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What our project is:
“A foundation in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] will prepare students well for any of tomorrow’s careers” states Stuart Schmill, Dean of Admissions, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Well, we want our students at Amani Public Charter School in Mt. Vernon, NY to be amply prepared. Help us send 40 students, those entering grades 5 through 7, to a high quality summer engineering camp. The camp will have a different theme each week with fun “hands on” activities to expose students to a variety of engineering disciplines: electrical, industrial, mechanical, aerospace, and marine. Our expectation is that the engineering camp experience will encourage most of the students to learn more about STEM and eventually enroll in college and pursue a STEM discipline.
Motivation for project:
The camp came out of the frustration of an M.I.T. alumnus having zero applicants from Mt. Vernon, NY high schools applying for admission to M.I.T. These results occurred despite significant outreach to Mt. Vernon high schools, and the legacy of Mt. Vernon having approximately one admit to MIT every other year. Consequently, this crowdfunding campaign is a first step towards building an applicant pipeline starting at the elementary and middle-school levels. Initial plans were to crowdfund for a STEM add-on to a pre-existing summer program in Mt. Vernon serving 600 K-12 students. We changed directions when untimely grant funding caused the program's retrenchment.
$9,000 funds 1 week of engineering camp starting July 8, but $22,500 funds 3 weeks. The campaign on Blackstartup.com is supplementary to other fundraising activities.
Financial contributions, mostly from the local community, to fund STEM programs for K-12 students in Mt. Vernon and boost their achievement in these critical disciplines.
First-mover advantage and having affiliations with world-class STEM institutions (e.g. M.I.T.) and other service providers.
Ultimately to use community-based crowdfunding to underwrite the STEM training costs of K-12 students who can't afford to pay full price.
Robert has done many things to make a living: a cook, chemical engineer, nightclub owner, and vice president of a billion dollar company. His twin foci right now are K-12 STEM education, and financing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Robert has a B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T., and a MBA from Harvard Business School. Robert and his family currently reside in Mt. Vernon, NY.
As a Posse Scholar at Dickinson College, Brandon Goldson majors in Biology and minors in Health Studies, with the intention of becoming a Pediatrician. On campus, he works as a Residential Advisor, participates in an Improv-Comedy troop called “Run with It”, and volunteers for “Inspirational Medicine”; a foundation that aims to inspire seriously ill children by connecting them to celebrity role models via social networking and video chat. Hardworking, and active in an increasingly globalizing world, Brandon has also done Christian-Missionary work in Panama and Mexico, and has participated in a service trip to New Orleans where he helped rebuild homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He is also an accomplished basketball player who elected not to play collegiate basketball for his first two years in order to focus on his academics. However, he intends to resume playing basketball while studying abroad at the University of East Anglia in Norwich England and also at Dickinson College during his Junior and Senior years.
Jordan Sewell, a scholar at the New York City College of Technology. He's currently majoring in Computer Engineering Technology. He does plan on becoming a computer technician and an IT for television companies. His interest are sports mainly basketball, but he has been able to play any sport that has been thrown my way, and he thanks God for his talented abilities. Jordan has worked in programs that have dealt with kids between the ages of 9-15 years of age coaching them in basketball for a Christian organization. Also he has worked in community projects with his church.
Nehanda Thom is a rising Junior at the University at Albany. She's studying communications and is an aspiring magazine editor and music critic. In her free time she enjoys finding and listening to new music, writing poetry, and spending quality time with friends. She hopes to become a part of the Grammy board one day and sponsor music programs in public schools across America.
Our total across all funding platforms is $10,045. We received a $20 offline donation today from Anglet Barnes, a parent of one of our scholars. Any new donations will fund field trips that will enhance the camp experience. Thanks to everyone for your support.
Our total across all funding platforms is $10,025. We have exactly 2 days left before the campaign ends and the engineering camp begins. Any new donations will fund field trips that will enhance the camp experience. Some recent transactions of $100 and $780 are donors fulfilling previously recognized pledges or cash transfers. Thanks to everyone for your support.
Alberto Gomez donated $5. Thank you for your support.
Our total across all funding platforms is $10,020. We have exactly 1 week left before the campaign ends and the engineering camp begins. Any new donations will fund field trips that will enhance the camp experience. Thanks to everyone for your support.
Robert Jones - As my vacation week at a family camp winds down, I am pleased to report two additional offline contributions. My sister, Jacqueline Jones, donated $20 and my cousin, Nigel Tulloch, donated $50. Jacqueline and Nigel, thank you.
