Pathways for Success:  Career Pathways Grantmaking


More than a third of Bay Area workers earn less than $18/hour, and the majority of these earn less than $12—well below a living wage. Growth in middle-wage jobs (positions that do not require a 4-year post-secondary degree) has not kept pace with that of the low- and high-wage sectors. And barriers to effective training and job experience keep what opportunities exist out of reach—curbing economic mobility for hundreds of thousands of Silicon Valley residents.*


The Sobrato Family Foundation envisions Silicon Valley as a place of opportunity for all its residents. We know effective pathways toward middle-wage employment require building the business case with employers to increase and reconfigure jobs into middle-skill careers, and strengthening links between these employers and relevant-skill training programs. SFF’s Pathways for Success grantmaking does just that—focuses on strengthening the pipeline to living wage, middle-skill jobs by bridging 21st century skills development with employer demand.


SFF’s Career Pathways grantmaking targets programs that develop career ladders to middle-skill jobs, and organizations that work with industry employer partners to expand the number of middle-skill jobs available to our workforce. We fund grantees by invitation and are not soliciting proposals at this time. However, if your organization or community college is creating a career pathways program in Silicon Valley, we want to know. Please complete our Pathways for Success online inquiry form so we can learn more about your efforts.


* See Economic Prosperity Strategy: Improving economic opportunity for the Bay Area’s low- and moderate-wage workers
by SPUR, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, San Mateo County Union Community Alliance,
and Working Partnerships USA (October 2014)  View pdf




Braven ($250,000, 18-mos)

To expand upon the design of Braven’s college-success course, to ensure low-income students develop the skills, professional network, and career-accelerating opportunities (internships/work experiences, mentoring, etc.) that support procuring a high-quality first job upon graduation.


Genesys Works Bay Area ($300,000, 3-yrs)

To support the growth and sustainability of Genesys Works programming in San Jose, tripling the number of students per year, and building the foundation for grater expansion in Silicon Valley beyond the grant term.


Kiva San Jose and the Peninsula ($250,000, 3-yrs)

To support the growth of Kiva San Jose and the Peninsula to become a primary capital source for underserved, financially excluded small businesses in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties – with an aim to preparing these small businesses for mainstream credit access.


Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Opportunity Youth Partnership ($275,000, 2-yrs)

To improve education, employment and self-sufficiency outcomes for Opportunity Youth in Santa Clara County by serving as a catalyst for interagency and regional problem solving and facilitation the collaboration of social service providers, public agencies, and employers.


Puente de la Costa Sur ($145,000, 2-yrs)

To support the Youth Leadership and Employment Program, refining the employment and work experience programming to provide robust and tailored job readiness, employment, and enrichment to meet the developmental needs of at-risk youth on the rural south coast of San Mateo County.


Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center ($350,000, 2-yrs)

To support women-focused entrepreneurship and empowerment training in San Mateo County and launch new women-focused services in Santa Clara County. 


United Way Bay Area, SparkPoint ($375,000, 3-yrs)

To launch and operate a SparkPoint Center in San Jose to help low-income individuals and families in Santa Clara County increase income, build credit, and accumulate assets. SparkPoint is an integrated service delivery model that connects workforce and educational systems with nonprofits and public support, making services accessible, streamlined, and data driven.




Jewish Vocational and Career Counseling Services ($200,000, 2-yrs)

To support the expansion of BankWork$ in Silicon Valley — a program that trains young adults from low income and minority communities for lasting careers in the financial services industry.


Job Train ($200,000, 2-yrs)

Support for Partnership for Bridging the Digital Divide—a collaboration with Cañada College and Sequoia Adult School that creates career pathways to tech jobs through a 16-week college-credit coding skills training program, individualized evaluation and follow-up, job placement, and supportive wraparound services for students.


McKinsey Social Initiative ($200,000, 2-yrs)

Support for GenTech; a tech pathway program within the larger MSI Generation initiative that prepares disconnected youth for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) positions. GenTech works directly with local employers to identify pertinent job and skill gaps to inform curriculum and training, provides technical skills along with professional behavior training, provides mentoring to support students through program completion, job search and placement, and works with other community organizations to secure wraparound services for participants.


Silicon Valley Children’s Fund ($390,000, 3-yrs)

Helping scale their proven High School to College and Career Pathway programs and reach every foster youth in Santa Clara County. Their cohort model Pathway Project comprises SVCF’s Emerging Scholars, RISE, and YES programs—initiatives that provide high school academic mentoring, community-college coaching, and case management, scholarships, and sustained mentoring for foster youth attending vocational programs, community colleges, and universities in the County.


The Stride Center ($300,000, 3-yrs)

Expanding Stride Center’s successful ICT career development programs from the East Bay into Silicon Valley. Stride’s program provides industry-valued training, career navigation and job placement assistance through a part-time multi-week boot camp model—complementing other Silicon Valley programs.


Year Up Bay Area ($190,000, 2-yrs)

Help scale Year Up’s nationally-recognized model of career pathways and workforce development programs in Silicon Valley—doubling the number of students it serves with its high-support, high-expectations model of intensive ICT technical training, soft-skill preparedness, and on-the-job experience.