If you had $1 million, how would you change Rhode Island’s BIPOC community? For many young people of color finding a path to attending college or a university after high school, obtaining safe and affordable housing and having access to healthcare is not easy. The barriers are numerous, but most come down to financial need. In fact, according to RI Kids Count, a smaller proportion of black or Hispanic high school graduates than white graduates enroll in college, and more than 80 percent of Hispanic, black, and Asian students have a gap between their financial need and grants and scholarships, compared with 71 percent for white undergraduate students. Persons of color also may lack affordable housing and access to healthcare services.
The Papitto Opportunity Connection seeks to help Rhode Island high school students (including homeschooled ones) of color to get past the financial obstacles to higher education, affordable housing and access to healthcare services while also empowering them to create change in their communities. This scholarship is designed to help clear those financial barriers, be they for tuition, housing, healthcare or other related costs. Additionally, it is designed to seek out the most creative ideas from young Rhode Islanders of color on how to transform the Ocean State in the areas of education, skills training, business, healthcare and housing to benefit the BIPOC community. The top three entries will receive a one-time award, and the Papitto Opportunity Connection will invest $1,000,000 to activate the winning entry.