Thoughts from the #BayEdSummit Panel

I was invited to speak on a panel at the Bay Ed Summit, a conference organized by Teach for America Bay Area for educators and current and aspiring leaders in the ed world. I realized how I miss the energy of educators!

The panel’s topic was “Harnessing our Collective Impact: Game-Changing Insights from Social Innovators.” Daniel Lurie, founder of Tipping Point, one of One Degree‘s funders, moderated the panel, and we were joined by Paul Perry, ED of Reset Foundation, Gerald Richards, CEO of 826 National, and Elissa Salas, CEO of College Track.

I spoke about One Degree’s Bay Area expansion into high need areas around the Bay Area (like Contra Costa!) and also our innovative approach to addressing the needs of the whole child. The panel got into policy, measuring impact, and also partnerships.

It was a fun event, and it’s always interesting to see what people pick up and talk about on Twitter (#BayEdSummit). Here are some of tweets and grams that highlight the event.

One Degree’s Reading List – February 2016

We talked about homelessness, education, and transportation at One Degree in February. Check out what we were reading and sharing!

One Degree featured at Super Bowl 50 last month:

SF’s got a problem tracking spending on homeless:

My old boss, Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, talks about BUILD and highlights Herbert, One Degree’s ops & dev associate:

Big changes are coming to Mission District transit (and hopefully for the better!):

There’s something happening in the Tenderloin (Tenderloin Health Improvement Project):

There are people who support the tech sector who feel like ‘second-class citizens’

It’s startling to see that the majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty, and highlights the need for a comprehensive set of services for youth:

Harvard selected Oakland for a new multi-year initiative aimed at developing comprehensive child well-being and education systems that help eliminate the link between children’s socioeconomic status and achievement.

One Degree’s Reading List – January 2016

I’m planning to bring this blog back in some form, and I’m going to try something new. At One Degree, we share interesting news articles on our Slack channel, and I thought it’d be interesting to post the articles that we’ve been sharing.

Here’s what we’ve been sharing and reading at in January:

On being homeless in Santa Clara county, Silicon Valley:

A good listen about tackling poverty and education, and an inspiring way to start the new year:

We got a mention in this Forbes piece from my buddy, Adam Geller:

From article:

“A new view. Today’s technology can be so much more than a system to speed parents’ ability to react to a situation. Instead, districts can choose to promote technologies that more actively involve the parents. Software like ClassDojo provides a way for parents to receive information and communicate with the teacher. And marketplaces like One Degree connect families with needed local resources like after school programs.”

This happened in February, but we also got a mention in this article as well:

This was shared in December, but it’s still pretty interesting:

Lastly, here’s a picture of me “reading” in the Dead Sea because… why not:

Reading Dead Sea

The Year 2015 in Pictures


Started off 2015 with a trip to Big Sur with Sean for my birthday


Then I took a tumble while riding my bike to work at the end of February. Broke my forearm bones and had to be in a sling for a while.


Sean and I went to Australia in March for my cousin Jeff’s wedding.


The extended Faustino Family


Took a couple of videography classes


My sister and her daughters visit SF

Sean and I went to Hawaii for Julie and Andrew’s wedding


Sean’s bday bowling, and then we went to Lazy Bear that night

I photographed Bola and Segun for their wedding


Went to Hawaii for Yuki & Phil’s wedding (yes, Hawaii twice in a year)


Sean and I went to his old stomping grounds in Montreal

Then to Vermont for James and Gaby’s wedding


One Degree launched One Home


We had the One Degree team retreat in the highest building in SF


Sean and I took a trip to LA for our 3 year anniversary and stayed at this amazing hotel


Visited Sean’s family for pre-Christmas

Visited my family in Las Vegas for Christmas

AND the big event! Sean and I got engaged!

The Year 2014 in Pictures


Started off 2014 with a trip to wine country with Sean, Karla and Karla’s mom


We began community outreach, and this is Karla giving a One Degree workshop at MEDA


My TV debut on NBC News for One Degree

Speaking YC Demo Day


Uncle Sean and Griffin

Uncle Sean & nephew Griffin spending some quality time together. Cc @swaughsfo

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on


Our Echoing Green Family in Seattle

#EchoingGreen #Seattle gathering at #OKcopay's world headquarters. #EGfellows2012 love!

