Strengthening Communities in San Jose and Around the World

May 22, 2019 3:20 PM ET
Blog

At PayPal, our values are the driving force guiding how we can best serve our customers and communities. Our values reinforce our mission to democratize financial services globally and to further the financial health of those who have not been well served by the financial system. 

One of the critical ways we live our values is through our focus on strengthening our communities, and today I’m excited to share that we’re taking another meaningful step in support of our San Jose, California headquarters community, by supporting two outstanding organizations bridging the gap for underserved youth: Year Up and Pivotal. Through PayPal Gives, we will be granting each organization $125,000 to continue the meaningful work they are doing to help underserved youth join the workforce and attain long-term financial health. This grant program combines PayPal’s efforts toward improving the financial health of individuals with our focus on diversity and inclusion to have positive impact in our communities. 

Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by empowering Opportunity Youth, young adults from underserved communities who have the motivation to succeed, with skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Launched in 2008, Year Up Bay Area will serve more than 600 students – 160 in San Jose – in 2019, and has been placing interns at PayPal for the last five years. 

For more than 20 years, Pivotal has been providing foster youth ages 14-24 in Santa Clara County with a comprehensive set of services designed to connect them to educational and employment success. On average, foster youth attend four different schools during 9th-12th grade and drop out of high school at rates higher than any comparison group; only forty-six percent complete high school and only three percent earn a bachelor’s degree. Pivotal works side by side with youth during their high school and college years helping students through the inevitable disruptions they endure – all while ensuring that academics remain a priority. 

The statistics around underserved youth in our community are dramatic. Studies have shown that being disconnected from education and employment during the ages of 15-24 follows people for the rest of their lives, resulting in lower incomes, higher unemployment rates, and increased negative mental health outcomes. The Bay Area is home to nearly 60,000 Opportunity Youth with nearly 20,000 living in Santa Clara County.   

For foster youth, many age out of the system with little or no work experience. For the first two years after age 18, 24% of foster youth have absolutely no earnings, and earnings remain below the poverty threshold for these youth well into their twenties. At the same time, the Silicon Valley economy is booming, and companies are in need of more and better-trained talent.  Through our partnerships with organizations like Year Up and Pivotal we are working to do our part to help underserved youth gain access to education, training, and internship opportunities with coaching and mentorship along the way. 

These new grants build upon the commitment and efforts of PayPal’s employee GIVE Team in San Jose, which continues to build close relationships with dozens of local organizations. In just the past year, we gave grants to more than 20 different local organizations that were selected by employees, including United Way Bay Area, Habitat for Humanity Easy Bay/Silicon Valley, CityTeam, Hope’s Corner, iMentor, Passion for the Lost, and Sacred Heart Community Services. 

Through our PayPal GIVE Team program, we facilitate initiatives like these that create local impact in meaningful ways wherever we have offices around the world. Our 35 global Give teams actively promote the health and inclusivity of our communities through philanthropic grants, volunteer activities, fundraisers and drives, and green initiatives. In 2018 alone, our employees logged nearly 30,000 volunteer hours. 

It’s all part of the way we hope to contribute to building strong, inclusive communities in the places where we live and work.

Julie Vennewitz-Pierce, Director, PayPal Gives