"We're done with school and want to start a business," four Palo Alto teens declared in 1999, words that first inspired BUILD's founder, who agreed to help these young entrepreneurs – on the condition that they finish high school. Now in five locations across the country, including the District of Columbia where 205 students participate annually, BUILD runs a comprehensive, four-year business and academic program that immerses students in entrepreneurship training, teaches critical thinking and problem solving, and propels students through high school and toward college. Recruiting disadvantaged and, importantly, disengaged youngsters, BUILD begins in 9th grade with a credit-bearing course at six DC schools and shifts to an out-of-school program for the remaining years. Students craft business plans, make pitches for venture capital, build a small business, and ultimately "cash out;" in the fourth year, they focus intensively on post-secondary readiness. The profit is clear: 90% of BUILD students go on to college compared to 8% of their low-income peers. Your investment builds much more than businesses; it builds futures.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 1

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8; Ballou High School ; Cardozo Education Campus; Columbia Heights Education Campus; Eastern Senior High School; Friendship Collegiate Academy; Roosevelt Senior High School; Roosevelt STAY High School; Maya Angelou Public Charter School; The SEED School of Washington, D.C.

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Latino/Hispanic; Native American

Population(s) Served: Men/Boys; Women/Girls; Students; ; Gays/Lesbians; Low- to Moderate-Income

Schools They Work In: Ballou High School ; Cardozo Education Campus; Columbia Heights Education Campus; Eastern Senior High School; Friendship Collegiate Academy; Roosevelt Senior High School; Roosevelt STAY High School; Maya Angelou Public Charter School; The SEED School of Washington, D.C.


  • Students served this school year:   300
  • Seniors who graduated high school and enrolled in college in 2013:   100%
  • Juniors who broke even and made a profit in their businesses prior to closeout:   75%
  • Mentor retention rate into next school year:   90%
  • Ninth grade credentialed teacher retention rate:   100%

Awards & Recognition

Economic Club of Washington 25th Anniversary Award, 2012.
Morrison & Foerster LLP 25th Anniversary Award, 2012.
United Way of the National Capital Area Member, 2013.
Combined Federal Campaign Member, 2013.
Federal Communication BAR Association Annual Charity Auction Recipient, 2014.
Office of the State Superintendent 21st Century Learning Center, 2014
DC Mayor's City Fund Recipient, 2015

Press

Budget (FY2012)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • The current budget for BUILD Metro DC is: Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $34 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy looks to friends like you to keep our services independent and entirely free of charge. Consider a small contribution to the Catalogue to cap off your gift and help the causes you care about get the full support they deserve!

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