Tipping Point conducts research, experiments with innovative solutions, and supports policies that reduce the number of people living in poverty in the Bay Area.


In partnership with the University of California, Berkeley and the Othering & Belonging Institute, Tipping Point conducted a year-long study to get a holistic and nuanced picture of poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its findings present a timely snapshot of poverty in the region and illustrate that even when the economy is strong, millions in our community – even those who aren’t considered to be living in poverty – are struggling to make ends meet.


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Research Projects

Unlocking Career Advancement for Training Program Graduates
When only 27% of low-wage earners with high school diplomas escape low-earnings during a 9 year period, our workforce system isn’t delivering on the promise of economic mobility. Tipping Point recognized the same pattern of plateauing client wages across our employment grantees. In response, we facilitated a 12-month collaboration with three Bay Area skills training providers – Opportunity Junction, JobTrain, and JVS – to understand the experiences of job seekers and propose new services that promote career advancement to self-sufficient wages.


Increasing Take-Up of the Earned Income Tax Credit
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the best ways to fight poverty, yet many of those who are eligible don’t receive it. Tipping Point supported the California Policy Lab‘s effort to evaluate a series of experiments with the goal of increasing the number of eligible Californians claiming the federal and state EITCs.

Relief from Government-Owed Child Support Debt and Its Effects on Parents and Children
In California, most of the money low-income parents pay for child support does not reach their children. Instead, those funds reimburse the government for public assistance their children received. Tipping Point asked what would happen if 100% of child support payments went to their children? The Urban Institute evaluation found that after parent child-support debt was relieved, not only did parent-child relationships, parent credit scores, and housing status improve, payments were paid more consistently and timely.


Easing the Burden on Low-Income Drivers
In partnership with the City’s Financial Justice Project steps are being taken by the City to ease effects of fines on low-income drivers.

Exploring Alternatives to Incarceration for Transition-Aged Youth
Most court systems in the U.S. treat 18-24-year-olds who commit a crime like any other adult offender, with an adult sentence. However, national studies show that transitional age youth are less likely to commit another crime if they are placed in juvenile settings with rehabilitative support instead of adult systems. In partnership with Fresh Lifelines for Youth, we tested a new community reentry program, called STAY FLY, that develops social-emotional learning skills and knowledge of the law with the goal of reducing recidivism. STAY FLY is currently running in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties.

Child Care Solutions for Parents Working Non-Traditional Hours
Lack of access to affordable 24-hour childcare is forcing parents in low-wage shift work to make tough choices between paying the bills and caring for their children. In partnership with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, we tested systems change and direct service ideas. The result was The Village, a program and mobile app that connects neighborhood parents who can swap childcare. ROC is currently piloting The Village in Alameda County.

Community-Based Innovation to Affordable Child Care
In partnership with Gma Village and the West Oakland community, we developed a childcare service that formalizes and organizes those who have been the backbone of our families and communities for generations: grandmothers. Gma Village is a platform that supports grandmothers and matches them with families. Gma Village gave parents peace of mind that their children were in good hands so they could stay in the workforce.

Closing the Opportunity Divide for Young Adults
Five million young adults have little access to economic advancement, so Year Up decided to explore how they could reach more young adults than the 4,000 they served each year. With support from frog design, Year Up tested new ways to transform their program into a format with more efficient and scalable reach. The result was a pilot program focused on practicing professional and social emotional skills that would pair with any technical training in a community college setting. This pilot laid the foundation for Nest, Year Up’s in-house R&D team, who has since built and launched this product and many others.