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City Heights Nonprofit Reality Changers Launches New Campaign

For eight years, City Heights-based nonprofit Reality Changers has held its "State of the Inner City" address on the same day the San Diego mayor gives the annual speech.

But this year, the nonprofit took a different approach. Taking a page from the movie "Back To The Future," Reality Changers rolled out a new way to raise money. On Wednesday, dressed as characters from the movie, the group launched its "Give to the Future" campaign with the hopes of raising $2 million.

The nonprofit has tapped into what they call "flux philanthropy" or using available school space after hours to provide tutoring and support to needy students.

"What we've done is we've shifted the burden of overhead cost away from the donors who hate to pay for overhead," said Christopher Yanov, founder and president of Reality Changers.

Yanov founded the group Reality Changers in 2001 with four eighth grade students, $300 dollars, and a mission to get low-income students off the streets and into college. The organization is based in City Heights where less than three percent of adults have college diplomas.

Today, Reality Changers is known for helping hundreds of disadvantaged kids who've become the first in their families to go to college.

"We've come a long way. In fact, this is our 15th school year, and the $300 has turned into over $60 million dollars in scholarships for inner-city kids," Yanov said.

Students from the program have gone on to attend universities like Harvard, UC Los Angeles and UC San Diego. They anticipate nearly 1,000 more will enter college by the end of this school year.

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