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Former First Lady Michelle Obama and Michelson 20MM Foundation President Phil Kim 
participates in College Signing Day event honoring Los Angeles students for their
pursuit of a college education or career in the military, May 1, 2019, on the UCLA
campus. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy)

To kickoff our Spark Grant program the Michelson 20MM Foundation awarded $25,000 to Better Make Room. Better Make Room is Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s effort to inspire every student in the U.S. to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.

The grant supported Better Make Room’s evidence-based texting intervention tool Up Next, which focuses on helping underserved students register and take college entrance exams, complete college applications, complete or renew the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Better Make Room partnered with Michelson 20MM’s portfolio company AdmitHub to create a Facebook Messenger Virtual Assistant that can anticipate and respond to approximately 80% of the questions students might ask about the college-going process. The Virtual Assistant responds to the most commonly asked questions with the most commonly used responses. For those unique questions the Virtual Assistant is unable to answer, those questions are escalated to real college advisors. The Virtual Assistant allows Better Make Room to effectively scale their impact and reach more students.

The Michelson 20MM Foundation and its initiatives are made possible by the generous support of Gary K. Michelson, M.D. and his wife, Alya Michelson.

We will be conducting Phase 2 of the Michelson Spark Grant program in July. To learn more please visit our webpage or sign up for notifications via the form below.

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