Thank you for your desire to give motivated, altruistic low-income students the chance to change their lives! There are lots of ways to get involved and support our mission!


Do you want to …?


Join IN

Volunteer your time and expertise to support our students and alumni:

  • Attend and bring your friends and family to our Spring and Fall Student Events: these are early evening dinners and gatherings of all Summer Search students (and their parents or guardians). As well as being an important opportunity to welcome new sophomores and celebrate student achievements, our students benefit enormously from the chance to mingle informally and share their stories with new people.
  • Help lead a “break in your boots” hike for new sophomores.

  • Most sophomores spend their first summer on a challenging wilderness program, so physical preparation is key. Cheer on our sophomores at their mandatory spring 3-mile run—or help them to train as a jogging buddy!

  • Help connect us to and/or join in community service opportunities for Summer Search students and alumni.

  • Volunteer as an academic tutor for high school students and alumni.

  • Offer paid internships for Summer Search alumni at your company or organization, to help them become first-generation professionals.

  • Let us know about good job or fellowship opportunities in your field—we’ll pass them on to Summer Search alumni.

  • Join our Career Advisory Network. As a CAN advisor you could conduct up to three informational conversations with Summer Search alumni each year, to help them explore a career in your field or just learn the “soft” skills they need for professional success. You’ll also have the opportunity to share your expertise with alumni at resume-writing and career development workshops and panel discussions each year.

  • Help us distribute outdoor clothing and gear to our sophomores. Every year we choose a day in the spring to set up students with the equipment they need for their summer trips.

  • Connect Summer Search high school students to part-time after school jobs.

  • Lead a workshop for our student ambassadors on a topic of your choice. The Summer Search High School Ambassadors are a group of students who are particularly active in Summer Search and in their communities. We like to provide extra leadership tools (for example, public speaking tips, blogging 101, or a basic etiquette guide) to this group at their monthly meetings.

  • Offer job shadowing opportunities for Summer Search juniors and seniors by participating in our annual Career Discovery Days.

  • Come into the office to help sophomores and juniors fill out their summer program application forms. We set up a couple of application workshops in the spring and could really use your help.


Spend a few minutes on the phone or on email to debrief any events you’ve attended, or tell us what you think about our electronic and print materials.

Give an IN-Kind Gift

  • Ask friends and family to make donations to Summer Search in your name rather than buying you holiday or birthday presents.

    Donate your airline miles and hotel reward points to help us save on student (and staff) travel costs.

  • We are always looking for in-kind gifts of printing services, outdoor equipment, office furniture or supplies, beverages and catering services, cameras (for students to take on their summer programs) and laptops (for our graduating seniors and alumni).

  • We’d love samples of your company’s products or services to use as auction or goody bag items at fundraising events and/or student and community partner rewards.

  • Nominate Summer Search for your company’s corporate philanthropy program.

  • Run a 5K and collect sponsorship for Summer Search (like alumnus and board member Robert Reffkin, who’s running a marathon in every state to raise money to support our work!).

  • Host a fund- or friend-raising event at your house (we’ll help you organize and plan it!).

  • Allow us to use your company’s meeting space for staff retreats, board meetings, or student workshops.

  • Volunteer as a photographer or videographer for any of our events.


Use these vendors who will support Summer Search:

  • Will you be buying or selling real estate in 2010? When you purchase or sell a home in the Bay Area through one of our Realtor partners, at closing they will make a donation in your name in the amount of 10% of their broker’s fees. Learn More >
  • Entertaining? Support Summer Search by purchasing wine through Indie Wine Company and San Francisco Wine Center and using the code “summersearch” at checkout! Thanks to Brian & Hillary McGonigle for making this possible! Click here to learn more. >
  • Register your credit cards and store loyalty cards at, and they will donate a percentage of every transaction to your designated charity (Summer Search, of course!) It’s a secure site that has been around since 1999 and distributed more than $120 million to nonprofits around the country.
  • Use Maatiam to shop at online merchants like and 5% of your purchase will go to Summer Search.
  • Join Judy’s Book (an online resource for trustworthy reviews and recommendations), and the company will donate to Summer Search Seattle at no cost to you.
  • is an easy way to support Summer Search throughout the year simply by shopping for your every day needs like groceries, clothing, and casual dining, or any occasion that calls for gift giving.

Partner Up

If you or anyone you know works with low-income high school sophomores in our program sites’ service areas, we’d love to talk to you about becoming a Referral Partner. We’re also interested in connecting our students to extra resources and local arts, tutoring, or sports programs.

If you or anyone you know works for a summer experiential education program, we’d love to talk to you about becoming a Summer Program Partner.

SpRead The Word

  • Share your Summer Search story with us! Not only will it make our day, we can also use your testimony to attract new supporters. You can review us online at or just drop us a quick line over email to tell us why you think what we do is important.
  • Join an event committee to help us attract new guests and create a compelling introduction to Summer Search for them. From breakfasts to cocktails and gala dinners, we have a signature event that suits your style and needs your energy.
  • If you are a café or restaurant owner, create a signature dish and name it in our honor!
  • If you are a blogger or journalist, write a post or article about us.
  • Host a salon or discussion group for your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors on a Summer Search-related topic: ideas include leadership, civic engagement, creating access to educational opportunities, or breaking the cycle of poverty.

  • Write a letter to the opinion section of your local paper. Tell others why you care about keeping the American Dream alive for low-income students—why it’s not just unfair but also damaging to stand by and not do anything while a lack of opportunities and negative expectations keep our low-income students from achieving their potential.

  • If you shop at a grocery store with bag credit donation program, nominate Summer Search as a recipient (thanks to board member Brad Struss for this idea!).

  • If your kids need to find a topic for a school project or a recipient for their class gift, suggest Summer Search. (13-year-old Summer Search supporter Isaac Maycock gave us this great idea!).

  • Offer to distribute the Summer Search magazine to your local coffee shop or bookstore.

  • Let us know if you have connections to corporate, political, educational, or civic leaders in our community who should know about Summer Search.

  • Organize a brown bag lunch for Summer Search at your company or organization: we can invite a student or alumnus; you can invite interested colleagues as well as your company’s foundation director and internship coordinator!

  • Call a friend today and tell them about your favorite thing about Summer Search. Word of mouth is the best way to spread the mission of an organization: please talk about our work at dinners, conferences, playgrounds, parties, planes, trains…wherever you are!

Learn More

To hear about upcoming volunteer opportunities and find out more about the different ways you can get involved with Summer Search’s mission, please click here to join the mailing list for our regular volunteer update.*

*We send these updates roughly every other month, and you can always unsubscribe with a click.

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