YCore & Renaissance

Connecting Social Change Maker Through Entrepreneurship

It’s early Saturday morning in West Oakland and six young tech professionals rearrange tables and chairs, test their presentation technology, and hurry around to prepare a classroom. At 9 am they’ll be face to face with a diverse student body, along with curious colleagues from Renaissance, to present an intensive training on digital payments and marketing.
These young professionals worked towards this three-hour presentation for six months as a result of asking the question: ‘How can we bridge the gap?’ The gap, project lead Ellen Yan said, was the feeling she got when she walked around her neighborhood, South of Market in San Francisco. She was frustrated seeing people struggle to get by in contrast to the rising affluence. She would have felt even more frustrated had she not been able to address the issues head-on through YCore, a volunteer group that led her collaborate with Renaissance.

YCore is a nonprofit organization that inspires young professionals to get involved in the social sector–now, not later.t’s early Saturday morning in West Oakland and six young tech professionals rearrange tables and chairs, test their presentation technology, and hurry around to prepare a classroom. At 9 am they’ll be face to face with a diverse student body, along with curious colleagues from Renaissance, to present an intensive training on digital payments and marketing.

Their mission – to inspire, support and connect the next generation of social change makers with high-impact philanthropic opportunities – led YCore to create a volunteer project with Renaissance. Renaissance has an established track record of helping Bay Area women and men become economically self-sufficient for over thirty years, and works with 81% low to moderate income clients. Providing people with the tools of entrepreneurship is a proven avenue to self-sustainability and long-term impact. The YCore and Renaissance volunteer project provided a means to turn frustration into an opportunity to work toward social and economic justice.

After interviewing Renaissance clients, the Renaissance YCore learned many lacked computer skills and reliable access to computers and wireless internet, and discovered the need for skills in marketing and digital payments. Collaborating with Renaissance staff, they developed a training using smartphones as their primary interface. Using the mobile payment processing system Square, and digital marketing platforms Yelp, Facebook, and Linkedin, they taught technical marketing and management skills, presenting the live feed from their smartphones on an overhead projector, and keeping the presentation interactive and lively.

Though the YCore group was prepared for the lack of access to technology, members of the team told us it was surprising and moving to experience the digital divide first-hand – a stark contrast to their offices at Yelp and Airbnb.

After completing the project YCore volunteer Sophia Deng recounted, “We have been deeply moved and changed by working with Renaissance.”

We are deeply thankful for the work that YCore has done with us at Renaissance. With their help and that of so many of our volunteers, we are building bridges to entrepreneurship together, empowering people to make better lives for themselves, their families and ultimately our communities.

Members belonging to the Renaissance YCore volunteer team include Ellen Yan at Airbnb, EE Hou at shopkick, Sophia Deng at Instacart, Sophia Lee at Triage Consulting, Noah Gilmore at Yelp, and Kana Hammon, Executive Director of YCore. Their work culminated in an exciting technology training program.
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