In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital divide was something that many students faced with the challenge of at-home learning. Formerly known as the Boosts Resilience Fund, the Microgrant program was established to provide students the small 'boost' they need to unlock their full potential.
"It is estimated that up to 12 million students — and some of their teachers — don’t have Internet access at home, and many of the 13,000 U.S. school districts don’t have the resources to provide what is needed without outside help." – Valerie Strauss, Editor at The Washington Post
This year, our team awarded 14 resilient and hard-working individuals with Chromebooks, noise-cancellation headphones, and school supply kits. We received hundreds of applications from resilient and deserving students all over the country.
Ultimately, 14 students were selected based on their resilience and hardship. Simply put, every student who applied wholly deserves the access to a proper education. Each student's commitment to their education hasn't been an easy feat in the face of the pandemic and personal challenges.
Our Recipients at a Glance
- Recipients are from all over the country, from California to Virginia
- 2 out of 3 recipients identify as first-generation
- 2 out of 3 recipients identify as female
We hope you'll join us in giving a warm round of applause to all of our inspiring Microgrant Recipients!
How You Can Support To Close The Digital Divide
- Grow: Learn and amplify resources on the digital divide
- Donate: Make a tax-deductible donation for our future programs
- Waitlist: Share our microgrant program with your friends
Bell, CA - Zhiyi Z. is a freshman at East College Preparatory School. Earlier this year, her father passed away from COVID-19, leaving their family as their sole financial provider. Her mom is currently out of work and is providing for both her older siblings in college. Her father’s passing heavily impacted her family’s financial situation. Now, she spends most of her time drawing and hopes to continue digital drawing with her new Chromebook.
Gustine, CA - Liseth is a sophomore at Towns High School. In the past, Liseth has worked during the summer to purchase personal items like a phone, clothes, and shoes for herself when her parents couldn’t afford them. Now as a sophomore in high school, her school-provided computer won’t be able to stay with her as she takes college classes over the summer. With her microgrant, she’ll be able to attend her classes and ease the financial stress on her parents!
Jamaica, NY - Mushfiq M. is a high school senior who will be attending Notre Dame College this fall via QuestBridge’s National College Match. With his Chromebook, he wants to give back and help his community. As COVID-19 spread to New York, many of his community members were unable to access a variety of COVID resources because of language barriers. Mushfiq, along with some friends, created an ENL (English New-Learners) Club to translate various documents, help community members apply for unemployment and SNAP benefits, and is now partnered with Queens Public Library! There are currently 300 active members in his club, and he wants to expand the program to all five boroughs of New York.
Elmhurst, IL - Ariela is an upcoming senior for the Fall 2021 school year and is based in Illinois. Ariela helps out a lot in her household, setting up three meals a day, helping her younger siblings with schoolwork and technology, and balancing her academics. She is very excited to have received a microgrant and is eager to maintain her connection with Close the Gap!
Chino, CA - Francine is a freshman in high school who's interested in art and loves to read! With this Chromebook, she hopes to ease the financial stress on her father and share her laptop with her siblings for online assignments during remote learning.
Richmond, VA - Leah is a junior in Virginia attending a specialty center school. During quarantine, she helped write a children’s book about traditional Chinese medicine as she’s an aspiring writer who's interested in public health. With her Chromebook, she wants to continue earning her AA degree and engage more in school!
Noise-Cancellation Headphone Recipients
Newport, TN - Kamila is a junior in Tennessee. Due to the pandemic, she visits local cafes and grocery stores to get a stable internet connection for her schoolwork. Now, whenever she needs to enter those environments, she’ll be able to focus more on her work without nearby distractions.
East Elmhurst, NY - Henry is a senior in New York. With both parents at home, he finds it difficult to concentrate on his schoolwork during classes. With his new headphones, he’ll be able to hear better during class and focus on his homework effectively.
Milpitas, CA - Aya is a freshman at Milpitas High School in California. During quarantine, she worked with an organization called Help Aid Africa to raise over $7,000 for Yemen. As president of her Sunday school, she also teamed up with other students to hand-make over 75 masks for the homeless in San Jose! She hopes that with this microgrant, she’ll be able to better focus in class and wishes to stay connected with Close the Gap to join our Fellowship program in the future.
Azusa, CA - Samuel is an 11th grader at Azusa High School in California. Samuel hopes that with these headphones, he'll be able to do schoolwork from home more effectively. This is the first scholarship that he's applied for. His mom, who has struggled with dialysis, is on disability and unable to work due to COVID-19. He hopes that with his noise-cancellation headphones, he can focus more in school and improve his grades.
Valley Center, CA - Cristian is a senior at Valley Center High School in California. During quarantine, he’s found it difficult to pay attention during class with siblings and his mom also at home. With his microgrant, he's excited to be able to pay more attention during class and hopes to be able to finish college without debt.
School Supply Kit Recipients
San Rafael, CA - Cristy is a junior at San Rafael High School in California. Both her parents lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Both of her parents lost their jobs due to COVID-19. On top of that hardship, both Cristy and her dad became ill with COVID-19. Cristy was initially referred to our program by a close teacher and applied to pay for her school supplies without having to ask her parents. With this microgrant, she hopes to become the first in her family to go to college.
San Jose, CA - Destiny is a freshman at Oak Grove High School in California. She lives with her siblings, including a sister with medical disabilities and her single mom. Her family has fallen under a lot of financial stress, and her mom has to spend a lot of money on everyone's school supplies. Destiny wanted to change that, so she applied to our microgrant program to help ease the financial stress on her family – an act that made Destiny's mom very proud.
San Jose, CA - Destiny Ochoa is a freshman at Oak Grove High School in California. She lives with her siblings, including a sister with medical disabilities and her single mom. Her family has fallen under a lot of financial stress, and her mom has to spend a lot of money on everyone's school supplies. Destiny wanted to change that, so she applied to our microgrant program to help ease the financial stress on her family – an act that made Destiny's mom very proud.
How You Can Help Close the Digital Divide
Read more about the Digital Divide on our page and learn how you can donate here.
Cover photo courtesy of Unsplash's Freddie Marriage