The Margoes Foundation is accepting applications for its Venture Philanthropy (VP) Award. The Margoes Foundation Venture Philanthropy Award is a three-year $150,000 grant, payable in $50,000 annual installments. The VP Award application process for the 2024-2026 cycle is open now through September 22, 2023. Applicants must be new or early-stage social impact organizations developing innovative programs or services to empower low-income, under-represented students for advancement in society. To be eligible, applicants must:

  1. Address one or more of the following disciplines: college access, college completion, career development;
  2. Be in the early stages of funding and development (i.e., three years or newer) as a new organization, or be a new program/chapter that is part of an established organization;
  3. Possess a revenue model that demonstrates scalability for achieving long-term sustainability;
  4. Be a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity domiciled in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The multi-year scope of the VP Award aims to ease funding challenges of upstart organizations, so more energy can be focused on achieving a program’s social impact goals. Transparency and accountability are paramount for a successful funding relationship between the Margoes Foundation and the VP Award recipient. As a result, the VP Award application process requires some upfront time investment to facilitate the vetting process.

Note: Throughout the vetting process, prior to or after application submission, applicants will be requested to meet with members of the Margoes Foundation VP Committee to address a range of questions/topics or to refine parts of the application. Areas of interest can include the organization’s social impact, program differentiation, management and staffing experience/turnover, program scalability/risks, and the scalability of the revenue model. We will not be able to accept your application if the application and any vetting requests are not completed in full.

For more information about the Margoes Foundation VP Award and to determine whether your organization is a qualified candidate or to refer a candidate, please contact Eunice Valentine, Managing Director (; 415-561-6540 ext. 228). Upon qualification, applications will be set up through an online portal.

Deadline: Applications are open and are due by September 22, 2023  at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. The award recipient will be announced in November 2023.

To help prepare, the questions and materials which will be requested are all included in the Application Overview.


  • July 31, 2023 – Applications open.
  • September 22, 2023 – Applications are due.
  • October 2023 – Staff will review applications and then request follow-up meetings as part of due diligence vetting process. Applicants will receive questions/topics in advance of meeting to facilitate preparedness.
  • November 2023 – VP Award recipient to be selected at Board of Directors meeting.
  • December 2023, January 2024 – VP Award recipient will meet with Margoes Foundation to agree on three benchmarks for 2nd and 3rd grant installments to be released in 2022 and 2023.
  • January 2024 – 1st grant installment check released.

Past Recipients:

Breakthrough Silicon Valley

  • Leadership
    • John Hiester, Executive Director
  • About Breakthrough Silicon Valley
    • Breakthrough Silicon Valley prepares highly-motivated students to become first-generation college graduates and inspires emerging leaders to be the next generation of educators an advocates for equity.
    • BTSV’s College Pathways Initiative (CPI) supports first-gen students to successfully transition into college and persist beyond the critical first year through year-long peer mentorship, a three day graduate summit, ongoing workshops relevant to the first gen experience, and opportunities to build supportive social networks on campus.
  • Noteworthy Success During Margoes Foundation VP Award Period
    • CPI launched in 2020 and now serves over 63 students across 15 college campuses.
    • The multi-year grant helped bolster the program’s infrastructure and as a result we grew CPI’s reach and offerings, including $40k in scholarships, supportive social activities on campus led by mentors and mentees, support for the two year junior college pathway, and year-round workshops relevant to the first-gen experience.
    • The investment sparked a new partnership with Career Launch, a program tailored for first gen students to learn how to become proactive in their career development.
    • The results: 90% of participants said their CPI peer mentor helped them successfully navigate their freshman year and 95% of mentees re-enrolled into their 2nd year of college.

Working Scholars

  • Leadership
    • Tim Bieser, Program Director
    • Dana Bryson, SVP of Social Impact
  • About Working Scholars
    • Our mission is to uplift communities by providing working adults a no-cost, debt-free bachelor’s degree.
    • Working Scholars’ flexible learning style allows for those with busy schedules to make progress on their degree when they couldn’t in traditional pathways. This is especially true for those that  are single head of households and can’t afford child care to attend in-person classes.
    • In the program, students are supported with academic coaching, degree mapping, transfer assistance and counseling from the program’s success coaches. Community members apply for qualification to the program based on need and performance with a rigorous qualification process. Local businesses, philanthropic organizations, local governments and individual donors fund the program.
  • Noteworthy Success During Margoes Foundation VP Award Period
    • Celebrated the 200th graduate from the program. All of these individuals were able to obtain a bachelor’s degree with no out-of-pocket expenses and no debt.
    • Surpassed 20 million dollars in saved tuition and fees for members of the program.
    • The program was highlighted in several local news reports, as well as Forbes.
    • Held the 3rd, 4th and 5th graduation ceremonies with speakers that included  Brandi Chastain and Dolores Huerta.
    • We are proud to continue to serve a population of learners that are 68% female and 77% person of color.