Our total across all funding platforms is $9,950. All future donations will fund Friday field trips that will enhance the camp experience. Thanks to everyone for your support.
Frantz Alphonse is the donor of the $1,000 pledge that was announced yesterday. Frantz’s family and mine (Robert Jones) are very close. Our fathers grew up together in Spanish Town, Jamaica and remain lifelong friends. For more on Frantz, please view the link on his company’s website: http://www.apcpartners.com/thefirm_team/frantz-e-alphonse/ Frantz, thank you for your generous donation.
We have two big announcements. First, we have received a $1,000 pledge from a donor who wishes to be anonymous at this time. Including that pledge, we have raised $9,345 across all funding platforms. Second, we decided to contract for a 2 week engineering camp for 20 middle-schoolers. This is the best compromise given the need to commit to the service provider with our current funding, and our desire to havea long enough camp to deliver a transformative experience to the scholars. Please continue to donate as additional funds
will be used to add field trips to the camp experience.
Thank you to the anonymous donor who contributed $5. Every dollar counts!
We have raised $8,195 across all funding platforms. We expect our portion of the proceeds from last Sunday night’s show at Club Iguana, NYC to increase our funding total. We will have that information soon. We are in preliminary discussions with a few big funders who could allow us to have $22,500 required for a 3 week engineering camp. The longer the camp, the more chance of a transformative experience for the middle-schoolers. With the availability of Khan Academy and Massive Open Online Courses for follow-on learning, the transformative experiences for the middle-schoolers could easily lead to genius. In the interim, let us keep continuing to give whatever we can afford as strong community involvement is key towards attracting big funders and attaining ultimate educational outcomes.
Robert Hillman, another M.I.T. alumnus, has donated $50. Robert, thank you for your generous and timely donation.
Kevin Sewell and a anonymous donor each contributed $5. Thank you, as every dollar puts us closer towards a 3-week camp and more chance of a transformative experience for the scholars. The most recent contribution gives us a nice boost. Roy Haygood, an M.I.T. alumnus has contributed $100. Roy, thank you for a significant investment in our youth.
We have raised $8,040 across all funding platforms as of 2:30pm. The longer the camp, the more chance of a transformative experience for the middle-schoolers. With the availability of Khan Academy and Massive Open Online Courses for follow-on learning, the transformative experiences for the middle-schoolers couldeasily lead to genius. At this time, we need at least 1 or 2 big funders (pledges are fine at this stage) by tomorrow night to reach $22,500. The service provider for the engineering camp gives us the opportunity by Wednesday to extend the camp from 1 week to 3 weeks. In the interim, let us keep continuing to give whatever we can afford as strong community involvement is key towards attracting big funders and attaining ultimate educational outcomes.
Many thanks to my friend, Lisbeth Kramer, and an anonymous donor for donating $5 and $25, respectively. Thanks again.
About 10 days ago I gave a 5 minute presentation to Amani parents about the summer engineering camp. When I explained the sequence of events that led to the idea of the camp, the parents provided immediate feedback on the
initiative: they started to take cash out of their pocket books and pockets. Seventeen families contributed $235. But that is not all. Before my presentation, I had 10 minutes to directly talk with one of the contributing families. I discovered we had similar backgrounds in
that we were immigrants from the same town in Jamaica. Also, the family lived a few streets away from an older cousin of mine who was the first to attend college within my maternal family, which happened to be the College of Agriculture at Cornell University. Most importantly, I shared that my cousin served as a family role model and as a result most of my family have attended mostly Historically Black Universities, Ivy League Institutions, and other highly competitive universities. Is it coincidence that the Amani family I had the direct discussion with gave the largest contribution? Food for thought.
We have raised $7,860 across all funding platforms. The ultimate goal is $22,500 by Tuesday to have a 3 week camp
rather than a 1 week camp. Let us keep continuing to give whatever we can afford, and we’ll be in good position to hit
our goal with a few larger contributions. Remember, the longer the engineering camp, the higher chances of a
transformative experience for our scholars.
We have raised $7,420 across all funding platforms. The total is 33% of our ultimate goal of $22,500 by Tuesday. Furthermore, we’ve laid the groundwork for a great fundraising weekend. Let’s charge forward to give our scholars a 3 week engineering camp and higher chances of a transformative experience. If we unleash the creative spark of just one scholar, the collective investment made by all funders would be returned multiple times.
Late last night we had two donors taking advantage of the Flash Match that ended just before midnight. Thanks to a anonymous donor for $10 contribution and Sarah Archer-Days for her $25 contribution. With the match, those combined contributions are worth $70 to us. Thanks again for your timely contributions. Also, let's again thank Jason Martin for providing the match challenge.
