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Inspirational to the Students They Mentor


The Rogers Family Foundation seeks to transform the educational experience of Oakland’s students, and a key strategy is to ensure students are proficient in reading by the end of the third grade. The foundation has chosen to support the Public Service Center and BUILD (Berkeley United in Literacy Development) because, as Brian Rogers, the foundation’s CEO, has noted, the BUILD model is “consistent, reliable, accountable, and effective.” BUILD mentors work one-to-one, twice a week, with the same student for at least a semester, and sometimes for more than a year. The Rogers Family Foundation supports UC Berkeley students to receive pay through Work-Study for their mentoring time. “Being a Cal alumnus, I take great pride in the spirit and intellectual capacity of some of the brightest students in the world. It is truly valuable that the Cal students are able to connect with elementary school students who have similar experiences and come from similar neighborhoods. The BUILD participants are more than mentors, they are role models and inspirational to the students they tutor.”

Brian’s appreciation of literacy mentoring grew out of his observations in high school and college. He noticed the different opportunities his friends had when it came to accessing a high-quality education. These observations inspired him to teach high school English and English as a Second Language in Oakland schools. Brian always knew he wanted to give back to his hometown and chose to focus his foundation’s work on providing high-quality education to all of Oakland’s children. “I’ve been put in a fortunate position in my life where I can support the work of BUILD. The true heroes are the Public Service Center staff and students who are providing mentorship to students who desperately need it.”

Brian Rogers, Class of 1995, B.S. in Business Administration, Chief Executive Officer of the Rogers Family Foundation, Hometown: Oakland
(Photo: BUILD mentor Karla De La Torre, photo courtesy of Reading Partners)