We’re building social capital for young people that haven’t had it before.
Years of service: 6
Their story: Jacob Martinez, the 2020 winner of the James Irvine Leadership Award and the 2015 winner of the Tony Hill Memorial Award, has made it his post-UCSC mission to uplift the youth of the LatinX community. "Watsonville and Salinas are just an hour south of Silicon Valley, the epicenter of opportunity and wealth," he says. "Why are these companies continuously searching for talent in other parts of this country when there is brilliant, young, diverse talent that exists right outside their corporate headquarters?" DigitalNEST is helping mentor this talent via hands-on training and experience in technology, graphic design and digital media. Through a network of community partners, DigitalNEST helps students ages 14-24 gain real-world expertise that will set them up for carving out a career path. Since 2014, the organization has helped more than 2,200 students locally and more recently, expanded to include a second facility in Salinas.
Fundraising focus: Besides their big news announcement of opening a third office in Gilroy, the focus for the six-year-old organization is on bizzNEST, the collection of young creatives and professionals providing budget-friendly web design, video, graphic design and photography services that help propel businesses forward. The bizzNEST youth have access to the latest software and camera equipment to deliver quality marketing services at below market rates. Check out what they're doing here.
In 2014, Jacob founded Digital NEST—a technology workforce development hub providing youth in rural communities with high-demand technology skills, mentoring and hands-on experience so they can secure well-paying jobs. Jacob conceived the NEST after witnessing a young college student out in the cold doing homework on her laptop because she didn’t have internet access at home. That moment sparked Jacob’s idea to give the brilliant young minds in his community a better chance at achieving big dreams.
Walking into one of our Digital NESTs is like walking onto a Google campus only even better because our spaces are infused with community, culture and love.