Rivet School

  • Leadership
    • Eli Bildner, Co-Executive Director
    • Jeff Manassero, Co-Executive Director
  • About Rivet School
    • Rivet School (formerly Concourse Education) has redesigned college to meet the needs of traditionally underserved students. At Rivet School, students earn an accredited, job-focused bachelor’s degree in 2-3 years — while working full-time — and for less than $10,000 in total out-of-pocket cost.
    • Rivet School pairs a skills-focused online degree with real-world resources, including personal coaching, on-demand tutoring, coworking space, a free laptop, and more. Students earn credit whenever they master the material — whether that takes a week, a month, or a term. Tuition is $6,500 a year, but the average student covers around half of costs through Federal financial aid.
  • Noteworthy Success During Margoes Foundation VP Award Period
    • Rivet School launched in late 2018 and now serves over 100 students across eight California counties, and it has already produced its first bachelor’s degree graduates.
    • 93% of Rivet School’s students are Black or Latinx, 85% are first-generation college-going students, and 40% are parents or caregivers. The median Rivet School student is on track to earn their BA in 3.5 years, and its fastest students are completing their BA in under 2 years.
    • Rivet School works hand in hand with community partners to find and support students to college graduation, including the San Francisco and Oakland school districts, KIPP Bay Area, Rocketship Public Schools, College Track, the Contra Costa Community College District, Bay Area Community Resources, and many others.
    • In 2020, Rivet School launched the Pay it Forward program, an only-at-Rivet-School financing tool that allows students to pay no upfront tuition, and pay back only when students earn more than $40,000 per year.


  • Leadership
    • Andrea Schwartz Boone, Founding Executive Director, Bay Area Region
  • About Braven
    • The mission of Braven is to empower promising, underrepresented college students with the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks necessary to transition from college to strong first jobs.
    • Braven has partnered with San Jose State University (SJSU) and local companies, including Adobe, LinkedIn, and Salesforce, to deliver a rigorous credit-bearing university course. In the past five years, more than 1,200 SJSU students – Fellows – have participated in the course.
    • Corporate partners also encourage their employees to participate in Braven’s professional development and engagement opportunities as well as consider talented Fellows for internships and full-time jobs.
    • In 2019, 88% of Braven SJSU Fellows identified as people of color and 61% as first-generation college students. 69% of Braven SJSU Fellows completed at least one internship during college, compared with 49% of peers nationally.
  • Noteworthy Success During Margoes Foundation VP Award Period
    • 95% of Braven SJSU students are persisting or have graduated from college, and 70% of graduates have secured a strong first-job within 12 months of graduation.
    • In the face of COVID-19, Braven transitioned all programming to a virtual setting, achieving a Fellow net promoter score of 54 (considered excellent by NPS standards; by comparison Harvard Business School’s NPS is 41).


  • Leadership
    • Catalina Ruiz-Healy, Founder and CEO
  • About GradGuru
    • GradGuru was acquired by the award-winning Beyond 12 in early 2020. GradGuru was founded to inspire and support students to reach their academic and career goals, with a focus on first-generation and low-income community college students.
    • GradGuru’s app helps community college students stay on track by providing the right information at the right time via smartphone-based communications. The GradGuru app incorporates the latest research on behavioral nudges to turn a student’s smartphone into a cutting-edge community college completion tool.
    • GradGuru pre-loads its app with specific information for each participating community college, including academic calendar, financial aid, and transfer deadlines. The app also includes 150 evidence-based tips on how to navigate community college. A notification pops up on students’ smartphones, automatically alerting them of important deadlines and campus-life tips.
  • Noteworthy success during Margoes Foundation VP Award period
    • The multi-year grant helped GradGuru refine its app-based academic completion tool. GradGuru also was able to bolster its technology infrastructure and staffing.
    • As a result, GradGuru grew to serve more than 75,000 students at over 30 community colleges.