One Degree from Help – Rey Faustino

One Degree from Help – Rey Faustino

In this episode of The Important Podcast, you will meet Rey Faustino, founder of One Degree, and learn how his organization helps low-income families find and access resources that they need to increase their odds of getting out of poverty.

Listen on iTunes and Spotify.


It’s not easy for impoverished Americans to access resources and services. Even more difficult than accessing services is the initial discovery of the ‘right ‘services and resources at the ‘right’ time. Many people are not aware of helpful privately provided resources and government provided resources that are just a few blocks away.

Enter Rey Faustino. At age eight, Rey left the Philippines with his parents and arrived in Los Angeles. Like many immigrants, the Faustino family struggled to make ends meet as they became naturalized American citizens. While his parents worked hard at multiple jobs to provide for the family, they still found it difficult to navigate the complex process of becoming American.

Twenty five years later, Rey created an organization called One Degree that streamlines the discovery and accessing of services and resources for low-income families and individuals in California. In this episode, you will meet Rey and hear his story.

Hear the full story on
iTunes and Spotify.

In this Episode, You Will Learn

  • How Rey was inspired to help low income communities in California from his experience as a child immigrating from the Philippines to Los Angeles with his parents.
  • The most common pain-points of low income families and individuals in California
  • How fundraising is different in the nonprofit sector from the private sector: the importance of building relationships with investors before you’re fully “ready.”
  • Rey’s experience and lessons learned from Ycombinator and FastForward.
  • How Rey approaches the ratio of doing (i.e. being on the dance floor) vs. the ratio of thinking/reflection (i.e. being on the balcony).
  • Why the traditional startup growth playbooks for companies like Yelp, Uber, etc. (i.e. a colonial approach of value extraction from the community) doesn’t work for a community-driven nonprofit like One Degree.
  • Rey’s recommended marketing channels for reaching underserved communities in California.
  • How the entire question of “measuring impact” and lives changed is very complicated for nonprofits and how Rey approaches measuring impact at One Degree.
  • How Rey approaches running a nonprofit organization as a technology organization with a focus on hypothesis driven product innovation, customer development (i.e. “getting out of the building”) problem solving and design thinking.
  • A lesson from previous failures, Rey advises startup and nonprofit founders to invest in relationships instead of burning bridges.


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Photos with Rey Faustino

About the Author

Jared Polivka’s mission is to serve others while living a light-hearted, present, empathetic and responsible life. Jared serves nonprofits at, teaches at The Joy of Improv and advises various startups and organizations. Stay in touch with Jared on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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