In This Episode:

Silicon Valley’s wealth disparity is stark, with a top 10% earning $398,000 versus a bottom 20% at less than $35,000. Despite high median incomes, over 7,000 face homelessness, and educational divides are evident, as seen in reading levels between East Palo Alto and Palo Alto students.

Poverty and Inequality Problems Of Silicon Valley

  • Widening Income Gap: A vast income disparity exists: the top 10% earn an average of $398,000, while the bottom 20% earn under $35,000, highlighting extreme wealth differences in a wealthy area.
  • Housing Insecurity: Despite a $120,000 median income, Silicon Valley’s housing crisis leaves over 7,000 homeless nightly, underscoring severe affordability and displacement issues.
  • Educational Achievement Gap: In East Palo Alto, only 25% of third graders read at grade level, compared to 75% in wealthier Palo Alto, highlighting sharp educational inequalities tied to wealth.

"The Karat School Project embodies the bridge between my past experiences and the future I dream of for others. It's not just about education—it's about igniting the hope I once needed."

About Evelyne Keomian:

Evelyne Keomian’s Karat School Project (KSP) aims to combat poverty by educating those in need. Locally, in the Bay Area, KSP aids individuals facing housing insecurity, including those in RVs and transient situations. Internationally, in Cote d’Ivoire, KSP focuses on rescuing children from labor, early marriage, and trafficking, prioritizing girls’ education and training mothers to enhance their livelihoods. With a global impact, KSP has positively affected over 30,000 lives locally and worldwide.

"In every child that dares to dream beyond the encampment or RV they call home, we see the power of education and community to redefine the skyline of possibility."

Show Notes:

  • Introduction to Evelyne Keomian and the Karat School Project: Dee Dee Kiesow introduces Evelyne Keomian, founder and executive director of the Karat School Project, which aims to use education to break the cycle of poverty in both the Bay Area and West Africa. 
  • Origins of the Karat School Project: Evelyne shares her journey and motivation for starting KSP, emphasizing the importance of education and community support in breaking the cycle of poverty. 
  • KSP’s Role in Silicon Valley: The conversation shifts to how KSP advocates for housing security and educational equity, focusing on the needs of children and families living in transient situations. 
  • Challenges in Operating a Nonprofit in Silicon Valley: Evelyne discusses the unique challenges faced by KSP in Silicon Valley, including community misconceptions and the importance of a personalized approach to philanthropy. 
  • Impact and Outreach: Details on the scope of KSP’s impact, including the number of families served and the organization’s hands-on approach to tracking and supporting the growth of children and families. 
  • Funding and Sustainability: Strategies for ensuring KSP’s financial sustainability, emphasizing the importance of community investment and the startup culture within the nonprofit sector. 
  • Combating Child Labor and Trafficking: Evelyne highlights KSP’s efforts in West Africa to rescue children from labor and trafficking, focusing on education as a sustainable solution. 
  • Cultural Challenges and Building Allyship: The conversation explores the resistance to educating girls and mothers in specific communities and how KSP works to build allyship and inclusion. 
  • Leveraging Tech for Education: Evelyne discusses how KSP utilizes technology to enhance education and training, especially in remote and underprivileged areas. 
  • Community Building and Success Stories: The episode wraps up with inspiring success stories from KSP’s work and a call to action for individuals and organizations in Silicon Valley to support their mission.

"Our classrooms go beyond four walls; they reach the heart of human resilience, turning survival into success stories. Each book we give, each lesson we teach, is a seed for a better tomorrow."

Connect with The Karat School Project

If you would like to learn more or contribute to the mission of this organization, please contact:

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"Evelyne transforms lives from Ivory Coast to Silicon Valley, crafting futures through education, one child at a time."

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