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February 5, 2021


Chabot College today officially opened a SparkPoint center, the newest in the United Way Bay Area (UWBA) network of locations designed to serve students and other members of the community who are struggling financially. SparkPoint is a proven model that provides free, integrated services to help end the cycle of poverty. Working one-on-one, coaches help people take control of their finances in three key areas: increasing income, managing credit and building assets. Most SparkPoint centers also provide services that meet clients’ basic needs such as food and rental assistance.

“Chabot College is building on its long legacy of holistically partnering with our students and community through the development of this new SparkPoint program,” says Chabot College President Dr. Susan Sperling. “It engages students and families where they are, and supports their financial, educational, career and personal development needs and interests. SparkPoint Chabot embraces our community with access to higher education and the resources needed, including coaching on how to reach their goals while supporting their families along the way.”

SparkPoint Chabot also is partnering with the Black Excellence Collective 10×10 Taskforce, which enlisted more than 100 volunteers from the campus community to support the approximately 2,000 Black students at Chabot College. The students will be divided into 10 Villages, each with at least 10 volunteers who will work as a team to connect and refer students to services and resources at Chabot, including those offered by the new SparkPoint center.

“Expanding effective programs like SparkPoint is more important than ever before as we rebuild a better future for the Bay Area,” said Kevin Zwick, CEO of UWBA. “We need innovative thinking and strong collaboration between the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to drive real change and build more equitable and resilient communities that can better weather inevitable future crises.”

Since United Way Bay Area opened the first SparkPoint center in 2009, the program has expanded to more than 20 locations across the Bay Area and has served more than 28,000 residents. SparkPoint operates on the premise that everyone deserves prosperity. Coaches strive to help every client to:

  • Earn a self-sufficient income
  • Maintain a credit score above 700
  • Have no revolving debt
  • Build enough savings to cover three months of living expenses


“Family security and prosperity are two main reasons our students come to Chabot College,” said Chabot College Vice President Matthew Kritscher. “Partnership with United Way Bay Area SparkPoint provides the opportunity to expand our services to not just our students, but our community as well. Financial independence is gained through planning, success in school and on the job, and having the tools to manage finances. Chabot College SparkPoint is now geared up to provide those tools.”


About United Way Bay Area


United Way Bay Area (UWBA) fights for financial stability and equal opportunity for residents in eight Bay Area counties. UWBA takes an innovative, holistic approach to ending the cycle of poverty through advocacy and programs that support all ages—providing free access to family support, financial and career coaching, job opportunities and basic needs. www.uwba.org