I recently celebrated 2 big anniversaries: 10 years since founding One Degree and 10 years since meeting my now-husband.
Since my entrepreneurial journey with One Degree and my partnership journey with my husband are so deeply intertwined, these two anniversaries reminded me about how important it is to have a support network — how significant it is to know that someone has your back, like my husband has had mine for the last decade.
When I started One Degree in 2012, “social determinants of health” was hardly on the radar, but frontline workers at nonprofit, healthcare, and government agencies all knew there was a problem with the system because their clients were struggling to get even their basic needs met.
I experienced this first hand when I worked at the frontlines of an education nonprofit. Everyday, our students and families faced new challenges from food insecurity to homelessness. How could I expect my students to focus on SAT tutoring if they hadn’t eaten a meal that day?
So I started One Degree to provide a support network for our community — the way that my husband has supported me through the years. In fact, when we first met, I was couch-surfing at friends’ homes to make ends meet, and I wouldn’t have been able to make it through if it weren’t for their support.
One Degree Bay Area Accomplishments
And it’s amazing to think back over the last decade to see the support network that One Degree created in the Bay Area:
- We have over 35,000 pro members (nonprofit, healthcare, and government workers) in the Bay Area.
- Over 22% of organizations in the Bay Area have one or more staff members using and affiliated with One Degree.
- More than 1.5 million unique people have used One Degree to access 10,776 life-changing social services across the Bay Area’s nine counties.
- The number of unique people using One Degree Bay Area has increased 3,684% since launch.
We’re also partnering with a variety of initiatives throughout the Bay, like supporting adolescent development as part of the Mo’Magic program of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, working to prevent homelessness with the All Home coalition, and reimagining the role of information and referral systems (like 2-1-1’s) with the Connect Bay Area Network, which includes our friends at the United Way Bay Area, Eden I&R and Contra Costa Crisis Center, to name a few.
Building on a Foundation of Trust
Ten years later, I can easily say that we’ve achieved much of the early vision for One Degree. But just like my relationship with my partner has changed in the last decade, One Degree has to evolve to meet the moment.
Unlike the tech companies targeting the safety net, building technology on top of broken systems, and exploiting communities, One Degree starts by building a foundation of trust in the communities we serve and then working to identify and address the root causes of racism and poverty.
In the next 10 years, you will see more of our work on shifting power to low-income communities. Because we are a non-profit startup led by people who have both used and worked in social services, we are committed to not only making services simpler to find, but reshaping the industry to be more equitable and dignified for the people who need it most.
Connect with me if you’re interested in being part of One Degree’s support network in the Bay Area or beyond. And special thanks to all of the amazing supporters who have helped us create something special for our communities over the last decade.