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Dani, my former BUILD student, in Seattle


Cousin Celine’s graduation from college

Sean’s birthday trip to Monterey Bay Aquarim

It's #otter time! Happy birthday @swaughsfo

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on


Leela visiting San Francisco with Rachel

Leela's in town!!!! Spending time with my sister and my niece in #SF

A video posted by @reyfaustino on


Rest in Peace, Tita Badette

Remembering Tita Badette. RIP Tita. Love you always.

A video posted by @reyfaustino on


The One Degree team at FFWD demo day

Sean and I biked across the Golden Gate Bridge

Bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge with @swaughsfo

A video posted by @reyfaustino on


Karla, Sean and I watched Pippin, my fav musical

PIPPIN!!! W/ @swaughsfo & @karlitaliliana #PippinSHN

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on


Sean and I took a trip to LA for our 2 year anniversary, and we visited the MOCA

At LA MOCA for #AndyWarhol Shadows exhibit w/ @swaughsfo #reysean

A video posted by @reyfaustino on

Taj Mahal

Made it to the #TajMahal!!! So breathtaking

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on



Visited Sean’s family for Christmas

Pit stop at #Harvard w/ the Waughs on way to airport. Cc @swaughsfo @kelswaugh @hillwaugh

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Leela and Elliot, my little babies

Vegas babies! Hanging out with my niece and nephew

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Faustino Bros wish you a happy new year!

The Year 2013 in Pictures


Starting off 2013 with a trip to wine country.

Winter wine tasting on last day of vacation!

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on


Eating my favorite dish at State Bird Provisions with Grace.

In food heaven with @gcchung at State Bird Provisions. omg the best meal I've ever had in SF!

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on


First trip to the ballet!

First ballet ever at @SFBallet. Rite of Spring was amazing!

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Took a trip to SXSW in Austin and received the SXSW Dewey Winburne Community Service Award.

Honored & humbled to receive the #SXSW Dewey Winburne Award. Dewey was a great man!

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Another trip to wine country, this time to brand new winery, Young Inglewood.


Hiking in Las Vegas with my brother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece.

Hiking Mt Charleston with the siblings. Leela was racing up the hills!

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Romantic dinner at State Bird Provisions.

We finally made it to @StatebirdSF Provisions. Happy Valentine's Make-up, @swaughsfo !

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on


10 year New Orleans reunion with Karla for the College Summit workshop staff training.

A crazy packed Memorial Day weekend in News Orleans French Quarter. @karlitaliliana @dannyprz

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on


Sailing San Francisco Bay.

Underneath the old Bay Bridge.

Sailing underneath the old #BayBridge.

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Underneath the new Bay Bridge.

Sailing underneath the New #BayBridge.

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

We brought One Degree’s first hire, Eric, to the opera for his first week.


Independence Day yoga.

One Degree company trip to Colorado Springs.

Sean and his nieces and nephews in North Brookfield, MA.

Uncle Sean & the nephews & nieces in North Brookfield. Cc @swaughsfo

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Romantic getaway to Provincetown, MA.

Strolling through Provincetown #ptown

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Trip to Toronto, Canada for a wedding.

With @swaughsfo at the Dorn/Duncan-Brown wedding in #Toronto. #reysean

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on

Biking through Toronto.


AG’s birthday.

@adrigarcia at #AGbday with rey #bday

A photo posted by @reyfaustino on


Our intern’s last day of her internship.

Best opera I’ve seen so far: Mefistofeles.


New One Degree offices at Say Media!

Our one year anniversary!

Thanksgiving with the siblings.

Echoing Green All Fellows Conference in DC. Unwinding with the fellows.

Yuki & Phil’s wedding day!

Best birthday ever at State Bird Provisions — yes, that’s 3 times this year.

First Christmas in our new home.

I was evicted! Here’s how you can help

folsom st

This entrepreneurial life is like a roller coaster. After some great highs this summer, I recently hit a low.

After a year of living in my charming home in the Mission District, someone bought our building and is moving in — effectively kicking me and my roommates out. Since my current home is rent controlled, it has worked perfectly for my startup budget. I literally cannot afford anything more than the rent I’m paying now. Devastated, I’ve been holding onto this news for about two weeks because I quite frankly am scared about the implications of finding a new place to live.

