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If you could change someone’s life by giving him $25 would you do it? What if your $25 connected you to the student and you could mentor them as they attend college? And what if someone else did all the work to distribute the funds? That’s opportunity you have with the Education Matters Project.
Challenge. In 2011 we began to notice a troubling trend: a pattern of high-potential less fortunate students turning down college due to the skyrocketing cost of higher education. Some were opting for lower tier institutions, while others forewent college entirely, all due to the financial burden. At a time when a majority of career options depend on higher education, EMP believes that there's never been a more pivotal time to support these low-income students.
Vision. Our vision is to create an environment where even the most disadvantaged communities hold the power to attend college. While most educational nonprofits focus on pre-college preparation, our proposition is to change the education landscape through crowdsourcing of funds and advice. Aware of the pioneering work of Kiva and GiveForward, we will leverage the power of the Internet to create a nationwide network of small-time donors and connect them to individual students who need funding to pursue their educational dreams. Remember 100 donors contributing $25 is just as valuable as one donor contributing $2,500.
Approach. EMP’s strategic approach: 1) create partnerships with institutions that provide us with compelling students, 2) develop a community of potential donors who are passionate about education and 3) empower donors to fund and mentor students on our platform. The centerpiece of our success is our action-oriented technology platform. Our storytelling and fundraising tools, as well as constituency-building are built with the Blue State Digital Tools-the same tools leveraged in the It Gets Better Project & BarackObama.com campaign.
Why? Born in Youngstown OH where the poverty rate was 50% and most people did not finish high school, I know personally how important college is. Our platform will empower students just like me to find funding even in the most disadvantaged circumstances. And it will show higher education remains the best path to opportunity in low-income communities. Please help us provide students with that opportunity.