BestFit Awarded $50,000 Rise Prize to Advance Innovative Solutions for Student Parents in Higher Education.
July 08, 2020
page image
Atlanta, GA BestFit, Inc. is excited to announce that it has been awarded $50,000 as an Early Stage winner of the Rise Prize, a $1.55m nationwide competition to the most innovative ideas for supporting the postsecondary success of student parents. The Prize was announced by Imaginable Futures, a venture of The Omidyar Group, and Lumina Foundation, along with a group of leading partner organizations and seven prominent judges.
Winners range from early-stage pilots to mature solutions across for-profit and nonprofit organizations, as well as higher education institutions. BestFit is honored to be recognized alongside other winners such as Morehouse College’s Fathers to the Finish Line initiative, Arizona State University, and the Prison University Project, a college for currently incarcerated individuals.
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. Details on the winners can be found at https://theriseprize.com/winners.
BestFit intends to use the award proceeds to accelerate product development and launch BestFit for student parents. By partnering with postsecondary institutions and community organizations, BestFit provides a one-stop shop to ensure student parents’ basic needs are met in a streamlined, user-friendly way, enabling them to focus on their studies and eventually, graduation.
BestFit is now actively seeking partners (colleges, nonprofits, corporations, and/or government agencies) interested in connecting student parents to the resources they need. 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.
For general or partnership inquiries, please contact founders@best-fit.app.
About the Problem:
“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.”
About BestFit, Inc.: BestFit is a web platform that connects students to the resources they need, when they need them, so they can focus on what matters‒graduating. We empower students to build their own support systems by connecting them to on-campus, community, philanthropic, and corporate resources. Based in Atlanta, the team's nationally-recognized work is funded by organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Cox Enterprises Social Impact Accelerator powered by Techstars. To learn more, please visit https://www.best-fit.app.
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 https://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 https://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
Additional Rise Prize partners: 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 https://www.theriseprize.com