This year, I am honored to serve as your President and work with a talented group of Directors to lead our first-gen alumni community. We have accomplished so much in the past year. As I look forward, I aspire for our organization to have an even greater impact on FGLI students and alumni across Harvard.
The strength of our community lies in the inherent intersectional nature of our first-gen identity. Every one of us has a unique story and experience to share and to inspire. We must create a space where every member can bring their whole self to celebrate and embrace being first.
Because of this, we are committing to action to increase diversity in our membership, leadership, and student engagement so that it is reflective of each of us. We will continue outreach to other student and alumni groups in order to connect with FGLI individuals and allies in Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) communities. Our Governance Committee will focus on evaluating our programs and practices using anti-racist and equity standards to create a more supportive and representative organization for individuals from every background.
We also recognize the high-caliber and diverse talent among our members. Many of you joined FGHA with a desire to give back to the FGLI community in ways that leverage your skills and experience for impact.
To support member engagement, we are creating more opportunities for you to be actively involved in FGHA. We will do this by increasing alumni programming and events, having consistent and coordinated communications to members, and offering ways for you to become part of leadership through our committees.
Finally, the COVID crisis has brought to the forefront of existing inequities within Harvard and their disproportionate impact on FGLI students. In response, FGHA launched the Opportunity Fund to aid in the financial crisis faced by many students.
To address these persistent inequities, we will be laying the foundation for a permanent Opportunity Fund to provide grants to Harvard's FGLI students and reduce financial barriers to fully realizing their potential. The Fund will assist students in the pursuit of an opportunity related to their academic, professional, and/or social development. This effort will be coupled with advocacy work at Harvard for the institution to provide increased resources to reduce inequities for students.
I look forward to a year full of growth, impact, and service - with much fun along the way.
FGHA President 2020-21
OPPORTUNITY FUND: FINAL REPORT
Dear First Generation Harvard Alumni,
Amid the chaos of COVID-19 and the resulting campus closure, the FGHA Board committed to supporting our students. Our community raised $90,000+ in emergency relief for Harvard’s first-generation, low-income students at the College.
We provided $500 unrestricted grant awards to 180 students from 35 U.S. states and 10 foreign countries. Grantees were 25% Black and 35% Latinx. Over 60% of grantees identify as women. Opportunity Fund grant recipients truly embody the incredible diversity of our first-gen community.
These funds provided immediate relief to students who continue to experience challenging, sometimes unsafe, circumstances that compromise the pursuit of knowledge.
- 45% of grant recipients are food insecure.
- 27% are housing insecure.
- 35% are helping to care for family members with medical issues
- 80% are from households experiencing job loss
- 30% live in a single parent household
- 14% come from undocumented households, ineligible for government assistance
Although our fundraising efforts have come to an end for now, most of these issues remain unresolved for these students. FGHA leadership is in conversation with folks from the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Alumni Affairs & Development, and the Harvard College Fund to explore ways in which Harvard can continue the legacy of the Opportunity Fund. We're not sure where these conversations will lead, but it is clear that we have identified an area of real unmet student need for the University.
We thank everyone who was able to donate to the FGHA Opportunity Fund. If you'd like to find more ways to contribute your time and talents, please don't hesitate to reach out.