MontereySTART: New Micro-Philanthropy Platform at MIIS
Monterey Institute students have big ideas for making a difference around the globe. MontereySTART, the new micro-philanthropy platform at the Monterey Institute, was recently established to help students launch their innovative projects. Based on the successful MiddStart program created by Middlebury College last year, MontereySTART was introduced in August to serve as an additional source of funding for students embarking on service projects that complement their education.
Students must apply to have their projects featured on the site and applications are reviewed by a MontereySTART committee comprised of faculty from both academic programs and staff from across campus. Projects are judged on their goals and how they align with the Institute’s mission, the potential impact of the project on the communities they serve, and the level of organization and commitment demonstrated by the applicants.
Once their projects are accepted, students send their own appeals for support and follow up with donors through thank-you messages and project updates. Donors can opt in to be regularly informed of a project’s progress and the impact of their giving.
Students from a range of academic programs have already applied and had their service projects featured on MontereySTART:
• Professor Pushpa Iyer’s “Challenges to Peacebuilding” class raised funds to support their travel to South Asia in January to conduct vital research in war-torn Nepal.
• Team Peru offset costs of building sustainable greenhouses for rural communities in the Sacred Valley of Peru this winter.
• Four MATESOL students are putting theory into practice by providing free English classes to low-income residents of Monterey County throughout the semester.
The goal is to offer MontereySTART to students for years to come so they may have another avenue to support their projects and gain valuable fundraising experience. The platform also gives donors more options to support MIIS students directly.
To meet the students involved and learn about their projects, visit blogs.miis.edu/montereystart.