I'd say the message here is pretty self-evident.
For Festus Oyinwola, a 19-year-old first-generation college student from Dallas, Texas, the financial burden of attending college made his higher education dreams feel like a faraway goal.
As his high school graduation neared, Oyinwola feared he would have to interrupt his educational pursuits for at least a year to save up to attend college.
That changed when Oyinwola learned of the Dallas County Promise, a new program launched by The Commit Partnership, a community navigator that works to ensure that all North Texas students receive an equitable education.
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
The Dallas County Promise covers any cost of tuition not included in financial aid grants. To date, nearly 60 high schools in Dallas County currently participate in this initiative.
It pairs students — including Oyinwola — with a success coach for the following three years of their education.
To ensure that students like Oyinwola have the opportunity to build a solid foundation, The Commit Partnership is supported by businesses like Capital One who are committed to driving meaningful change in Dallas County through improved access to education.
The bank's support comes as part of its initial $200 million, multi-year commitment to advance socioeconomic mobility through the Capital One Impact Initiative.
Just over a year into the coronavirus pandemic, we're finally seeing a light at the end of our socially distanced tunnel. We still have a ways to go, but with millions of vaccines being doled out daily, we're well on our way toward somewhat normal life again. Hallelujah.
As we head toward that light, it's natural to look back over our shoulders at the past year to see what we're leaving behind. There's the "good riddance" stuff of course—the mass deaths, the missing loved ones, the closed-up businesses, the economic, social and political strife—which no one is going to miss.
But there's personal stuff, too. As we reflect on how we coped, how we spent our time, what we did and didn't do this past year, we're thinking about what we'll be bringing out of the tunnel with us.
And some of us are finding that comes with a decent dose of regret. Maybe a little guilt. Some disappointment as we go down the coulda-woulda-shoulda road.
The past year has changed the way a lot of people see the world and brought the importance of global change to the forefront. However, even social impact entrepreneurs have had to adapt to the changing circumstances brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.
"The first barrier is lack of funding. COVID-19 has deeply impacted many of our supporters, and we presume it will continue to do so. Current market volatility has caused many of our supporters to scale back or withdraw their support altogether," said Brisa de Angulo, co-founder of A Breeze of Hope Foundation, a non-profit that prevents childhood sexual violence in Bolivia and winner of the 2020 Elevate Prize.
To help social entrepreneurs scale their impact for the second year in a row, The Elevate Prize is awarding $5 million to 10 innovators, activists, and problem–solvers who are making a difference in their communities every day.
"We want to see extraordinary people leading high-impact projects that are elevating opportunities for all people, elevating issues and their solutions, or elevating understanding of and between people," The Elevate Prize website states.
Founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize is dedicated to giving unsung social entrepreneurs the necessary resources to scale their impact and to ultimately help inspire and awaken the hero in all of us.
"The Elevate Prize remains committed to finding a radically diverse group of innovative problem solvers and investing unconventional and personalized resources that bring greater visibility to them as leaders and the vital work they do. We make good famous," said Carolina García Jayaram, executive director, Elevate Prize Foundation.
The application process will take place in two phases. Applicants have till May 5 for Phase 1, which will include a short written application. A select number of those applicants will then be chosen for Phase 2, which includes a more robust set of questions later this summer. Ten winners will be announced in October 2021.
In addition to money, winners will also receive support from The Elevate Prize to help amplify their mission, achieve their goals, and receive mentorship and industry connections.
Last year, 1,297 candidates applied for the prize.
The 10 winners include Simprints, a UK-based nonprofit implementing biometric solutions to give people in the developing world hope and access to a better healthcare system; ReThink, a patented, innovative app that detects offensive messages and gives users a chance to reconsider posting them; and Guitars Over Guns, an organization bridging the opportunity gap for youth from vulnerable communities through transformational access to music, connectivity, and self-empowerment.
You can learn more about last year's winners, here.
If you know of someone or you yourself are ready to scale your impact, apply here today.