Investing in Education & Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

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by Daniel Lurie
Founder & CEO, Tipping Point Community

At Tipping Point Community, we pursue one relentless goal: To fight poverty in the Bay Area. We aim to provide game-changing resources to the 1.3 million people too poor to meet their basic needs here in our community, one of the most affluent regions in the world.

We take a comprehensive approach to poverty alleviation and invest in four key areas: education, employment, housing and health. Of these, we know that providing high-quality education is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty for good. When an individual graduates from college, he or she doubles their lifetime earnings, and paves the way for future generations of their families to pursue the path to and through college.

About 47% of the dollars raised at Tipping Point, more than $24 million since 2005, are invested in organizations that help students improve their proficiency in English Language Arts and Math, graduate High School or obtain their GED, and enroll, persist and graduate from college. This is desperately needed, especially here in California, where per-pupil spending ranks 50th in the nation when adjusted for regional costs of living, and 33% of low-income students of color in the Bay Area do not complete high school.

1.3 millionAt Tipping Point we find these numbers unacceptable, and are constantly looking for ways to level the playing field for students and families in our region. Research shows that reading proficiency in third grade is correlated with future educational success. In fact, a 2010 University of Chicago study found that students who were reading at or above grade level in the third grade had increased likelihood of attending college by 700%.

For the past five years we’ve been proud to support Rocketship in its work to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime. By harnessing the power of technology for better, more individualized instruction, supporting teachers and leaders to be truly excellent and partnering with parents, Rocketship is rethinking elementary school education from the ground up and affecting the system-wide change we so desperately need.

Innovation defines this region and it’s part of our DNA at Tipping Point. We believe a willingness to take risks to make things better, to solve some of the most intractable problems we face, is essential. And Rocketship is no stranger to innovation. With a hybrid of online and classroom instruction, Rocketship has continued to have strong student achievement while rapidly (and sustainably!) growing and scaling. We invest in Rocketship not only to have an immediate impact on the students and families served by Rocketship schools, but to support innovation in the non-profit sector and build a community-wide movement for educational equity.

Every child should be allowed to dream of becoming an engineer at Google, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or a nonprofit leader changing thousands of lives. It’s up to us to ensure each one of them has a roof over their head, safe streets, food on the table and access to healthcare, education and the training required to make those dreams come true.

Since 2005, by partnering with Rocketship and 46 other outstanding direct service organizations, Tipping Point has impacted the lives of over 500,000 individuals and families in the Bay Area. We know that this is only the beginning, and that there is so much more we can do together to break the cycle of poverty for good.


Before founding Tipping Point in 2005, Daniel worked for the Bill Bradley Presidential Campaign, Accenture Consulting and the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City. Daniel was humbled to witness Robin Hood’s relief efforts to lift up the city after 9/11. He used his time in graduate school to adapt the organization’s model to fit his home community, the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2013, Daniel chaired the successful SF Bay Area Super Bowl bid to land Super Bowl 50 which will be held in February 2016 at Levi’s Stadium.

Follow Tipping Point on Twitter: @tippingpoint

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