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10,000 Degrees Advances to Final Round in National Competition for Social Impact

Social Impact Exchange to Select Organization Most-Ready and Worthy of Expansion

(San Rafael, CA – May 17, 2012) 10,000 Degrees, a Bay Area organization providing financial, technical and personal support to low-income students to help them earn a college degree has advanced to the final round of the Social Impact Exchange’s – 2012 National Business Plan Competition. Entrants are growth-ready organizations needing assistance to scale their operation. The Competition identifies social sector scaling initiatives with demonstrated impact and readiness to grow then grants the winners up to $100,000 in both financial and consulting awards. 10,000 Degrees is one of the three finalists in the “Early-Stage Growth” category.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be selected as a finalist,” said 10,000 Degrees’ President, Kim Mazzuca. “I recently heard Prof. Robert Reich identify the very challenge we are addressing. ‘The problem with a higher education system that is no longer available to so many youth people — the fundamental problem — is that we are losing equal opportunity in America.’ At 10,000 Degrees we are facing this crisis of equality head on by investing in low-income youth and producing results that lift entire families out of the cycle of poverty. This recognition by the Social Impact Exchange affirms our approach and will help us take our college success solution to scale.”

Over the past year 10,000 Degrees, formerly Marin Education Fund, has begun expansion of its college planning and preparation programs to the counties of Sonoma, Solano and Contra Costa. During the 8-month evaluation process, entrants developed and submitted business plans on how they would scale their operations and serve more people. Mazzuca will present before the conference audience and respond to Q&A before a panel of judges at the final round of the Competition at the Social Impact Exchange 2012 Symposium on Scaling Impact, June 12th in New York City.

“We are fired up to compete against the best ideas from around the nation,” said Mazzuca. “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our social business model.  The 10,000 Degrees Solution represents both the heart and ingenuity of Northern California.”

Judging for the competition is conducted on a pro bono basis by professionals from the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Organizations are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated quality, effectiveness/impact (including comparison of results and costs to similar programs), and ability to meet social goals in a timely fashion
  • Marketability & scalability– evidence of demand in the marketplace, a plan for reaching potential customers/users and the potential for significant scaling
  • Expansion readiness – feasibility of the business/operating model for scaling, process and systems in place, transferability (if geographic scaling), and potential for success
  • Strength of the management team and governance structure
  • Rigor and feasibility of the financial model including sustainability over the long term
  • Evidence of systems to track, monitor, and assess the performance milestones articulated in the business plan


The Social Impact Exchange (SIE) consists of  the Growth Philanthropy Network and Duke University’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (CSPCS) at the Sanford School of Public Policy and its Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at the Fuqua School of Business.  SIE’s purpose is to:

  • Share and develop knowledge that leads to successful execution of local, national and international scaling efforts
  • Facilitate increased financing of scaling initiatives through collaborative funding opportunities and venues
  • Develop infrastructure that helps build the field of scaling social impact

Contact: Seth Goddard
Director of Communications
10,000 Degrees
(415) 451-4017

Download the press release.

For more about the Social Impact Exchange, please contact: Cynthia Massarsky at 212-551-7954.