Organizational Background & Mission:
United Way of the Bay Area's (UWBA) mission is to be the catalyst that enables people to strengthen their communities by investing in one another. Founded in 1922, UWBA served for many years as a grant maker to worthwhile social service organizations. It has recently transformed as an incubator of systems-changing programs to improve educational opportunities, access to basic needs, and achieve financial stability for disadvantaged communities. In 2010, UWBA set a bold goal to cut the number of Bay Area families living in poverty in half by the year 2020. UWBA serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Solano Counties with offices in San Francisco and Oakland.
MatchBridge, a program of United Way of the Bay Area, works to align workforce and educational systems through work-based learning for youth such as jobs, internships and other opportunities. When young people are struggling, education may be an abstract concept and having a work-based learning experience helps them to ground their education in the real world, setting them up for success at school and on the job. Working to serve transitional-aged youth 16-24, MatchBridge brings together workforce and educational partners, employers, funders and other youth-serving non-profit organizations to create systems that produce results.
Most recently in 2012, MatchBridge was chosen by the City of San Francisco to lead San Francisco Summer Jobs+ (SFSJ+), a citywide initiative that included all of the stakeholders listed above. SFSJ+ had a goal of placing 5,000 young people into work-based learning opportunities and exceeded it with over 5,200 opportunities provided. In 2013, the goal of 6,000 was exceeded by over 800 opportunities. MatchBridge is also now expanding from San Francisco to other cities such as Oakland and possibly Vallejo as well.