2016 Grants Challenge

BUILD Los Angeles: Entrepreneurship is the hook and college is the goal.

Idea by BUILD

BUILD engages high school students who are at risk of not graduating by teaching them how to create and launch their own small businesses, with the goals of college enrollment and career success.


Please describe your project proposal.

BUILD will use these funds to hire two key members of its new Los Angeles team, which will serve 600 students in 2017. BUILD inspires students from under-resourced communities to graduate from high school, develop critical life skills, and achieve post-secondary success through the highly engaging experience of launching their very own businesses. BUILD will hire its Volunteer Manager and its Student Success Program Manager to recruit 150 volunteer mentors and to work with 150 9th graders.

Which of the LEARN metrics will your proposal impact?​

College completion

College matriculation rates

District-wide graduation rates

Student education pipeline

Youth unemployment and underemployment

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

East LA

City of Los Angeles


Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to LEARN?

For the 2015 – 2016 school year:

* 95% of BUILD students graduated from high school on time. In contrast, the national average rate of on-time high school graduation is 81%, and the national average rate of on-time high school graduation for low-income students is 73%.

* 98% of our students were accepted to a postsecondary option, and of those, 82% were accepted to four-year colleges.

* 69% of BUILD students who graduated in 2015 enrolled in college the Fall immediately following their high school graduation. In contrast, the national average college enrollment rate is 66%, and the national average rate for BUILD’s target population (low-income students of color from urban high schools) is 52%.

BUILD’s Plan for Los Angeles

Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, BUILD Los Angeles will serve 600 students in the 9th grade. Our initial geographic focus will be on the region centered in Downtown Los Angeles and extending several miles into East Los Angeles. BUILD Los Angeles will work with traditional comprehensive public high schools, charter schools, and pilot schools. BUILD’s national Research and Evaluation Team will be able to study and learn how the BUILD model works in each of those three settings.

In succeeding years, BUILD Los Angeles will continue to add a new 9th grade cohort of approximately 600 students each year. By the 2020-2021 school year, BUILD will have grown to serve approximately 2,400 students. Seed grants invested now will quickly bear fruit in the form of a highly impactful regional team of 30 BUILDers serving 2,400 students, 25 schools and 500 mentors.

Outcomes in Los Angeles

Most importantly, BUILD has a demonstrated record of ensuring high school graduation and college enrollment among low-income high school students. Of BUILD students nationally in 2015-2016, 95% graduated high school on time and 69% of those graduates enrolled in a post-secondary institution. Both of those figures are much higher than the national cohort’s rates of 73% graduation and 52% enrollment.

Assuming BUILD Los Angeles matches these results, that means over the next five years:

An additional 528 students who graduate high school instead of dropping out (2,280 of 2,400 BUILD Students graduate vs. 1,752 students nationally graduate)

An additional 408 students who enroll in post-secondary institutions (1,656 of 2,400 BUILD Students enroll vs. 1,248 students nationally enroll)

With its first class of 9th graders, BUILD Los Angeles will be responsible for an additional 132 high school graduates and 102 college enrollees in Los Angeles.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

For this first year, BUILD's metrics will include:

1. A full service team in place at 10 partner high schools, including the Volunteer Manager and Program Manager;

2. 600 students in the 9th grade in the BUILD curriculum;

3. 150 volunteer mentors supporting BUILD students on a weekly basis.

Eventually, as we serve students throughout their high school years, BUILD’s three primary indicators of success will be:

1. 10th grade enrollment rates, which correlate to a decrease in dropout rates, and measured by data from our high school partners and the National Student Clearinghouse.

2. Continued high school graduation rates above 95% for students completing the BUILD program, and measured by data from the National Student Clearinghouse;

3. College enrollment rates of 90% or higher for each class of BUILD seniors, and measured by yearly progress toward California public university eligibility

To ensure we meet these outcomes, we will measure the mastery of six (6) skills that we have identified, and research supports, are pertinent to master for long-term life success. These skills are communication, collaboration, problem solving, innovation, self-management, and demonstration of grit.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?



Advisors/board members



Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)

Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support