Long before the COVID pandemic forced elementary school students to learn online, two childhood best friends and recent college grads decided to harness the Internet to help underserved students with their school work.
Stephen Chen and Neeraj Kapoor founded Learn to Be in 2008 and began connecting kids with free online tutoring.
“We thought it was really, really impactful,” Neeraj said. “And we also knew we were only helping a handful of kids. We knew there were millions of others around the U.S. who needed this support and that there were millions of people like us who could provide the support.”
The organization now serves more than 7,000 students. Kids & Community Partners recently made a five-year, $3.2 million investment to help it continue to scale and connect the millions of in-need students with millions of willing volunteers.
Here’s how it works: A parent or guardian signs up a student via Learn to Be’s online form. The student is then matched with a pre-vetted tutor from Learn to Be’s volunteer pool. The tutor and student then meet regularly via the organization’s virtual classroom.
Learn to Be students see an average test score increase of 15.8 percent and a GPA increase of 1.6.
Since inception, the site has hosted more than 160,000 tutoring sessions.
“We invest in people, plans and processes, in that order,” said Kids & Community VP Chuck Denning. “When we met Neeraj and learned more about the organization and its plans, we knew this was the type of long-runway investment we wanted to make.
“We talk all the time about finding programs that are poised to go from good to great. Learn to Be is on the cusp of having a transformational impact on tens and hundreds of thousands of kids.”