In 1993, Juma Ventures became the first nonprofit organization to own and operate a commercial franchise, a Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop that provided jobs to a handful of homeless youth.
Over the past 20 years, Juma has transformed into a national, award-winning youth development program serving more than 1,200 low-income students in six cities — New Orleans, New York, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Juma's program combines employment in social enterprises, college preparation, and financial asset building to create a safe, supportive community where low-income youth can achieve their dreams of a college education. Since 1993, Juma has helped more than 4,000 young people earn more than $4 million in wages and save more than $2 million for higher education.
Juma helps break the cycle of poverty by ensuring that young people complete a four-year college degree.
Putting Our Students—and Their Needs—In Context
Juma is an answer to a troubling crisis — more than one-third of America's college students, and half of all minority students, fail to earn a college degree, even after six years. Studies show that early work experience predicts success in the workforce and directly correlates with educational and personal success later in life.
Statistics don’t lie:
- The high school drop-out rate for students with a family income below $20,000 is more than three times that of students with a family income over $50,000.
- In the U.S., 30.6% of non-Hispanic Whites possess at least a baccalaureate degree, in contrast to only 12.1% of Hispanics and 17.6% of African Americans.
- Nationally, individuals who do not possess a high school diploma earn an average of $18,734 annually, compared with $27,915 for those with a high school diploma and $51,206 for those with a bachelors degree.
- Higher education is a proven pathway out of poverty and yet only 47% of low-income youth who graduate from high school enter a university or college (compared to 85% in the top income quartile), and only 20% complete their degree.
The reasons for these sobering statistics are as obvious as they are plentiful. Poor families lack the income or assets to finance college. Many poor students have even poorer grades due to the challenges public schools face in low-income communities. There’s little to no support in place to help students navigate the complex college application process, few role models for higher education attainment, and a general lack of relatable reasons for students to aspire to an education beyond high school.
Now for Some Good News
Despite the many challenges facing Juma students, they also possess significant assets. They are resilient, positive and show great determination in the pursuit of their goals, continually demonstrating tremendous promise and success when provided with opportunities to excel. That’s why we’re here: to provide these students with the tools and resources they need to overcome barriers, maximize their personal assets, and successfully transition into a life of higher education and greater success.