15 Winners Awarded $1.55 Million Rise Prize to Advance Innovative Solutions for Student Parents in Higher Education

College Unbound wins $100,000 Risers’ Choice award, selected by student parent judges; Morehouse College’s Fathers to the Finish Line wins Rising Star award for its rising innovative solution

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. July 8, 2020 – Imaginable Futures, a venture of The Omidyar Group, and Lumina Foundation, along with a group of leading partner organizations and seven prominent judges, today announced the 15 winners of the Rise Prize, awarding $1.55 million in combined prizes to the most innovative ideas for supporting the postsecondary success of student parents.

Winners range from early-stage pilots to mature solutions across for-profit and nonprofit organizations, as well as higher education institutions.

College Unbound, a bachelor’s degree program designed for working and parenting adults, won the $100,000 Risers’ Choice award. This program was selected by two student parent judges who brought an authentic understanding of the barriers that student parents face.

“We were honored to be part of the selection committee that judged all of the incredible entries,” said Lesley Del Rio, one of two student parent judges. “We selected College Unbound because it is an extraordinary program showcasing the strengths of our student parent community. It empowers us to succeed.”

Additional winners include Prison University Project, a college for currently incarcerated individuals, and Edquity, a technology-enabled emergency aid platform, both within the mature stage category; American Indian College Fund’s “Ina wa wounspe pi” (Mothers who are learning), a coaching program for Native American students, within the early stage category; and Morehouse College’s Fathers to the Finish Line initiative, which was awarded the Rising Star prize for its unique, holistic support services for fathers enrolled in the private historically black men’s college.

More than 300 applications were received since the Rise Prize launched on February 12, 2020. Twenty-six finalists were announced on June 10, 2020. Each finalist was paired with a leading expert and received advising and coaching before virtually presenting to a panel of judges who selected the final 15 winners.

Winners include:

Risers’ Choice: $100,000 (1 winner selected by student parent judges)

● College Unbound

Rising Star Award: $50,000 (awarded to a rising innovative solution)

● Morehouse College – Fathers to the Finish Line

Mature Stage: $200,000 each

● Edquity

● Family Scholar House

● Jeremiah Program

● Prison University Project

● Rivet School, formerly known as Concourse Education

Early Stage: $50,000 each

● American Indian College Fund – “Ina wa wounspe pi” (Mothers who are learning)

● Arizona State University – The ASU Sunnybot Student-Parent Program

● BestFit

● Bristol Community College – Parenting Advancement Pathways

● Cell-Ed – 1M Parent Learner Challenge

● Everett Community College – Weekend College

● FutureGrad by Yenko

● Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona – Pathways

Details on the winners can be found at https://theriseprize.com/winners.

“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 family-sustaining wages and overall better life outcomes for parents and their children,” said Vinice Davis, a venture partner at Imaginable Futures. “Unfortunately, this population often faces significant barriers to success. These winning solutions have the opportunity to scale to address these barriers and support the unique needs of student parents.”

“Student parents are by far some of the best and brightest. They are resilient and resourceful, but often are left out of the higher education conversation, and therefore lack support,” said Wayne Taliaferro, strategy officer for finance and federal policy at Lumina Foundation. “If we’re truly going to foster a system of higher education that centers equity in every way, then we have to prioritize student parents. At close to 4 million, they need and deserve a reimagined system that truly works for them.”

A report detailing the Rise Prize applicants, finalists, and winners and how they address the systematic barriers of student parents will be published this fall.

Additional Rise Prize partners 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.

Learn more at www.theriseprize.com.

About the Rise Prize

The Rise Prize awarded $1.55M in combined prizes to 15 organizations to implement and scale 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. To learn more about the Rise Prize, visit www.theriseprize.com.

About Imaginable Futures

Imaginable Futures (IF) is a global philanthropic investment firm that believes learning has the power to unlock human potential and aspires to provide every learner with the opportunity and the tools they need to imagine, and to realize, a brighter future. By taking a systems approach to solving complex education challenges, IF works across public, private and social sectors to bring to life transformational ideas in local, national and global contexts for learners of all ages. With a deep commitment to on-the-ground partnership and co-creation with those we serve, Imaginable Futures is empowering learners, families and communities to be the changemakers of the future. Imaginable Futures is a venture of The Omidyar Group, and is founded and funded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar. Learn more at www.imaginablefutures.com.

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. The foundation envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Lumina’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy. Learn more at: https://www.luminafoundation.org.

Media Contact

Mai Tran
213-335-4336
MTran@imaginablefutures.com