Final Mile Fund
For many students, that final stretch to completing their degree is tough. They’re juggling debt, possibly working multiple jobs, balancing physical and mental health with mounting academic demands, grappling with what can sometimes be overwhelming expectations, and on top of everything else, trying to line up the next step in their career.
For some students, this is just part and parcel of getting a degree, and they thrive on it. But for many, it’s one of the hardest parts of the journey. And for a few, there’s such a thin line between coping and not coping that the slightest hurdle can derail their progress to success.
This is why my wife Clare and I established the Final Mile Fund in ASU’s College of Global Futures. With a seed endowment of $25,000, we set out to establish a unique fund for helping students through the “final mile” of their degree program.
But this is just the seed — for the fund to be effective, we need to grow it substantially. And this is where we need your help!
For more information on how you can help these final mile students reach their potential, please read on, and consider supporting us — thank you!
Why a Final Mile fund?
When I was an undergraduate, I wasn’t a high-achiever. I was one of the last generation of students in the UK to have my university education completely paid for by the British government. If it wasn’t for this, I most likely wouldn’t have gone to college at all.
It’s hard to believe looking back that the career I’ve followed and the impacts I believe my work has had, all depended on an investment in me as a teenager that was not dependent on what I had achieved, but based on the promise of what I might go on to achieve.
Too often these days, we reward achievement and overlook potential. And yet, some of the most amazing students I’ve worked with don’t reveal just how amazing they are until after they’ve graduated. And many of these only succeeded in their degrees because someone believed in them, or gave them a helping hand when they could so easily have looked past them.
I’m sure this will resonate. How many of you can look back and identify a point that, if not for an act of kindness or faith from others, your life would have been very different.
It’s precisely because of this that the Final Mile Fund is so important to myself and my wife. This is not a fund that’s designed to reward high achievers, or to cover the hefty costs of getting a degree. Rather, it’s to provide students with support in small ways that can, nevertheless, mean the difference between them completing their degree or floundering. And ultimately it’s about small acts that can transform lives and, as a result, the lives of others.
The fund is initially intended to help students approaching the final mile of their degree in small ways: helping with the cost of business clothes or a decent haircut for a crucial interview perhaps; providing financial support for conference attendance or networking opportunities; taking the edge off essential upgrades to education-related technologies and transportation fees; or supporting physical and mental health and well-being in myriad ways–the purchase of a slow cooker to support healthy eating habits maybe, or contributing to the cost of health-related activities, or enabling easier access to counseling or other forms of mental health support.
In the long term though, we hope the fund grows large enough to provide more substantive support to students as they face the final mile between where they are now and completing their degree.
Working every day with our students in the ASU College of Global Futures, I see so much potential to nurture and empower people who, one day, will contribute mightily to the future we aspire to. But only if we give them the breaks they need now to succeed.
How you can help
For the Final Mile Fund to be effective, we need to see our initial gift of $25,000 grow to closer to $250,000. This will require some hefty donations, and if you are looking for substantial ways to support students, or you’re interested in supporting my work on ensuring their success, I would love to talk more with you.
That said, every donation helps, no matter how small.
So how can you be a part of this and help our students become the agents of change they have the potential to be? Here are three simple ways you can help us grow the fund:
You can donate directly to the fund by following the link below. If you can make a recurring donation, that would be amazing! If you are actively looking for ways of changing the lives of students, this is a powerful way to make a difference.
If you are looking to make a substantial investment in supporting students in extremely practical ways, please consider making a contribution to the Final Mile Fund. As an endowment, the impact of large gifts increases over time, ensuring a continuing legacy of support and empowerment. Contributions can be anonymous, but we would also be thrilled to acknowledge and celebrate major supporters for their contributions.
Tell others about the fund
We’re painfully aware that many of you reading this will not be in a position to donate, and may actually be in need of support rather than being able to give it. But you may have friends, family or colleagues who are looking for opportunities to support students in need of help.
If you do, please do encourage them to check out the Final Mile Fund, and consider contributing.
However you contribute, thank you — it means a lot to Clare and myself, but even more to the students who will benefit!
And if you are a student looking for support, someone who is working with students who could benefit from the fund, or simply curious about learning more, you can visit the fund information and application web page here.