Executive Director & Founder
Ex Officio Member of Board of Directors
Graduating with a double major from the University of California at Berkeley, Benito founded the student group that would evolve into present day K to College during his senior year. The organization received its first full-time employee when Benito began working as a fulltime volunteer in 2009, selling his prized 2002 Nissan Maxima for the organization’s startup money. By December of the same year, K to College had secured its first federal grant, three corporate partnerships and the support of the larger East Bay and San Francisco Communities.
The vision was simple: to create a sustainable and systematic solution to equip low-income school children at risk of poor academic and other life outcomes due in part because they did not have their basic material needs met. That solution was to create the first supply bank of its kind (like a food bank but tangible necessities) for under-resourced kids, starting with school and dental supplies. Now distributing additional materials and projecting to reach its 300,000th student in the coming year, K to College has grown considerably under Benito’s leadership.
From K to College’s starting point, Benito has recruited a professional board of directors, an advisory board of top stakeholders and statewide leaders, hired a fulltime staff, designed, developed and implemented the proven K to College business model, secured more than 200 public and private partnerships at the state and local level and fundraised several million dollars for program operations. He has also worked with stakeholders to oversee the passage of two pieces of legislation sponsored by K to College and is working on two others in the current legislative session. As the Executive Director, Benito is responsible for implementing K to College’s strategic plan in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. He is also responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization, serves as the chief public information officer and works in collaboration with the board and stakeholders to shape the future goals of the organization. Primary goals for the future include continued growth for programs, assisting the 270,000 homeless children in California and the success of two pieces of state legislation.
Since its founding, Benito has received several awards on behalf of K to College and has been recognized as a Hometown Hero by Comcast and the Bay Area News Group. Benito was also awarded the New Leaders Council, “40 Under 40” award, a national award celebrating success in entrepreneurship, advocacy, media and politics. Additionally, Benito has accepted several dozen commendations, proclamations and other honorable recognition on behalf of K to College.
In his spare time Benito enjoys traveling, going to various Bay Area sporting events (especially the A’s, Sharks, and Cal Bears), exercise and a good single malt scotch. He is a lifelong resident of Oakland, California.