The Berkeley Project was founded by undergraduate students Andrew Roland and Peter Do, along with Kenny Leu, James Lin, Jenny Cooper, and Jaime Hiraishi. They set out to put together a group of students who, like themselves, hoped to increase the level of social conscience and service within the student body. Such a group would work to develop an effective and convenient venue for student service while also strengthening the relationship between the school and the neighboring community.

Because the campus population is so large, Cal students have a big impact on the City of Berkeley. The Berkeley Project was created with the idea that the dynamic energy in the student body has the power to affect ongoing change in the community. BP is closely modeled after the organization The Detroit Partnership (formerly The Detroit Project) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The Detroit Partnership has successfully been established as a link between the university and their community, and the founders envisioned the same for Cal and Berkeley.

The group set out in April of 2006 to organize The Berkeley Project's first large service event, Berkeley Project Day, in which over 1000 Cal students would join together to participate in a vast number of community service activities throughout Berkeley on that single day. Nearly half a year later, a team of 50 planners had coordinated the largest community service event to ever hit the Cal campus. Now, it was up to the students to come out and demonstrate that the they were able and willing to unite together for purposes of effecting positive change in their very own community. On the morning of November 11th, 2006, despite rumors of T-Shirt shortages and heavy rain, 1000 students awoke, trudged out into the wet and cold, and served their city at 43 worksites throughout Berkeley. The day was a resounding success from the perspectives of students, administration, city staff, and residents alike.