Welcoming Chelsey Souza - Chief Development Officer
This month, we’re welcoming Chelsey Souza, who is joining Pivotal as our new Chief Development Officer. A passionate fundraiser, Chelsey is known for her philanthropic development expertise, enthusiasm for ethical fundraising, and keen ability for inspiring volunteers.
Since entering the social sector in 2001, Chelsey worked as a staff member, volunteer, and consultant at robust organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, Silicon Valley...Read more
Welcoming Nkia Richardson - Board Member
Nkia Richardson is the Executive Director of CASA of San Mateo County, a position she took on in 2018 after serving on the organization’s Board of Directors for five years. A passionate advocate for children and families, Nkia began her legal career as a dependency attorney in Los Angeles County where she represented children and parents in cases of child abuse and neglect. Prior to joining CASA, Nkia worked as a Senior Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Jose, where she litigated...Read more
Introducing Pivotal's New CEO - Matt Bell
In January, Pivotal welcomed our new CEO, Matt Bell. For much of the past two decades, Matt has worked to ensure that marginalized and underserved communities have equal access to education, work, and independent living opportunities. He feels passionately that regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, or family structure, these fundamental tenets of life should be accessible to all people.
Most recently, Matt served as Executive Director of Via Services,...Read more
Pivotal Launches "On the Move" Initiative to Expand Education and Career Support for Foster Youth
Campaign encompasses growth across counties, younger ages, and advocacy efforts
SAN JOSE, Calif., - September 13, 2022 – Pivotal, the only nonprofit in Silicon Valley focused exclusively on meeting the educational and career needs of foster youth, today announced an expansion of services to reach a broader age range and wider geography. The Pivotal on the Move initiative encompasses three focus areas to expand impact. The agency, which has over 30 years of experience supporting...Read more
Pride Month and RISE
As we celebrate Pride month at Pivotal, we want to acknowledge the fact that a disproportionate percentage of foster youth – 30.4% - identify as LGBTQ+ as compared to 11.2% of youth not in foster care. In addition, 5% of foster youth identify as transgender, as compared to 1.17% of youth not in foster care.
According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth from foster care are 3 times more likely to report a past-year suicide attempt and have nearly 4 times greater odds of being...Read more
Thick, Invisible Ice
“I grew up in a small town where all trees are cut down to warm every household and school. I grew up in a small town where the electricity goes out regularly. A place where only one television channel exists, and the internet is as exotic as the dinosaur.
Just beyond the river, bordering where I grew up, lies another country where everything is opposite to my little town. Whenever the electricity went out, we gazed through to the other side where the streets were lit. We...Read more
Extended Foster Care Helps, But Foster Youth Need More Educational Support
By Elise Cutini, Chief Executive Officer, Pivotal
An abridged version of this op-ed appeared in the Mercury News.
Nearly a decade ago, the AB12 Extended Foster Care Program was put into effect in California. The goal of the program, which allows eligible youth to stay in foster care until age 21, was to provide these young people with the tools necessary to be self-sufficient and socially connected. This was a huge step in the right direction, but 10 years later, two questions...Read more
The Digital Divide
By: Destiny Gibson, Pivotal Scholar and 2021 Summer Marketing Intern
Technology has reshaped society forever: from the first computer, which took up an entire room for just five measly megabits of data, to the MacBook that I’m writing this article on now. As technological advancements change the world, the necessities of our everyday lives also change. But although things like computers and phones have become essential to our daily lives, they haven't become that much more accessible to...Read more
3 Inspiring Women We're Honoring this Black History Month
Black History Month is both a time to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of Black Americans as well as reflect on the inequities and injustices plaguing our country. At Pivotal, we continue to be amazed and inspired by the Black leaders within our Pivotal family who use their voices to educate communities about the Black foster youth experience. Three incredible Black women we’re celebrating this month are Dr. Kizzy Lopez, Sadé A. Daniels, and Shalita O’Neale.
Thank you, Senator Beall
By Melissa Johns, Executive Vice President
As election day approaches, all eyes are on the candidates vying for your vote. Amidst all that campaign noise, we want to shine light on someone who isn’t looking for your vote this year: California State Senator Jim Beall. After three decades in public service, Senator Beall has completed his final term representing District 15. As a fierce champion for foster youth, he’s been unwavering in his commitment to see children...Read more
The Silver Linings of Distance Learning
by Christine Salinas, Manager of Grants and Communications
Parents everywhere are wondering what school will look like this year and worried about the challenges and pitfalls of distance learning. As Pivotal scholars prepare to start the new school year remotely, we asked how they feel about distance learning. Because of their own unique experiences in the foster system, many prefer it over in-person instruction. Here are five things we learned:Read more
California Senate Bill 150 Is Right for Foster Youth
by Christine Salinas, Grants Manager
We’re thrilled that State Bill 150 is finally on Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. If signed into law, the bill – authored by 15th District Representative Jim Beall - is expected to increase college retention and graduation rates among current and former foster youth by eliminating barriers to receiving financial aid.Read more