SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — After a review of 169 proposals from 222 undocumented young people, living in 26 different states and hailing from 32 countries of origin, Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) has chosen the first five projects they will support through FUSE, the Fund for Undocumented Social Entrepreneurs, an initiative to foster and provide financial support for the entrepreneurial projects of undocumented young people working to create positive social change.
These five winning projects were selected based on the importance of issues they address, the innovation of the strategies they employ, and the positive social impact they will create. They are led by six undocumented social entrepreneurs who come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Peru, and the Philippines.
Over the next year, FUSE will disburse $250,000 in grants and provide these entrepreneurs the mentorship, coaching, and support they need for their projects to succeed.
The grantees chosen are:
The Family Reunions Project (project leaders: Alvaro Morales & Frisly Soberanis) – The Family Reunions Project (“FRP”) uses virtual reality (“VR”) technology to challenge physical borders and reunite undocumented immigrants to their families, hometowns, and home cultures. VR is hailed for its ability to transport. FRP utilizes this power to give undocumented immigrants and their families more immersive and meaningful connections to one another. VR reunions will begin with off-line, edited “VR postcards” but will soon include live-streaming and 3D-mapping. For more information visit: http://e4fc.org/frp.html
Gleam (project leader: Aashna Shah) – Gleam helps mental health professionals optimize the treatment they provide. It gives patients a secure digital platform to practice their therapeutic exercises, allowing them to stay connected to the recovery process at all times. Then, using deep text analysis, Gleam provides progress analytics to mental health professionals. These analytics give therapists deeper insight into their patients. Gleam is modeled to work with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is the fastest growing form of therapy in the United States. For more information visit: http://e4fc.org/gleam.html
The International Association of Trans Bodybuilders (project leader: Neo Sandja) – The International Association of Trans Bodybuilders (IATB) is an organization for Transgender bodybuilders. Since 2014, IATB has organized three bodybuilding and one powerlifting competition with a total of 32 competitors and media attention from major television networks. IATB competitors are ambassadors of change who inspire beyond body image and educate our society on Trans issues. For more information visit: http://e4fc.org/iatb.html
KeyJargon (project leader: Cris Mercado) – KeyJargon is an easy-to-use, free mobile career app that features key events, key organizations and industry keywords to boost the employability of young professionals. It allows users to quickly brush up on what to know and connect with whom to know across various career areas, so that they can build an authentic professional network and make great impressions on paper and in person along the way to securing career opportunities. For more information visit: http://e4fc.org/keyjargon.html
The “Yo Quiero Ser Micro-empresario/a” Project (project leader: Maria Mendez) – As Chicago’s first licensed “Mobile Prepared Food Vendor”, María Mendez is committed to helping other street vendors contribute their rich culinary culture by becoming licensed prepared food vendors and successful micro-entrepreneurs. The “Yo Quiero Ser Micro-empresario/a” project will advocate for policy changes to benefit the over 1000 food cart vendors in Chicago. For more information visit: http://e4fc.org/yqsm.html
E4FC believes it is important to support undocumented young people who are working to create positive social change as their contributions are essential to the future of our country.
“By highlighting these creative and highly motivated undocumented young people — and supporting the entrepreneurial projects they are leading — we show the benefits of welcoming and fully integrating undocumented young people into the fabric of American life,” said E4FC’s Executive Director Katharine Gin. “These are concrete examples of inspiring undocumented young people who are at the forefront of social change in the U.S.”
The FUSE initiative began as a conversation between Gin and journalist/author Jorge Ramos. As a longtime supporter of E4FC’s New American Scholars Program (which provides financial awards to low-income undocumented college and graduate students) Ramos wanted to deepen his commitment to E4FC and its mission. Gin proposed FUSE as a way to expand financial support and foster meaningful opportunities for undocumented young people nationwide, particularly those who are inhibited from pursuing their chosen careers because of their immigration status.
“In this political climate nothing is more important than telling the truth about the enormous contributions of undocumented immigrants to our country. FUSE is a tool for them to demonstrate their creativity and their commitment to this nation,” said Ramos. “The grantees chosen represent what can be done when imagination and effort are matched with a lot of determination. As I expected when we started with FUSE, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality, quantity and the depth of the projects we received. The projects chosen for funding have the added value of being created by immigrants with the purpose of improving the way we live.”
Since that initial conversation, a number of other prominent philanthropists and thought leaders also committed to supporting FUSE and helped to design it. They include The Grove Foundation; James Gutierrez; Robert, Colleen and Elise Haas; Jeff Hawkins and Elisha Wiesel; and Unbound Philanthropy.
For more information about FUSE please visit: fuse.e4fc.org
Any undocumented young person is eligible to apply for a grant through FUSE. E4FC considers an undocumented immigrant someone who was born outside of the United States, is not a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident and does not possess a green card, visa, or have status to be in the U.S. Applicants do NOT need to be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to qualify. E4FC expects to release applications for the next round of FUSE grants in mid-2017.
Founded in 2006, Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that empowers undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional and policy transformation. E4FC is a fiscally sponsored program of Community Initiatives. For more information, visit www.e4fc.org.
Jennifer J. Nieman
The Nieman Group