Have you been on the Craigslist SF Housing/Rental section lately? It’s a scary, gentrifying world out there. San Francisco, I want to love you and live with you so bad, but you’re making it so hard.


I have about a month left in my home — until October 15. And here’s where I turn to you, my friends, and ask you for your support.

  1. Do you have a friend who is looking to fill an empty room in their SF home? Please let me know about them! I got my place now because of a referral from a dear friend.
  2. Can you recommend a good tenant lawyer for me? My roommates have been to the Tenants Union, and by now we’re experts at eviction laws and relocation fees, but I need professional help at this point.
  3. Do you have some space or a garage where I could possibly store a few boxes while I’m in between homes?

Thanks to my loved ones (especially Sean, my bf) and friends who’ve already shown a huge outpouring of love during this stressful time period. Your support means the world to me.

Social Sector 2.0

This post was originally featured in the Huffington Post on April 1, 2013.

In the late 90’s, I had a friend named Natasha who knew all of the hippest restaurants and the coolest bars. Natasha was the archetypical maven, an expert in the tasteful social scene. Everyone knew you could go to her to get a recommendation for an exquisite date night spot.


Back a decade or two ago, we had Natashas for everything, like travel, dentists and contractors. We relied on experts — those men and women with critical knowledge about specific and narrow subjects — to lead us and guide us. They typically were the ones who had been there before; they navigated the system so we didn’t have to or because we couldn’t. But back then we also didn’t have widespread broadband internet access. No smartphone ubiquity. No “big data.”


As we have advanced technologically, we also evolved the way we think about our Natashas, our experts. We needed Natashas in a small town context, when people were concentrated within communities and people identified with each other geographically. Our concept of community has changed. Over the last two decades, technology, democratized information, and crowdsourced data has liberated that paradigm. The way we conceptualize our own “community” is no longer confined to our geographical location.


Rather than turning to experts, we turn to Yelp to find a date night spot, and we turn to Wikipedia for the right answer. The power dynamic has shifted, and everyone (with an internet connection) now has the tools to get the information they need because of the onslaught of data. You can be your own expert.


However, the social sector seems to be stuck in the internet dark age, 1.0. We still ascribe to the expert power dynamic — where a select few people hold the cards and the keys to the information — particularly when it comes to serving people in low-income communities.


The Social Sector Also Needs to Evolve

We have a good problem on our hands. In some cities across the country, we have an overwhelming abundance of services for low-income families.


But why can’t everyone be the expert of these community resources? Navigating the social safety net is notoriously difficult even for professionals like social workers, counselors and case managers. How can we expect people to do this on their own when the current system isn’t even easy or accessible for the professionals?


We launched One Degree to shift this paradigm. One Degree is a nonprofit tech company that is building a Yelp-like platform for nonprofit and social services, so that anyone can easily search for critical life-saving services.


Consider the story of a grandmother who used the One Degree service last fall. She had been caring for her small grandchildren because her daughter struggled with addiction. After losing custody of her grandchildren to Child Protective Services and finding out she was diagnosed with cancer (treatment for which she was unable to afford), her life was veritably in pieces. She didn’t know where to turn to start finding help.


By using One Degree, she was able to connect to an affordable health plan — a small, yet important step that empowered her. Subsequently, using One Degree, she was connected to counsel to begin the process of reuniting her family. Before accessing One Degree, she did not know where to go to find information about these critical resources.


How to Upgrade to Social Sector 2.0

The One Degree prototype is just the first step of many that are required to get to Social Sector 2.0 and to truly change the power dynamic in the social sector. It’s our first step to make it easy and accessible for people to find and access services. It’s not enough that we are providing services for low-income families anymore. Families should be able to navigate and share their voice in how these services are run.


We imagine a time when people can be their own experts in their own community and experts in what the community has to offer them. And to get to this vision of Social Sector 2.0, we need to join the digital age. We need to streamline data and information about our services. We need to create data systems that work with and talk to other organization’s systems. We need to figure out timely and effective ways to cooperate with fellow social services because families need a lot more than what one organization can provide. And most importantly we need to let go of the antiquated notion that we who work in the social sector know more than the people we serve. That time is quickly coming to an end, and we need to embrace it, evolve, and serve people in the new ways they need to be served.


