The Rise Prize was created by Imaginable Futures — a venture of the Omidyar Group — and the Lumina Foundation, along with a group of partner organizations, to leverage direct investments in innovative solutions that support student-parents.
Imaginable Futures and Lumina believe that postsecondary success for parents is crucial in improving educational outcomes for entire families and supporting the journeys of millions of families to economic mobility, with postsecondary success defined as a traditional degree or a non-traditional credential, certificate, workforce development, and alternative college pathway program that leads to economic mobility and overall well-being.
The competition is designed to increase the number of innovative solutions driving postsecondary success for student-parents. To that end, ten awards totaling $1 million will be awarded in support of solutions that drive economic mobility and well-being for student-parents. Three types of awards will be available through a single application process:
Early Stage — New ideas and solutions anchored in initial customer validation (user testing or pilots, market research, or a plan for customer validation). This can include pre-seed and seed startups that have developed a plan for customer validation and research; established organizations exploring new ideas and solutions for student parents; and/or academic institutions and social ventures at testing or pilot phases. Six winners from the early stage category will be awarded $50,000 each.
Mature Stage — Defined by solutions provided by organizations that have strong conviction about their ability to serve student parents and are looking to take that work to scale. For venture-backed startups, this means Series A and beyond. These solutions should have demonstrated product/market fit and strength of the market; and measured impact on customers or end users. Three winners from the mature stage category will be awarded $200,000 each.
"Riser's Choice" Prize — $100,000 awarded by the competition’s student-parent judges to one winner from either the Early Stage or Mature Stage.
The competition welcomes applicants working on innovative solutions that directly impact postsecondary success for student parents at scale, including nonprofit organizations; for-profit companies with edtech solutions; and higher education institutions (including departments or teams within higher education institutions; academic institution associations; or alternative career pathways programs, including workforce programs, credentialing programs, and bootcamps).
Equity and inclusion is a central theme of the competition, and applicants from all sectors and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Applications are due by May 17.
For more information, see the Rise Prize website.