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  • Writer's pictureElevate to Even+

Elevate to Even Plus Embarks on a Record-Breaking Year

Founder Andrew Walker Shares Insight

Elevate to Even Plus ("Elevate+"), under the stewardship of founder and president Andrew Walker, is ushering in a groundbreaking year as it prepares to launch its 2024 internship program. With a focus on empowering marginalized students, Elevate+ is rewriting the narrative of access and opportunity in education. Walker shares insights into the organization's evolution and the strides it's making in creating transformative experiences for underserved youth.

"Founded just four years ago, we're still learning and growing from year to year," Walker shares. "This year, we adopted a new budgeting approach, which had the potential to limit the size of our program during a one-year transition. However, extraordinary funding from the Greater Cleveland Partnership and several of our host partners contributing their own funds towards the interns' wages has meant our program is actually on pace to become larger than last year's."

Walker's words encapsulate Elevate+'s commitment to innovation and adaptability. From its inception, Elevate+ has been dedicated to providing underserved high school and college students from marginalized backgrounds with access to life-changing internship opportunities. These students, predominantly of color from low-income households, have demonstrated exceptional achievement or potential in various aspects of their lives.

With each passing year, the organization evolves, refining its strategies to maximize impact and reach more students, and adding enriching activities like networking events and a speaker series to provide a more holistic experience.

For Elevate+, 2024 marks a significant shift in fundraising tactics. "For our first three summers, we determined the cost of the summer program and then proceeded to fundraise intensively to cover our costs," explains Walker. "However, from 2024, we've started to raise money for the following year. So 2024 fundraising will pay for 2025 internships."

Despite facing a short fundraising window for 2024's internships, Elevate+ has secured vital support from various sources. "Since we only finished raising the money needed to pay for 2023 internships last November, we had a very short window to raise money for 2024's internships," Walker reveals. "As a result, we raised only a small fraction of what we funded in prior years for this summer's interns. Greater Cleveland Partnership will provide the lion's share of funding, enough to cover over 30 internships in the Cleveland area. A grant from the Good People Fund will cover two more spots and several host partners in other locations will be self-funding all or part of their intern's wages to bridge the gap." 

Walker's insights highlight the collaborative efforts that drive Elevate+'s success. Through partnerships with organizations like the Greater Cleveland Partnership and host partners across the country, Elevate+ is able to expand its reach and provide more opportunities for students. "We are so fortunate and grateful for all the additional help this year," he said.

As Elevate to Even Plus embarks on its most ambitious summer yet, Walker's vision serves as a guiding light, propelling the organization towards even greater heights. With a commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and student empowerment, Elevate+ is poised to make a lasting impact on the lives of many more students for years to come.  


Help is still needed

While the organization is in a great position to fund all interns' wages this summer, Elevate to Even Plus continues to fundraise for it operating costs. These costs include our staff member and activities that the interns participate in, such as networking events and professional headshot photoshoots. The organization continues to seek corporate sponsorships and individual donors to provide this critically important funding for this year. Supporters can provide essential funding here:

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