Dropbox, a Circle the Schools corporate partner, is a recipient of the San Francisco Education Fund’s 2015-16 Distinguished Service Award.


When Dropbox first signed on as a Circle the Schools partner in 2014, we asked that employees do about three to five activities throughout the year.

Dropbox quickly soared right through that requirement, and now the company is deeply involved with programs, clubs and classes throughout Mission High School.

“Dropbox has been an incredible partner to Mission High,” said Principal Eric Guthertz, who nominated the company for a Distinguished Service Award. “They have supported our students with tutoring, assistance in our computer courses, sponsoring our Student of the Month lunches, helping with coding classes, assisting with our Technovation club, leading tours of their facilities with our students, and supporting us in writing grants.”

Dropbox even partnered with the school to create a “hackers lab.” Dropbox contributed the expertise of its engineering and design department to help the school figure out what the space should look and feel like. The company contributed to the lab’s curriculum and donated funds to help build it.

And the list keeps growing. “So many people at Dropbox are really hungry to get involved,” explained Joe Wheeler, Corporate Social Responsibility Associate at Dropbox.

So much so that this year, the company started setting aside time for employees to serve as one-on-one college and career coaches for students. Volunteer coaches support students as they research universities and jobs and help them map out pathways to achieve their goals for after high school.

Take Dominic, who works on the financial team at Dropbox, and Jadon, a 10th grade student at Mission. When Jadon first started meeting with Dominic, he knew he was interested in computers, but not necessarily where those interests might lead him. Jadon has been tinkering with computers since the age of 12 and thought he might want to work in tech. Through in-person meetings and over email, Jadon and Dominic have brainstormed and discussed ideas like whether he should work for a big tech company, or maybe start his own. Perhaps he could go to UC Berkeley. Jadon said with Dominic’s help he’s been able to whittle things down and map out a path.


“At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for college and career,” Jadon said. “But thanks to Dominic, I’m like, I’m totally sure.” And the first step toward achieving his dreams? He just applied for an internship for the summer, where, if he gets it, he will work on computer hardware.

Circle the Schools has helped open the door for Dropbox to get even further involved at Mission, Joe said. For example, two Dropbox employees volunteer in Tera Freedman’s 1st period programming class each week and lend their knowledge and skills to help students learn computer languages like Python.

“Kids adore them,” Ms. Freedman said.

Ms. Freedman’s class even went on a visit to Dropbox’s offices. Students heard from employees what it was like to work at Dropbox, what college is like and how to survive the first day at a new job.


For many of her students, Ms. Freedman said seeing one of their classroom tutors in his actual work environment made a big impression.

“When they saw [him], it was like, ‘I could work here,” Ms. Freedman said. “It gave an immediate connection, like ‘I could see myself sitting there. He works with us; he’s sitting there. I could sit here. I like them to know that they can get jobs at local tech companies.”

Through the tutoring and ongoing conversations with the school, Dropbox has “helped us to address how to break down barriers for students that have historically not been able to access careers in technology,” Mr. Guthertz said.

Read about the other two recipients of the 2015-16 Distinguished Service Awards:

Paul Ma, who volunteers in Philip & Sala Burton High School’s junior year engineering class. 

Linda Fawkes, a Literacy Program volunteer at Dr. Charles R. Drew College Preparatory Academy.

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