May 27, 2014

DPR Foundation-supported Seven Tepees held their annual fundraiser in San Francisco recently, bringing in $280,000 from more than 150 supporters in attendance. Steve Grandin, DPR’s liaison to Seven Tepees and incoming co-president of the organization’s board of directors, said “it was really exciting to see the generosity of the crowd.” A live auction with professional auctioneer added additional motivation to give.

The fundraiser also showcased a highly articulate eighth grader, Ceci Vigil, who described what the program has meant to her and her family. She led an engaging Q&A with the organization’s founders, Judge Daniel Weinstein and Hully Fetico, about the mission and activities of Seven Tepees.

“Ceci was fabulous,” Grandin said. “Her brother, Jose, was an intern with us last year and is going on to college next year.”

Helping shepherd youth from middle school through high school graduation – and helping them advance to college or career, all while guiding them stay on the right path along the way – are major objectives of the program, Grandin noted. “This organization is really about providing options to our youth. There are 68 participants in our direct program, but we reach out to several high schools and touch well over 1,000 youth through our overall program.”

For the second year, DPR’s San Francisco office will host two summer interns from Seven Tepees. Grandin explained that the internship program is not geared so much to teaching youth about construction, as it is about “familiarizing them with professional work environment.”

“We teach the kids how to shake hands, how to show up on time, how to finish a task once you start it and how to be organized,” he said. “It helps them learn what flies in the real world.”

The numerous hands-on activities sponsored by Seven Tepees can require an intensive time commitment for those most closely involved. Grandin estimated that DPR employees average 400 cumulative hours a year, while he has easily logged more than 100 hours as a board member and vice president of the board this year alone and countless more throughout the past four years.

While it is not always easy to balance volunteer work with the demands of managing projects throughout San Francisco, the personal benefits of volunteering and making a difference with underprivileged youth are well worth it to the employees who dive in, he said.

“It’s really rewarding,” he added. “I love the kids, and we’ve got a phenomenal team that has made a huge impact with these youth.”

Seven Tepees is one of 15 youth organizations nationally awarded a total of $900,000 in grants by the DPR Foundation in December 2013. Over the past six years, the Foundation has awarded more than $3.2 million to 22 different organizations focused on providing community support to grade school and high school-aged children.