$1 Million Rise Prize announced to fund innovative solutions to support students in higher education who are parents

The Rise Prize seeks to accelerate innovation to support student parents and break down the barriers they face in achieving success in postsecondary education.

February 12, 2020. Washington, DC — Imaginable Futures—a venture of The Omidyar Group—and Lumina Foundation, along with a group of leading partner organizations, today launched the Rise Prize, awarding $1 million in combined prizes to 10 innovative ideas supporting parents’ postsecondary education success.

The Prize is seeking impact-driven changemakers based in the United States who are working on tools, programs, or initiatives that support student parents to succeed. Students with children represent nearly a quarter of the 17 million students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs, and a large portion of the million students in trade certificates, vocational training programs or alternative college pathways, and of the 36 million students who have stopped out of postsecondary education programs—who have some college credit, but no degree.

Student parents are incredibly motivated to succeed in postsecondary education but face many barriers in reaching completion. On average, student parents have higher GPAs than their peers without children yet they face higher stop-out rates and more debt than their nonparent peers.

“Student parents are thriving and are vital members of the postsecondary system,” said Vinice Davis, a venture partner at Imaginable Futures. “But they are largely unseen and unsupported by college administrators, policymakers, and innovators, and so, their needs often go unaddressed. We are hopeful that the Rise Prize will draw attention to the massive opportunity to address student parents’ needs. When student parents rise, we all rise.”

Accelerating the success of student parents has a ripple effect that extends to the whole family, creating a path for families that leads to careers with living wages and overall better outcomes for parents and their children.

“In an economy that demands education and training beyond high school, learning opportunities for student parents are critical to supporting a thriving workforce,” said Elizabeth Garlow, investment officer at Lumina Impact Ventures, the impact investing arm of Lumina Foundation. “Creating and scaling ways to support student parents will put families on a pathway toward better education and employment opportunities, which creates positive ripple effects for generations to come.”

The Rise Prize welcomes applications from non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, and higher education institutions; academic institutions associations, or alternative career pathways programs, including workforce programs, credentialing programs, and bootcamps, that seek to advance postsecondary success for parents either enrolled or who may have stopped out, encouraging them to pursue and complete their education to drive greater economic mobility and well-being for themselves and their families. It will award grants to both early stage and mature stage ideas.

The prize will award $50,000 each to six early stage applicants and $200,000 each to three mature stage applicants. One winner, in either category, will be chosen by two student parent judges and will be awarded $100,000 for the Risers’ Choice Prize.

“We can do so much better by our student parents,” said Dr. C. Nicole Mason, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). "Right now only 13% of student parents earn their associate’s or bachelor’s within six years compared to nearly half of students in college who are not parents. There are concrete things we can do to increase that number so more student parents are graduating. A good first step is increasing the visibility of student parents on campus so they feel less alone and know where to reach out for support.”

Partner organizations of the Rise Prize include Achieving the Dream, American Association of Community Colleges, American Council on Education, Ascend at the Aspen Institute, Association of Community College Trustees, College Promise Campaign, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Jobs for the Future, United Negro College Fund, and University Professional and Continuing Education Association.

Applications are open now through April 6 and winners will be announced at the Jobs of the Futures Horizons conference taking place in New Orleans on June 9-10.

To learn more visit www.theriseprize.com.

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About the Rise Prize

The Rise Prize is awarding $1M in combined prizes to solutions accelerating postsecondary success for parents. The prize was created by Imaginable Futures – a venture of The Omidyar Group – and Lumina Foundation, along with a group of leading partner organizations, to leverage direct investments in innovative solutions supporting student parents. The full list of partners includes Achieving the Dream, American Association of Community Colleges, American Council on Education, Ascend at the Aspen Institute, Association of Community College Trustees, College Promise Campaign, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Jobs for the Future, United Negro College Fund, and University Professional and Continuing Education Association. To learn more about the Rise Prize, visit www.theriseprize.com.

Contact

Alisha Qiu, aqiu@wearerally.com, 415-363-0415