inception in 2012. She has played an integral role in helping One Degree grow from idea to startup, and now she’s helping us scale. The board and staff are excited to have Karla’s empathetic leadership at the helm of the organization as we grow our impact. Read more.

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Welcome Donna Chan, our new Product Designer & Researcher
Donna joins us to make sure every member using One Degree has a good experience. Donna spent her career in the social impact and enterprise software spaces, and recently refined her design chops at Tipping Point’s T Lab. Read more.

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HPP & One Degree join to combat housing crisis
We’re delighted to announce our new partner, Homeless Prenatal Program. Read more about our shared commitment to helping families get safe and stable throughout the Bay Area

Join us on April 5th or April 13th for an “Intro to One Degree” 30-minute webinar. We’ll show you the ins and out of accessing, managing, and reviewing 10,000 nonprofit and government services in the Bay Area.

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Thanks,
Rey

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Welcome Donna Chan, our new Product Designer & Researcher

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We recently added a new member, Donna Chan, to our team to lead product design and research. In her role, Donna will be making sure that One Degree is constantly listening to our community and making sure that as we are building our tools, we are keeping our community members at the heart of our work. She took some time to answer some questions, and we invite you to get to know her!

1. Why did you join One Degree?
As a designer in one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world, it’s hard for me to reconcile the fact that low-income families and the social services that serve them oftentimes lack basic tools that could more efficiently and successfully help them meet their needs.

As a result, I sought (and found!) a social impact startup that bridges technology, human-centered design, and a mission of helping low-income families. From my initial conversations, I knew that I had found a special opportunity in One Degree in learning that not only did our values deeply align but also that there was such intention and thoughtfulness with which the team approached all things.

2. Why is poverty alleviation such an important issue to you?
I believe the poverty alleviation space is ripe with so many opportunities for impact, particularly with advancing technology and increasing access to technology. Prior to One Degree, I’ve spent most of my career in the poverty alleviation space in varying capacities – from being a social policy data analyst at MDRC to a design fellow at Tipping Point Community’s T Lab, building solutions to childcare issues facing low-incomes families across the Bay Area using design thinking. Now, as a product designer, I knew I wanted to return to the poverty alleviation space to create tech for good.

3. What is your vision for One Degree’s future?
Currently, in order to access the resources they need, our communities spend hours of time waiting and traveling to services, work through pages and pages of paperwork, and oftentimes have to take time out of work in order to access resources. Instead, imagine a world in which individuals and families in-need — across the nation — are thriving because they’re able to quickly, easily find and access the housing, food, childcare, and other resources they need right from their phones or other devices. I’m excited to join this team and help One Degree build this future!

Our New Housing Partner, Homeless Prenatal Program

We are delighted to announce that Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP), has joined forces with One Degree to help families find safe, stable, and affordable housing throughout the Bay Area.

Homeless Prenatal Program, an organization that has been working to break the cycle of childhood poverty in San Francisco since 1989, will be working with One Degree and Compass Family Services to keep One Home, our affordable housing portal, current and up-to-date with current housing properties. We created One Home in 2015 with Compass Family Services in response to the Bay Area housing crisis. One Home is making an impact by helping families search, filter and apply to affordable housing quickly and easily. In just one year, families downloaded more than 10,000 rental applications.

“We’re excited to be a partner with One Degree on One Home. We think housing is critical for improving the lives of families and One Home provides a great solution for locating and applying to housing throughout the Bay Area and beyond,” said Rachel Stoltzfus, Assistant Manager Housing Assistance Program for HPP.

Our partnership with HPP strengthens our commitment to making safe and affordable housing a possibility for all families. We are proud to stand among our partners HPP and Compass Family Services to continue to tackle the housing challenge in the Bay Area.

Q&A with Board Chair: Karla Monterroso

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We sat down with Karla Monterroso, our new Board Chair, to find out a bit more about her and why she’s committed to One Degree. A first-generation American, Karla grew up in Pomona, a low-income community in East Los Angeles. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, where she met Rey Faustino, One Degree’s Founder and CEO. Karla is a VP at Code2040 where she’s committed to closing the opportunity gap for Black and Latinx people in the United States.

Q: What do you appreciate most about One Degree?
I appreciate that One Degree believes in the ability of our families to help themselves, that families have agency. People underestimate the agency of families and I believe low-income families should have a greater say in what they need.

Q: What inspired you to step up to the role of Board Chair at One Degree?
As life has gotten busier and work life has gotten more intense, I always ask myself, “Is this the best use of my time?” And my answer is that I can’t imagine a better thing to be investing in. As Chair, I am helping the organization that is creating the support structure for the country. I believe in One Degree’s unique ability to create the connective tissue that the country needs right now.

Q: In your view, what’s the biggest accomplishment One Degree has made in its first 5 years?
That’s easy. 100,000 people used One Degree last year! That is a significant indicator of need for people in poverty in the Bay Area. I’m so proud that One Degree has been there for them.

Q: What do you want to see One Degree accomplish in the next 5 years?
Looking forward to One Degree in multiple cities and serving many kinds of communities outside of the Bay Area. I can’t wait to see how One Degree will use the rare information they are collecting directly from low-income people to help us all start to learn and honestly understand poverty. One Degree has the ability to help social service agencies tailor its services directly based on the needs of a community. This, I believe, will be its truest service for the community.

Built by immigrants (+ We’re Hiring)

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When I moved to the United States in 1990 with my family, I watched my hardworking and industrious parents struggle to navigate the community resources in our new home. We were lucky to have kind people — “angels” as my dad calls them — help us out in serendipitous ways, connecting and advocating for my family. These angels lit our path to opportunity and citizenship.

What’s different today is the political climate against immigrants. I’m thankful for the angels who helped me and know there has never been a more important time to lift up the most vulnerable in our community. That’s why I created One Degree — to ensure that the most vulnerable families, like immigrants and refugees, can create a path out of poverty.

One Degree is committed to creating a deeper impact in the Bay Area. And ultimately, we envision a time when anyone across the country can access resources to improve their lives, and we’re building that infrastructure now.

New Tools: One Degree Referrals
Take a look at our latest piece of infrastructure, One Degree Referrals, which enables nonprofit, healthcare, and social work practitioners to “close the loop” on access to resources. Read more.

Member Success Story: Jeronimo
We’d like you to meet Jeronimo, who is himself an immigrant who is now lifting up other immigrants in his community. Read more.

If you’re frustrated like me by the current national climate and you want to create a better future for our country, here’s an easy thing you can do to make a real difference.

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We’re currently hiring for 4 full-time roles, in engineering, community growth and marketing, community support, and resource management, and need your help to get the right people on our team.

Thanks,
Rey