Campus & Community

PBHA vies for $1 million award

3 min read

Facebook voting competition runs through Jan. 22

The good deeds of the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) are being handsomely rewarded, and the nonprofit group may be in line for more aid shortly.

The Chase Community Giving Facebook competition, which recognizes small and local charities, last month awarded the student-run, community-based public service organization $25,000. The much-appreciated award also advances PBHA to the final round of the competition and gives the organization a shot at $1 million.

Voting for the final round, which calls for nonprofit finalists to publish one “big idea” that would greatly expand their services to the community, runs through Jan. 22.

PBHA’s proposal is titled “200 Kids to College: Getting In, Getting Through.” It aims to send 200 low-income Boston and Cambridge high school students to college over the next four years, and also to ensure that each student graduates.

“We have a pipeline that goes from cradle to college, and this million dollars would allow us to fill in this missing link of college access, really focusing on high school,” said Emily Parrott ’09, PBHA nonprofit management fellow.

Currently, PBHA has mentoring programs for low-income youths in Boston and Cambridge, both after school and in the summer. But the group’s goal of helping young students get into college, and stay there, will be aided by the recent grant from Chase, and even more so if PBHA is chosen by the Facebook community, which votes on the award.

Inspired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s “Getting Ready, Getting In, and Getting Through” initiative to increase college graduation rates of local youth by 50 percent, PBHA hopes that if the “200 Kids to College” program can make a difference in the lives of that many young people, the effect will be exponential.

“Part of PBHA’s mission is developing student leaders, so we want to work with communities. We also want to be a community-based organization,” said Parrott. “We want to work with young people and see them come back to their community and create change on a larger scale.”

Parrott added, “The leadership development programs we have so far [are] a good example of giving high school students the activism skills that they can use to engage in college activities, and college gives people the skills to go back home and really holistically change communities.”

To vote in the contest, visit the Chase Community Giving page on Facebook. In addition to the $1 million prize, Chase will donate $100,000 to five runners-up.

Even if PBHA’s “big idea” doesn’t go all the way, the publicity is a boon. “Another great part of this is it will get PBHA’s name out there … and our vision for social justice.”