2021 Impact Report
Updated: Apr 10, 2022
2021 interns Alexis, Stevensky, and Cyan
It goes without saying that 2020 and 2021 were disruptive. COVID-19 and its variants have interrupted our way of life and caused millions of people to perish worldwide. It’s forced us to adapt, change, and find a new way forward.
The pandemic did not, however, disrupt structural inequities in our society, it highlighted them as we saw people of color suffer disproportionately. The murder of George Floyd during this time also made many of us realize that we needed to be the source of change. It was this realization that sparked the creation of Elevate to Even Plus, which goes by Eleven+ in its day-to-day operations.
Eleven+ was born from a “light bulb” moment during a mid-2020 group conversation about race. We were talking about the inequities that exist all around us in ways that most seldom notice and how each of us can take action for change. An example was given about a nonprofit that had made a pivot away from a common model for staffing its internships with children of donors, usually for free, to instead hiring students from the communities they served. “This was a fantastic start,” I thought out loud, “but most underserved students who could benefit most from internships can’t access them."
Intuitively I knew that students needing money for school and living expenses would never be in a position to accept unpaid internships, regardless of the opportunities they might be offered. Research later substantiated this as a real phenomenon. According to one Harvard Business Review article*, unpaid internships perpetuate inequality.
“Wouldn’t it be great if someone started an organization that provided access to paid internships?” I quipped. Claas Ehlers, the CEO of the nonprofit Family Promise, responded, “That’s a great idea, and I want to help you do it.”
Indeed, many wanted to help and, with the support of countless others, Eleven+ has gotten up and running. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see an idea resonate richly with others so that, together, we’ve been able to make an impressive impact so quickly. I’ve learned so much over the past 18-months, but I am ceaselessly amazed by the generosity of time, knowledge, relationships, and resources that continue to be shared by so many of you.
Andrew P Walker, Founder & President
*Harvard Business Review, “It’s Time to Officially End Unpaid Internships”, May 26, 2021
Year 1 Impact
Your can read our inaugural impact report here.