Every year, the University of San Francisco awards the California Prize to an individual who has put forth a serious effort to aid the underserved and marginalized of society. This year, the prize, which includes a ten-thousand dollar reward and a medal of honor, is being awarded to Daniel Lurie, the CEO and Founder of the organization Tipping Point Community. The non-profit provides both financial support and access to other resources for thirty-two direct service organizations, one-third of which are in the Bay Area. The organizations seek to deal with problems associated with poverty. These organizations work to develop wellness support, housing, education, and employment opportunities.
Tipping Point, created six years ago, was largely inspired by Lurie’s experiences in San Francisco, where he was born and raised. He said, “In an area as wealthy and rich in resources as the bay, the poverty level is unacceptable. Almost one-million people here can’t even meet their basic needs and the region needed an organization like Tipping Point, we needed to inspire people to give to poverty and it’s not an easy thing for people to get their heads around, it’s often intangible.”
What makes Tipping Point different from other organizations committed to fighting poverty is their methodology, only funding organizations that have been deemed to have the greatest positive impact on community. This requires screening hundreds of applicants before selection. An organization may be turned away for not meeting Tipping Point’s standards in the potential amount of positive impact in the community. Tipping Point’s screening process is part of the, as Lurie describes it, “write a check and roll up your sleeves” philosophy, offering legal and technical aid to the groups they help finance although members of Tipping Point frequently go out into the community and work with these organizations first-hand. One-hundred percent of all donations go directly to the organizations Tipping Point sponsors.
“It’s a long-term commitment for us and our donors” Lurie added. Since its formation, Tipping Point has donated approximately $30 million, with $12.6 million being donated in 2011. All monetary donations are sent out within twelve months of their reception.
When asked what the USF’s award meant for Tipping Point, Lurie responded “It means we have a partner in the University. We know that the values of USF are similar to Tipping Point and we’re honored to be in that company; the university’s commitment to service and action is one we can believe in.” Lurie plans to use the money from the California Prize as funding for the organizations the Tipping Point sponsors.
Lurie also advocated for student involvement in Tipping Point. He said, enthusiastically, “We want people to be engaged, they can go to our website and know the organizations there are doing good work. We spend ninety-three hours of due diligence before we do anything with them, these places have been vetted,” referring to the rigorous selection process all applicant organizations go through.
The California Prize Dinner, in which Lurie will be recognized, will be held on USF’s campus on November 1, 2011 with all ticket proceeds benefitting student programs at the University.
To get involved with or learn more about Tipping Point Community, explore the organization’s website: http://www.tippingpoint.org/