[UPDATE] “New Jersey Needs You” Mentorship Program Receives XRP Donation

NJNY_2012Class_stock3A little while back, we announced a XRP donation to the “New Jersey Needs You” (NJNY), a nonprofit organization that fights for economic mobility for ambitious, low-income college students. We love the program they run to match first-generation college students with young professional mentors and other development resources. Through our donation, we sought to help arm NJNY students with the technology they need to succeed in college.

NJNY used the donation and the Ripple network via the Bitcoin bridge to purchase laptops, tablets, cameras and more for their fellows. The NJNY team and their fellows shared their touching stories and thanks with us.  In the spirit of the season of giving, we thought we’d pass on the heartwarming letters.

Fellow #1

“I’m studying currently in my junior year at Rutgers University – the state university of New Jersey – studying Accounting and Business Analytics. As the first in my family to go to school, I tried to prepare as best as I could for the work, classes, and majors … and I’m doing well. Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of textbooks I was expected to buy.

“To save money, I purchased as many e-books as possible. I read them on my cell phone, and always wished I could access them on a larger screen … something on which I could pull up an e-textbook and a PowerPoint at the same time, but not so heavy as a laptop. Selfishly, I also hoped to be able to read a newspaper or magazine in-between classes. I needed a tablet.

“When NJNY announced a partnership with Ripple Labs, I emailed our Executive Director every day asking to help in any way. I found a Samsung Galaxy Tab III – the perfect tablet. I even explained to other Fellows why a tablet may be more convenient than a laptop or desktop. Thanks to Ripple Labs, I can utilize more e-books and other learning resources … and I can even read the newspaper everyday with electronic subscriptions. Even more, I can watch my lectures while I’m on the train!

“Thank you so much to everyone at Ripple Labs. I am very excited for NJNY’s partnership with you, and I’ve added Ripple Labs to the list of places I would love to find out more about and maybe intern at.”

Fellow #2

“This is my first year at Rutgers-Newark after earning my associates degree with honors from community college. I thought I would major in liberal arts, but I really love graphic design. Specifically, I’ve always volunteered to create designs, flyers, and logos for the campus and community groups that I volunteer with. After college, I would love to find a career that mixes my love of art, graphic design, and people. During school, and especially for my NJNY Fellowship, I need to find an internship.

“I don’t have the same tools that many of my classmates in graphic design have. I don’t have a digital camera, laptop, and/or design programs that my classmates use. When NJNY told me about Ripple and math-based currency – I hoped that I could find any of these. With the amount of money we were allowed to spend, I got a digital camera and a laptop. They connect to each other so I can store and transfer images. I couldn’t find advanced design programs, but I’ve already found a lot of free programs to get started.

“This is much more than I really expected, so thank you so much. I left community college confident and I got to Rutgers feeling overwhelmed. I know I have a lot more work to do, but now I feel like I have a fighting chance. Thank you.”

NJNY_2013Class_stockFellow #3

“I’m a civil engineering major at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). I’m very good with numbers, and understand the science classes and engineering concepts. Last summer I interned at a small firm working on a state project. The company wasn’t a Fortune 500 firm, and wasn’t in the tallest building or the fanciest part of town, but all of its engineers were very smart and good at what they do. They also had great equipment – smartphones with engineering apps, tablets, laptops, 3D printers. I always knew that technology was important but I didn’t understand how you can’t do your job without it, even from a small company.

“I’m back at school and my grades are doing very well. I don’t need anything like 3D printers or a new phone – my classes don’t have projects like that. I could really use a new tablet and a desktop computer.

“I really appreciate the math-based currency gift from Ripple Labs. I know my family appreciates it because our computer at home is old and I spend so much time on it that no one else can use it.”

Fellow #4

“I’m an accounting major at Rutgers. Most people from where I’m from didn’t go to college, and when I got accepted I didn’t know what else I could be besides a doctor, lawyer, or teacher. My family was supportive but had no advice for me. College has already opened up my eyes, and NJNY has allowed me to explore many different industries. I know I’d like to be a CPA, but now I realize I can be much more than that.

“I enjoyed exploring math-based currency, and how both the law and consumers have adjusted to using it. It’s another new world that I wasn’t aware of, but it impacts me. Like many other students, I needed a tablet to cut down on books. I still have additional math-based currency to spend in the future. I’m very excited to explore the possibilities.

“Thank you so much for this opportunity. I’m as excited learning about currency and sending it internationally just as much as I’m excited about my new tablet. I hope to have much more to write the next time I get to spend some currency.”

NJNY_BothClasses_stockNJNY team

“We at New Jersey Needs You (NJNY) are incredibly proud of the 50 Fellows that are currently in our program. All of them have overcome adversity to make it to college and succeed academically despite not having the same access to resources and professional networks that many of their classmates have. Despite this, NJNY Fellows have obtained internships at prestigious organizations such as BCG, Boeing, Goldman Sachs, NASA’s Marshall Space & Flight Center, PwC and many more. While we’re proud of the one-to-one relationships our Fellows have with their Mentor Coaches, the professional development workshops every other Saturday, and the modest professional development grant that we provide – our staff goes home each night wondering how we can make up for the resources we cannot provide. Enter Ripple Labs.

“The gift of math-based currency has not only allowed Fellows to get electronic and academic equipment, but it’s also opened up a new topic for our Fellows. We care about financial literacy, and are Fellows are collectively learning more about math-based currency and open markets than most of their peers. For our first ‘test’ of purchasing, NJNY ordered HD camcorders in order to record our Fellows’ mock interview sessions and ‘review the game day tape’ with them. They have already begun to realize their nonverbal cues and behaviors in ways we could not have explained fully to each person. The gift is amazing, and we are excited to see what our Fellows do with their currency.

A”s an organization, we could not be more proud of our partners for helping us support first-generation college students. We are especially thankful to Ripple Labs for their partnership and support.”