Success and confidence converge on Opportunity Junction

Photo courtesy of Brianna Burkman

Shaunette Buchanan is just one of countless county residents who have succeeded through the job placement training at Opportunity Junction.

Opportunity Junction, which served 1,580 low-income Contra Costa County residents last year, has been ranked the top poverty-fighting nonprofit organization serving the U.S. by ImpactMatters.

The 1,081 nonprofits in the rankings were rated on their cost effectiveness or return on investment (ROI). After the impact audit of Opportunity Junction, ImpactMatters concluded a donation of $14,000 increases the earnings of a person living in poverty by $44,000.

Opportunity Junction serves the high-need communities of East Contra Costa County, a region that struggles with suburban poverty and has fewer resources for residents in need than comparable regions. It helps low-income residents get and keep good jobs through comprehensive programs that provide computer and life skills training, wrap-around support, mental health services, professional experience and resources for public assistance.

“We pride ourselves on rigorously evaluating our programs and impact,” said Alissa Friedman, president and CEO. “We don’t sacrifice the human touch, but we also track every element of participation and employment.”

ImpactMatters, a New York organization founded in 2015, understands there are limited resources and an unlimited need. Without the proper data from nonprofits, it can be a challenge for donors to make well-educated decisions as to where they should invest their money. ImpactMatters started measuring the cost-effectiveness of more than 1,080 nonprofits to help donors’ resources go further to help more people around the world. Its Top Ten list of organizations lifting people out of poverty includes several well-known international organizations. Only one other organization serving the U.S. made the list.

Friedman further credits the organization’s ranking on the Top 10 Poverty Fighting Nonprofits in the world to the entire community that supports the work. “We couldn’t succeed without our employers, volunteers, financial supporters, community partners, and, most of all, our hard-working alumni.”

For more information, visit www.opportunityjunction.org.

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