Class of 2024 High School Seniors: Activate your OP Scholarship Portal today! Guardians of K-7th graders: Please activate your Oakland Promise Scholarship account here, which can grow to $500+ when they're ready to go to a college, career technical education (CTE) or certificate program!

Join Our Movement to Empower Oakland Youth

To Fulfill their College and Career Dreams

Children’s Initiative – Request for Proposals

Oakland Promise is pleased to share that the request for proposal (RFP) application period is now open for funding through the Oakland Children’s Initiative.

Our goal is to award $3 million to community partners to deepen our investment in children and support them from early childhood through college graduation. The distribution of funds from the Children’s Initiative aims to supplement and build upon existing programs that support college opportunity, access, and success. 

Applications are available and will be accepted beginning January 30 and will remain open until March 8, 2024. For more information and to apply, please visit this link.

We hosted our RFP Information Session on Thursday, February 8, from 1-2 pm. You can watch the recording here. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please see this document here

For any questions related to the RFP submission process, the Project or individual programming scope of work, please contact [email protected] between January 30th, 2024 and February 16, 2024.



A group of 9 young Oakland Promise parents & their children giving thumbs up to the camera at a community event

News: $500 Seed Money Boosts Parents’ College Goals for Kids

Randomized study finds Oakland Promise Child Savings Accounts plus financial coaching for caregivers fuel college aspirations among Medi-Cal eligible families.


OAKLAND, CA – Families who are eligible for Medi-Cal and receive seed funding for a college fund for their newborns are healthier, less stressed, and more likely to aspire to education and college for their child at 18 months, according to the first study to assess the impact of integrating a 529 college fund program and financial coaching with a medical home.

The Brilliant Baby program, part of Oakland Promise – a nonprofit organization that aims to advance economic and educational mobility through cradle-to-career services – seeds $500 college funds for Medi-Cal-eligible babies, provides families with financial coaching free of charge and offers educational programming for caregivers. 

In a randomized controlled trial co-led by NORC at the University of Chicago and UCSF Benioff Children’s, researchers found a positive effect on parents’ hopes and educational aspirations for their child in families with infants who received college savings accounts, as well as improved health and lower stress among the caregivers. In those families who received personalized financial coaching, the program also improved caregivers’ perceptions of financial well-being and led to greater participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). 

Nationwide, in concert with scholarships and grants available to college students, Child Savings Accounts (CSAs) have become a cornerstone for preparing young children and their families with expectations and resources to complete the post-secondary education needed to secure job and career opportunities. 

“This research supports implications for wider impact at the state and national levels,” says Sandra Ernst, CEO of Oakland Promise. “With the mission of creating equity, CSAs are getting more attention and investment, such as with the new CalKIDS College Savings program in California, to help college become a reality for all children.” Read the full report HERE.

Our Programs

Prior to the inception of OP, fewer than 500 Oakland public school 12th graders graduated from a 2 or 4-year college within 6 years of high school graduation each year. Our programs provide cradle-to-college and career preparation in the form of financial, advisory and resource support to youth of all ages.

We start with our youngest people and through the age continuum to ensure all students have an equitable opportunity to enter and complete college and prepare them for the career of their choice.

Here’s How Oakland Promise Supports Young People to Finish Post-Secondary Education

Over 79% of Oakland Promise funding goes directly to the young people and families in Oakland. Since the founding of Oakland Promise in 2016, here are some highlights:


Families of infants and kindergartners set up a 529 college savings account (CSA) for their child, seeded with funds from Oakland Promise.

25,000 students.

Elementary school students have a $100 Kindergarten to College (K2C) Early College Scholarship Fund.


Middle and High school students receive targeted college and career readiness supports.


Students receive $17 million in OP scholarships and persistence supports. Over 1,300 Scholars were paired with a Mentor. 88% of OP Scholars persisted from first year to second year of college.

Donate Now OP 2021 Fiscal Yr IRS Form 990 OP 2020 Fiscal Yr IRS Form 990

Stories of Our Impact

  • Awards Ceremony 2022

    Enjoy highlights from our 2022 Awards Ceremony, which celebrated our graduating Oakland Promise Seniors (730 Scholars) as they embarked on their journey to and through college with the Oakland Promise scholarship!

  • Welcome Mentors 2022

    We are so excited to have you be a part of an Oakland Scholar's journey in higher education! Here's some advice from a few scholars and mentors.

  • A Mentor and Mentee Talk about Their Mentoring Experience at Oakland Promise

    Mentor James Vossoughi and OP Scholar and college student John Liang discuss their mentoring relationship.

  • Oakland Promise’s Portfolio of Scholarships and Programs

    Learn all about the scholarships, college savings accounts, and resources Oakland Promise programs provide for Oakland's young people.

  • OP’s Documentary on our Work Supporting Oakland’s Young People

    This 15 minute documentary shares the impact of our work on empowering Oakland's babies, students and scholars throughout their educational journey.

  • OP Supports Oakland’s Young People from Ages 0 – 25

    Learn about how we empower Oakland's babies and scholars from cradle to career.

  • Kamala Harris, VP of USA Shares About the Work of Oakland Promise


  • Our Participants From 4 Programs Talk About OP as “The Family We Grow With”

    Oakland Promise students, families, partners, and leaders share the impact of Oakland Promise on their lives. Hear from the family we grow with!

  • Stories Shared by OP Program Participants

    Commentary by parents, educators, students and alumni

  • OP Volunteers Speak on the Joys of Being Mentors

    Three of our mentors share their experiences.

  • Our Partners Speak on Partnering with OP

    Leaders from Harlem Children's Zone, Oakland NAACP & #OaklandUndivided share their perspectives.

We Have Some Excellent Partners and Donors

Here are just a few of them

Find Out How To Get Involved

We need mentors, volunteers, donors, champions and partners to help us to create more impact for Oakland’s youth. Please note that the mentor recruitment season is open for the 2022 - 2023 academic year. You can make a difference in a young person's life!

I am impressed by the bold and comprehensive approach of the Oakland Promise which has pulled together best practices from around the country. As former US Secretary of Education, I've seen many initiatives across the country ---- Oakland Promise is one of the most strategic and effective and has the potential to be a national model... it leverages private philanthropy for public dollars and has already achieved outstanding results. OP changes the trajectory of our Oakland students from the time they are born, through the time they graduate from college and enter the workforce. Oakland Promise is truly a game changer for Oakland and its future generations.”

Arne Duncan

Former Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama (2009-2015)