Businesses United in Investing Lending and Development (BUILD) (Boston, MA)


  • Name:Will Leitch
  • Title:Grants and Communications Manager

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Businesses United in Investing Lending and Development (BUILD)
  • Address:6 Beacon Street
    Suite 415
    Boston, MA 02108
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:5085210753
  • Main fax:617.248.0320

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • BUILD's mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel low-income, disengaged students through high school to college success. BUILD-Greater Boston is partnered with some of Boston's most in-need schools, whose graduation rates were as low as 34% when we launched in 2011. Unlike most college-success programs which seek high-performing students, BUILD targets the students who are at greatest risk of dropping out; and through high expectations and high support, our students graduate at a ninety-nine percent rate. By empowering youth with financial literacy, math, writing, and analytical skills, they are able to not only create their own businesses, but use these real-world applications to connect business to academics. Entrepreneurship is the hook- but college is the goal.

  • Overview:
  • BUILD is a 4-year in-school and after-school program that uses entrepreneurship to inspire disengaged students and help them make the connection between high school success and an adult life of their choosing, rather than one that they settle for.

    The four-year program is outlined below:

    Entrepreneurs 1 (E1) – Freshman Year:
    Students build their own businesses and gain exposure to college life. At each partner school, freshmen enroll in a credited, in-school, “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” class. The instructor is a certified teacher from the school selected jointly by BUILD staff and the school’s administration through a rigorous selection process. This teacher receives an annual stipend of $10,000 and goes through intensive training in the BUILD model. With the help of volunteer mentors from the Boston business community, students work in teams and:

    • Learn the fundamentals of business
    • Develop ideas for a marketable product
    • Develop a 20-30 page business plan, including projections for revenues, expenses and profit/loss
    • Tour at least one college to experience what a college campus is like

    To prepare 9th graders for post-secondary success, the learning standards that the ninth-grade curriculum emphasizes most are collaboration, oral communication, business literacy, and financial literacy. The year culminates with the annual Youth Business Plan Competition (BPC), which last year was held at Northeastern University with Mayor Menino as our keynote speaker. Student teams present their business plans to a panel of judges from the Boston business community, in front of an audience of hundreds.

    Entrepreneurs 2 (E2) – Sophomore Year:
    Students run their own businesses and improve their academics. BUILD shifts to an afterschool program at our Youth Business Incubator, where students meet for up to six hours per week for the entire academic year to work on their businesses while improving their academic skills. The Incubator gives students a sense of belonging, a safe space away from home, and a “corporate feel” – which fosters a feeling of pride and professionalism. Our Youth Business Incubator is the first of its kind in Boston, housing 18 student-run businesses!

    With ongoing help from their mentors and our full-time Business Program Manager, students pitch their business plans to Venture Capital Advisors, raising $500-$1,000 in seed funding to launch their enterprises. Each team obtains its own bank account and business license. Students sell their products and they learn to record sales, revenues, cost of goods sold, profit/loss and return on investment. They also learn the basics of negotiation, marketing and business ethics.

    BUILD’s full-time College Access Program Manager works with students to develop three-year plans for classes and grades that ensure college eligibility, while tutors and mentors continue to promote academic improvement. Students participate in college tours including overnight trips to out-of-town campuses. The tenth grade curriculum particularly cultivates students’ executive functioning skills including memory strategies, time management, research, and note-taking skills.

    Entrepreneurs 3 (E3) – Junior Year: Students prepare for college.
    In their junior year, students continue coming to the Youth Business Incubator and continue selling their products at BUILD events and at other sales opportunities. However, BUILD’s third year focuses more on fulfilling students’ academic goals so they are prepared to succeed in college. Specifically, students define how their entrepreneurial experiences will help them in college and their careers, prepare for and take the SAT and/or ACT exams, and attend college tours both locally and outside of Massachusetts to experience campus life. All of these activities develop students’ test-taking, studying and goal-setting abilities.

    Entrepreneurs 4 (E4) – Senior Year: Students apply for and select a college.
    During senior year, students close their businesses and focus on the goal of earning acceptance to a college, with the guidance of our full-time College Advisor. Students receive assistance with selecting the right colleges, filling out college applications, and applying for financial aid. The College Advisor also focuses on cultivating students’ college readiness skills, such as written communication, prioritization, self-management, resiliency and personal capital.

  • History:
  • BUILD (Businesses United in Investing Lending and Development) was founded in East Palo Alto, California in 1999 by Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, a graduate of Stanford Law School. Suzanne was offering business start-up classes in the evenings to adult entrepreneurs in East Palo Alto when four high school students walked in and said, “Lady, we’re done with school and want to start a business. We were told you’re someone who can help us.” Suzanne said she would help them start a business on one condition: they had to work hard and stay in school. Suzanne found that by empowering disengaged students to start their own businesses — and having them commit to academics — they could build the self-esteem and skills necessary to become successful adults and community leaders. When Suzanne taught those four high school students basic entrepreneurship and located investors to help incorporate their t-shirt and sweatshirt company, BUILD was born.

    Today, BUILD serves 1,200 students nationally, with 175 of them in Boston. For the 2014-15 school year, we will expand to serve 250 students in Boston. An investment from the Lawrence Foundation will help us accomplish this ambitious goal.

  • Year established:1999
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:11
  • Advisory board size:15
  • Staff size:56


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:94-3386695

Other Organization Web

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:943386695
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:% ANGELINA JAUREZ
  • Organization Address:PO BOX 3316
  • Organization City:REDWOOD CITY
  • Organization State:CA
  • Organization Zip:94064-3316
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:August, 2001
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:June, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:June
  • NTEE Code:S40
  • Asset Amount:$5,546,301
  • Asset Code:7 ($5,000,000 - $9,999,999)
  • Income Amount:$13,304,632
  • Income Code:8 ($10,000,000 - $49,999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$11,934,505
  • Last Updated:3/21/2018 6:58:25 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.