Helping Veterans Reach Financial Independence: Announcing the San Francisco Pathways Financial Empowerment Cohort

Announcing the San Francisco Pathways Financial Empowerment Cohort

SF Pathways

As part of DoorDash’s ongoing work to provide financial empowerment tools, we’re proud to announce our newest Pathways to Success cohort of 20 Veterans in San Francisco. The Pathways to Success program, a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Zoomo and DoorDash, supports homeless and formerly homeless Veterans currently receiving VA homeless program services to become financially self-sufficient through flexible earning opportunities and financial literacy education. The program aims to help people facing barriers to traditional employment access flexible earnings opportunities on the DoorDash platform and learn how to grow, save, and invest their earnings as they secure their financial future.

Building on the success of our 2022 - 23 Los Angeles cohort, we’ve expanded the number of Veterans in the San Francisco cohort. Cohort members will receive Zoomo e-bikes, which they will own outright at the end of the program, and safety gear from DoorDash. To help support Veterans as they learn how to use their e-bikes, Zoomo will provide training and servicing throughout the program. DoorDash will also provide each participant access to financial empowerment resources via GoalUp and provisional access to the Top Dasher program through December to maximize earnings opportunities. 

“Our collaboration with DoorDash allows Veterans to earn additional income in a flexible manner while honing in on additional knowledge and abilities to add to their skillsets,“ according to Christopher Waltrous, vocational rehabilitation counselor with San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS). “SFVAHCS looks forward to the continued work with DoorDash in the service of our Veterans.”

Across our platform, Dashers who are Veterans leverage DoorDash over other earnings opportunities because they’re able to dash as much or as little as they want (52%), or have time to care for their families or loved ones (23%). Veteran Dashers also agree that dashing makes them feel less stressed and anxious about their financial situation (75%) and allows them to increase hours in times of crisis (91%). Dashers who are Veterans appreciate that flexible working hours allow them to deliver during hours that don’t conflict with their full- or part-time job (44%), spend more quality time with family (31%), be available for children and loved ones (24%), and dash at times that don’t conflict with doctor’s appointments (12%). 

In Los Angeles, Pathways Helped Veterans Forge a Path to Financial Empowerment

Veterans who participated in the Los Angeles pilot program embraced the resources and flexibility provided by the program to fit their lives and unique circumstances. 

One Southern California program participant, Navy Veteran Juelz Velasquez, found it challenging to earn an income and she shared how difficult it was to transition from military service to civilian life. When she moved to LA she had $200 in her pocket. Learning about the Pathways program from her case manager, she knew it would be perfect for her. She took advantage of the financial curriculum provided through GoalUp. Her earnings eventually helped power her passion: producing and hosting comedy shows for local artists. 

Another participant, José Lopez, experienced homelessness and now has reliable housing thanks to programs and resources he received through the VA. Committed to fully using resources available to him to achieve a better quality of life, José participated in the Pathways program. Before the program, Jose was interested in dashing, but wasn’t able to afford a car he could use to dash.

Through the flexible earning opportunities on the DoorDash platform and reliable transportation provided by Zoomo, José found a pathway to success. After saving some money dashing and working in retail, he plans to pursue a career in IT, digital marketing, and coaching. 

"As a Veteran, I’m proud to work for a company that works to enhance access to earnings opportunities for everyone, including Veterans,” said Toney Anaya, Global Head of Government Relations, DoorDash. “As part of our work to promote financial empowerment, our partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Zoomo helps us provide Veterans in California with the resources they need to grow their earnings and save for important life goals.” 

Dustin Kerns, General Manager North America, Zoomo, said: “We are proud to expand our partnership with DoorDash and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to support San Francisco Veterans. By providing safe and reliable e-bikes along with ongoing support and servicing, we’re thrilled to help expand Veterans’ access to earning opportunities while breaking down barriers to sustainable mobility. We are grateful to be part of this program and honored to support those who have bravely served our country.”

If you are a Veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness, we strongly encourage you to contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance. It is staffed 24/7 with trained counselors who can talk with you right now and connect you with your nearest VA for assistance.