Last Mile Education Fund

Host Organization: Digital harbor Foundation Inc. mdi-circle-small Baltimore, MD, USA mdi-circle-small


Lever for Change Equality Can't Wait Finalist

Last Mile empowers and elevates low-income women through technical degree attainment via just-in-time basic-needs support offered with an abundance-minded investment approach. Since 53% of undergraduate women live below 200% of poverty ($51,000/yr for a family of four) and less than 20% of low-income students complete a bachelor's degree within 6 years, addressing the graduation rate among aspiring technical women represents a huge opportunity for growth. Last Mile invests in striving, low-income, undergraduate technical women with 4 or less semesters to graduation, enabling women to get to the finish line and into a high-paying career more quickly or at all. We have calculated that investing in 23,000 of these high-potential students will yield a cumulative $2.15B in additional earnings by 2031, enabling social mobility and wealth building, increasing women's contributions to technology and innovation, and kickstarting an alumnae reinvestment engine enabling long-term sustainability.

Launched in June 2020, Equality Can't Wait was a $40 million challenge to fund solutions to help expand women’s power and influence in the U.S. by 2030. The Challenge was hosted by Pivotal Ventures, Melinda French Gates’ investment and incubation company — with additional support from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. Five-hundred-and-fifty (550) proposals were submitted to the competition and were evaluated using four criteria: Whether the proposals were transformative, innovative, equitable, and feasible. The Equality Can't Wait Idea Lab features top projects from all submissions, as selected by a panel of experts and peers. Five Awardees were announced in July 2021: Four received $10 million each (Ada Developers Academy; Girls Inc.; Native Women Lead; National Domestic Workers Alliance), and one received $4 million (FreeFrom).

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About the Host

Digital Harbor Foundation was born in Baltimore and dedicated to creating pathways to opportunity through technology. Our first initiatives included scholarships, an educator fellowship, and technology afterschool programs for youth. As we have grown and iterated over the years to expand our reach, with teammates and board members in a dozen states around the country, our beating heart has been rooted right here in Baltimore, grounded in the experiences in our community. As we celebrate a decade of dedication, and look to the future, we are committed now more than ever to digital equity for everyone, diversity in the tech sector, innovative stem education, and technology for the public good.

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