Nearly 80 percent of all Americans will struggle to meet their basic needs at some point in their life. Getting help is simply too hard for too many people. That’s why One Degree exists: to make it easier for anyone to get help, in a moment of crisis or to achieve economic mobility.
Our Values: Communities Have Agency
We believe that low-income individuals and under-resourced communities have agency. While basic needs such as food, shelter, employment, and child care do not always exist in abundance in every community, too often the resources that do exist are simply too hard to find or too difficult to access. Getting people to the resources they need is an important – perhaps the most important – step in helping people improve their lives.
One Degree is helping people get to the help and support they need. Not everyone can do it on their own. We believe that at some point, in all of our lives, we need someone to support us. We support One Degree members when they need it most. Read some of their stories, learn about our approach, and learn about our impact below.
Our Outcomes: THE VALUE OF Help
Every resource that an individual finds on One Degree has value. For some truly intangible and invaluable services, such as a domestic violence hotline, no monetary amount could reflect the value of the resource. But in most cases, the programs, services, and benefits to which we help connect our members, there is a clear and specific financial savings. One Degree primarily serves low-income individuals, which means that basic needs and so much more is out of reach because of an inability to afford them. By connecting individuals with free, low-cost, and sliding scale resources we are helping people deal with very real budget constraints.
By estimating the market value of each type of resource we serve on our platform, we can estimate the total value of the resources which members report they found on One Degree and which they went on to utilize. For example, one of the lowest-cost ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at a for-profit institution in Los Angeles County has a one-time fee of $259 plus a $35 registration fee, nearly $300 total. Instead, we serve up ESL classes that are mostly free. In another example, hiring a lawyer to help with an eviction might cost at least 15 hours at a rate of upwards of $300 per hour – $4,500. Instead, we connect individuals with free eviction legal assistance, which would otherwise be entirely out of reach. Since we started tracking this outcome metric in 2017, One Degree members have utilized over $17 million in resources that they found on our platform.
monetary value of resources utilized by One Degree members
as of June 2019
Take the case of Shannon, a One Degree member who was looking for a summer camp for her son. The average weekly cost of a day camp is $314, according to the American Camp Association. This would mean that to send her son to just 4 weeks of camp, Shannon would need to find at least $1,256, which was simply not realistic on her income. She was able to find summer camps on One Degree, many of which last for the entire summer – totaling a value of $3,768 – all for free or at an extremely affordable cost.
average amount saved by a member who utilizes resources they found on One Degree
as of June 2019
So many other resources have no clear estimated value. (What is the value of sex education? What are foster parenting resources worth?) Yet, we believe estimating the monetary value wherever possible demonstrates real outcomes and is an important indicator of our impact on low-income and marginalized individuals.
IMPACT AT SCALE: By the Numbers
One Degree Members
Over 500,000 people have used the One Degree platform to find and utilize resources since 2014. Not every person who finds resources on One Degree becomes a member – we allow anyone to access community resource information without an account – but over 21,000 people have become members. Learn more about our community of members.
Technology alone cannot solve all the complexities of persistent inequality, but getting people the right resources is the first, crucial step in empowering people to build a path out of poverty. Our data show – and our members’ stories illustrate – that by helping individuals find and utilize social services and community resources, they are able to address their needs to improve their lives.
One Degree Member Stories
Read and listen to just some of the thousands of members who have been able to improve their lives through One Degree. Browse all the stories here.