The social sector has a huge opportunity right now to dramatically improve and shift the way we fight poverty in this country — a way that is inclusive of the people and voices in low-income communities and tears down barriers rather than erects new ones. We can make this happen, and in fact the shift to Social Sector 2.0 has already started.

The Empathy Gap

This article is cross-posted in the Huffington Post.

“People don’t have the right to be in poverty in America,” an acquaintance told me. He continued, “If people aren’t accessing the wealth of resources that America has, that’s their fault. Why are you working with poor people?”

I’ll never forget those words from a well-meaning man from a middle-class immigrant family. Working with families from low-income communities across the country, I have seen people from all walks of life who share the same line of thinking:

· “Can’t poor people just get better paying jobs?”

· “Aren’t they all just taking advantage of the welfare system?”

· “Why don’t they just use the hundreds of social service programs that are available to them?”

I know my relatives, neighbors, and colleagues mean well and don’t live in the social sector bubble that I do. When survival isn’t the biggest concern in your life, it is easy to judge a person who doesn’t take advantage of all that is perceived to be out there.

The Misperception of the Rags-to-Riches Story

America’s guiding narrative is that if you try hard enough, you can rise above the barriers that are presented to you, even barriers like poverty. The rags-to-riches story is a truly American ideal.

We revere Horatio Alger-style rags-to-riches stories because we want to believe they’re true. If we work hard enough, perhaps we will be rewarded as well? Who wouldn’t want to believe that?

The narrative so engrained in the American psyche that we now also believe a parallel and more dangerous narrative: you must not be working hard enough if you are poor.

But that’s too easy. It’s too easy to say that social mobility, the ability to take the path out of poverty, is solely and directly tied to the individual.

The invisible stepping-stones used by the middle class are taken for granted. These stepping-stones are critical advantages — a quality education, transportation, moderately safe neighborhood, and connections to people in a larger community. Think about the first time someone connected you to a valuable resource when you were a child. She may have been a teacher who encouraged you to join the band. He might have been your uncle who drove you to your SAT test. It may have been a conversation with a neighbor that led you to apply for an internship. These small, yet critical advantages accumulate throughout the lives of middle class people and add up to better opportunities.

Our Social Safety Net is an Uncoordinated Mess

I want you to imagine that you need to buy a car because yours broke down on the side of the road. At the same time, you’ve gotten into a fight with your partner, your debit card was stolen, and your boss handed you a tall stack of work. Well, the car has to be top of mind in addition to all of these other issues. For many, while necessary, buying the car just doesn’t feel like an option this week. Too stressful.

Now I want you to imagine instead of buying a car, you are faced with problems like hunger, two part-time jobs that do not cover rent, and violence on the street. Survival is at the top of mind. And while there are literally hundreds of thousands of nonprofit services that support low-income families, this social safety net is confusing and difficult to navigate. The counselors, social workers and teachers who are there to help are inundated with an impossible caseload. The only access to those places is often through word of mouth.

In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, there are over 1,300 nonprofits, as listed in our web database at One Degree. Yet every day mothers spend countless hours researching, traveling to, and going through a painstaking in-take process. They work with up to a dozen different nonprofit organizations — food pantries, health clinics, afterschool programs, shelters — to ensure their families survive through the month. This nonprofit shuffle is like having a part-time job just to access critical, life-saving services.

The truth is that the average low-income family is working hard. Incredibly hard.

It’s too easy to blame it on lack of effort. It is too easy to point to the examples of self-medication in these communities. Are we so willing to give up on and demonize each other? Doing so is an easy way for us in the middle class to assuage ourselves from guilt, but in order to fight poverty, we have to do more.

Remain Curious

I have a simple ask for you for the new year. It is the same ask I gave my friend who said, “People don’t have the right to be in poverty in America.” Stop and reflect on the invisible stepping-stones that led you to success today. How many different people contributed to your current stability? This is not a game of who’s been more wronged by society. It is humans living in a very imperfectly structured world learning how to see each other as humans.

Don’t settle for the easy answer, and ask the difficult questions, like:

· What can we do as a society to lift everyone into the middle class?

· What is that “other” person going through?

· Why do I value their struggle so much less than my own?

Remain curious and have empathy. When we create artificial social boundaries, all we do is dehumanize people who live in low-income communities. Instead ask, “What part do I want to play?” and find a way to make a difference.

The Year 2012 in Pictures