Narrowing America’s opportunity gap through crowdfunded scholarships
Disadvantaged students are those who have hindrances to excelling in school because of detrimental circumstances beyond their control. These include financial and social hardships as well as problems within students' families. These students tend to fall behind in school, but a little extra help could go a long way. Making potential public donors aware of how they can help make a difference in these students' lives could help close the inequality gap our country continues to face.
Wishbone connects promising students from disadvantaged backgrounds in San Francisco’s Bay area and New York with donors to crowd-fund scholarships. Wishbone sets out to harness the crowd to even the playing field. The site works through referrals: with teachers in schools in deprived areas (classed as places where 70% of children qualify for free school meals) nominating children who they think show promise and have a particular enthusiasm for a specific subject of study. Donors then browse students’ profiles online and see what programs they want to attend: choosing either to fund an individual or let Wishbone allocate funds. Donors receive updates on the student’s progress through the academic summer camps or after-school programs Wishbone has referred them to, based on their interest and location. Each child has an adult advocate, a teacher or another mentor, to coach them through the experience and help them promote their campaign. 80 young people attended programs this year, and just being selected as a Wishbone scholar can have a profound effect on students