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10,000 Degrees Wins National Competition

Social Impact Exchange Selects San Rafael’s 10,000 Degrees as Most-Ready for Expansion

(San Rafael, CA – June 12, 2012) 10,000 Degrees, a Bay Area non-profit organization providing financial, technical and personal support to low-income students to help them earn a college degree won today’s final round of the Social Impact Exchange’s –2012 National Business Plan Competition in New York City. Entrants were growth-ready organizations needing assistance to scale their operation. The Competition identified social sector scaling initiatives with demonstrated impact and readiness to grow. 10,000 Degrees was awarded up to $100,000 in both financial and consulting awards. 10,000 Degrees was one of the three finalists in the “Early-Stage Growth” category.

“This represents a huge opportunity for 10,000 Degrees to take our award-winning model to students across Northern California and the nation, said 10,000 Degrees’ President, Kim Mazzuca. “We are thrilled! At 10,000 Degrees we are facing our nation’s 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.”

The primary goals of 10,000 Degrees’ business strategy plan are:

  • Expand 10,000 Degrees throughout the North Bay region, growing from 2,500 to 10,000 students served annually by the end of 2015, and 20,000 students by 2020.
  • Work collaboratively, potentially as a facilitator, with other college access and success organizations to (1) leverage  one anther’s resources and (2) achieve meaningful impact in the region, and (3) expand our knowledge of how best to scale impact.

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

10,000 Degrees, formerly Marin Education Fund, has 30 years of success in Marin and recently expanded its college planning and preparation programs to the counties of Sonoma, Solano and Contra Costa.

The urgency of higher education success:

  • 61% of California jobs will require postsecondary education by 2018
  • 38.3% of working adults held a degree in 2010
  • 4.26 million Californians will be in their prime college going years in 2015

The upside of a college degree for each graduate:

  • 22.6% increase in employment and an additional $1.3 million in extra lifetime earnings.
  • 37.6% increase in voting
  • 8.9 additional years of life

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

  • Quality, effectiveness/impact and ability to meet social goals in a timely fashion
  • Marketability & scalability
  • Expansion readiness
  • 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 performance milestones


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
  • Develop infrastructure that helps build the field of scaling social impact

For more information about SIE, please contact: Cynthia Massarsky at 212-551-1148

For more information about 10,000 Degrees, please contact: Seth Goddard at 415-451-4017