Christine Raine, a friend of Robert Jones, has generously offered a new Flash Match. She will match any other donations $ for $ up to $100 through 4pm today. So let's get the donations going! Many thanks to Christine.
Remarks by Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Black Alumni/ae of MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Friday, June 7, 2013
Brandon Goldson, Robert Jones, and Robert's 6 yr old son witnessed live Dr. Jackson's compelling speech.
Thank you very much to the anonymous donor for your $100 contribution! Your contribution is worth $200 to us with the $ for $ match offered by Christine Raine. This flash match has ended.
Christine Raine fulfilled her pledge on the $100 Flash Match. Christine, thanks for matching the $100 contribution made by an anonymous donor. Other donors over the last couple of hours include Rosita Parker ($25) and Jamaican-based Leo Williams ($10). Rosita and Leo, thank you for your timely contributions.
I would like to thank Grace Ueng for her contribution of $10. Grace knows the importance of summer camps as we attended the same camp in the summer after our junior year in high school. Also, we were classmates at both M.I.T. and Harvard Business School. Grace, thanks again for your contribution and sharing this campaign with your network.
Across all funding platforms, we have raised $7,105. We are at the fulcrum of our lever. If we lean the right way we raise $22,500 by Tuesday. The middle-schoolers will have a 3 week camp and higher chances of a transformative experience. If we lean the wrong way and not raise $22,500, the students will be limited to a 1 week summer camp. More idle time could easily lead to trouble. The choice is ours how we lean – the right way or the wrong way.
We have another M.I.T. alumnus leading the charge today. Many thanks to Gerald Baron for his $25 online contribution to help ensure the scholars get a full 3-week engineering camp. We also received offline donations 30 minutes ago. Two parents at my son's school, Holy Name of Jesus School in New Rochelle, made donations. Venice Singh donated $10 and the Robinson family donated $5. Thanks to all!
We currently have a matching campaign that ends at 11:59pm tonight. Jason Martin has just offered to match $ for $ any contribution up to a total of $100. Thank you Jason. Potential funders, please take advantage of Jason's offer!
Alicia Ramsay and an anonymous donor just took advantage of the Flash Match. Alicia's $25 contribution is worth $50 to us, and the anonymous donation of $5 is worth $10. Thank you to both donors. Let's keep the contributions coming in!
Within the hour we had 2 anonymous donations totaling $35. With the $ for $ match, these donations are worth $70 to us. Anonymous donors, thank you for your $25 and $10 contributions.
Jay Kumar, a fellow M.I.T. and HBS alumnus, has funded the project. Jay, thanks for your super fast support, and please spread the word!
I (Robert Jones) would like to thank 2 funders who made their donations just under the expiration of the $ for $ match. Courtney Cameron, an alumnus of Mt. Vernon High School, made a $10 donation that is worth $20 to us, and my Massachusetts-based cousin Dr. Richard Morris made a contribution of $25 that is worth $50 to us. Thanks to both of you.
The most recent contribution is a very generous $100 made by my Chicago-based cousin Nikki Bravo. Nikki, thank you very much.
Great news!! Based on our funding momentum to date, the school yesterday contracted for 1 week of engineering camp. The scholars at Amani now know they have at least a 1 week summer engineering camp starting on July 8th. The school will evaluate our funding next Wednesday to decide whether to extend the camp up to 3 weeks. This means we are embarking on a big funding push to reach $22,500 by Tuesday, June 18th. We currently have $6,685 across all funding platforms. Let’s Go!!
Anonymous donor, thank you for your $10 contribution that is worth $20 to us with the current match. Also taking advantage of the match is Karen Alphonse. Karen, thanks for your timely donation.
Thank you to Jordan Sewell and Dante Driskell for being our most recent funders. We like your taking advantage of the $ for $ match so that your combined $25 contribution is worth $50 to us. Thanks again.
Drum roll please ....... Private Donor # 1 is Reginald Van Lee. He's generously providing a $ for $ match up to $1,000 that expires at 11:59pm on Sunday night, June 9th. For more information on Mr. Van Lee, please see http://blackhistory.mit.edu/profile/reginald-van-lee/
We have a dollar for dollar match of up to $1000 that ends Sunday at 11:59pm EST. This match is coming from private donor #1 (wishes to remain anonymous).This means that if you donate $10 now, it is worth $20 to us. Please feel free to contribute and share with your friends.