Founded in 1998 by UC Berkeley grads Amy Lemley and Deanne Pearn, Oakland’s First Place Fund for Youth is a unique program that fills a much-needed gap in the foster care system. Foster care kids “emancipate” out of the system when they turn eighteen or graduate from high school, whichever comes first. Their government funding is promptly cut off, and they are often left without a place to live or a source of income. The rate of homelessness, early pregnancy, and incarceration among this group is exceptionally high. First Place helps foster-care graduates live as independent adults by teaching money- and life-management skills and providing loans to help the youth rent their first apartments. Over time, First Place decreases its subsidy as participants are able to provide for themselves. First Place encourages donations of time or cash — or if you own property you’d like to rent, the nonprofit would love to hear from you, too.