In a landmark initiative to champion the needs of student parents, the Michelson 20MM Foundation is proud to announce the inaugural cohort of the California Student Parent Pooled Fund.

The groundbreaking endeavor seeks to address the unique challenges faced by student parents, fostering equity and systemic change for this often overlooked demographic. 

The Need: Empowering Student Parents for a Brighter Future

With over one-fifth of U.S. undergraduate students being parents, the need to support this population is evident.

In California alone, approximately 486,454 students juggle the responsibilities of parenting, while pursuing higher education. Student parents—predominantly people of color, women, and those facing financial constraints—encounter obstacles that hinder degree completion. The goal of this project is to bridge these gaps and ensure the success of student parents in higher education. 

Grantmaking Priorities for a Multi-Generational Approach

Housed at the Michelson 20MM Foundation, the California Student Parent pooled fund is a collaboration between multiple funders who are focused on supporting student parent work in our state.

The fund focuses on a multi-generational strategy, simultaneously supporting both student parents and their children. By combining best practices in early childhood education and post-secondary education, the fund aims to support student parent advocates and prevent the fragmentation and siloing of student-parent work in California. 

Grantmaking priorities revolve around research, movement building, education, awareness, narrative change, and policy advocacy. From improving data collection on student parents to scaling programmatic best practices, the fund will catalyze change at various levels. 

Introducing the Inaugural Cohort

Please join us in welcoming the inaugural cohort!

The Urban Institute, will conduct the Skills and Training in Action Research (STAR) Fellowship, which employs current students to develop policy-relevant research questions on student-parent issues in California. The students will become leaders in supporting policy and practice for student parents. 

Three Frame Media has produced a cinematic short film series featuring a diverse array of stories encompassing the lived experiences, systemic barriers, and successes of student parents. With the goal of building a movement and driving awareness of student parent voices and narratives, this project will expand the impact campaign for the student parent film series through September 2024 with a national watch party campaign aligned with Student Parent Month. Three Frame Media will build a coalition of partners and stakeholders to support and elevate the student parent narrative showcased in the short film series. 

Northwestern University’s College Belonging and Connection for Families (CBCF) program will be adapted to California colleges to enhance institutional resources and support for student parents. CBCF offers students opportunities to reflect on their unique strengths and goals for themselves and their children, while learning from other student parents. 

Early Edge California is committed to educating policymakers on the vital need for accessible childcare for student parents. Their project focuses on researching challenges, developing a compelling message, and collaborating with advocacy groups to emphasize the short and long-term benefits of investing in childcare for student parents. 

Join us in celebrating these projects, which will catalyze change and empower student parents for a future filled with opportunities and prosperity. Thank you to our funding partners: California Community Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and Stupski Foundation. Together, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of student parents in California.   

Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation working toward equity for underserved and historically underrepresented communities by expanding access to educational and employment opportunities, increasing affordability of educational programs, and ensuring the necessary supports are in place for individuals to thrive. To do so, we work in the following verticals: Digital Equity, Intellectual Property, Smart Justice, Student Basic Needs, and Open Educational Resources (OER). Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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