• Social Innovation Fellowship

Award Year 


CO-Fund is a nonprofit organization that will improve college access byfacilitating micro-donations for scholarships for college-ready,low-income students. By connecting students directly to donors throughan online “face-to-face” model, CO-Fund empowers an entirely newdemographic of donors to be able to give college scholarships:individuals and companies from students’ own communities andnationwide. Donors can make online, tax-deductible donations as littleas $20, helping deserving students close the gap in paying for theircollege tuition. We strongly believe that helping a student attendcollege provides an essential benefit not only to the student, but alsoto society as a whole. A student who attends and completes a four-yearcollege has a huge potential to contribute to society. One donor’ssmall investment has the ability to grow exponentially in its impact–twenty dollars could be all it takes to launch a future leader on hisorher path to success! 

Personal Statement 

Statistically speaking, only 1 in 3 of the pre-K students that I mentor at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School in Providence, RI will enroll in any form of college during their lifetime, and only 1 in 7 will earn a degree. Though I know them to be smart, personable kids, these students, and their often challenging personal circumstances, show me the travesty of an inadequate and confusing financial aid system that will threaten the educational ambitions of so many of these children. I got involved with CO-Fund because I see it as an innovative young organization that can help college capable, low-income students continue their education and beat this bleak statistic.

Having studied the affect of income on educational achievement and witnessed the resultant inequalities, I know that CO-fund’s mission offers a compelling opportunity for really meaningful social change.  CO-fund will challenge our society’s stereotypical profile of the low-income student, change the way we think of financial aid and need,and benefit a potentially limitless number of students looking to continue their education. It is a chance to both impact a funding change in favor of financial equality in our system and to continue to mentor and directly influence the lives of fellow students. The experience will be exciting,enriching, and challenging, but, most importantly, it offers the opportunity to make a material impact on a daunting problem.