Prepared Mind Grant Proposal
PREPARED FOR Paul Blaha The Prepared Mind
PREPARED BY Maya Crosby September 20, 2022
Re: Prepared Mind Grant
It was good to speak with you some time ago, and I’m so excited that you are opening your grant cycle again this year.
I’m looking forward to the opportunity to discuss my grant proposal with you if possible. The venture I’m proposing is something I have been passionate about for some time and I would appreciate the chance to innovate in this space. Funding my proposal would allow me to expand upon the skills I have to reach a new community and make an impact.
Maya A. Crosby
1. Short Biography
I have been an educator for more than 20 years, with all ages from kindergarten through adult. I am curious and fiercely motivated to explore the fascinating aspects of human life and how we interact with the planet. Because I am a science and technology evangelist, I have connected learners to biology, chemistry, marine science, the history of medicine, the science of cooking, and now computer science. I have been successful at creating learner-centered and authentic educational programs in a variety of learning spaces. My skills and experience are summarized on my LinkedIn profile. Some awards and accolades I have received are:
● Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Technology Leader of the Year ● Finalist, Space Grant STEM Innovation Challenge
● Coca-Cola, Educator of Distinction
● Hemphill Dedication Award for Science Educators
In the last 10 years, my area of focus has been on technology and innovation - how we use technology tools in education and in our communities. Recently I have been exploring other career areas focused on learning outside of formal PK-20 education. I have been working on designing learning experiences for adult learners, mostly with nonprofit organizations.
The skills I would like to build upon with this proposal are: making connections between learners and resources, helping groups of people define problems and use feedback to focus on problem solving, identifying and defining practical solutions that are low investment but high impact.
The reason I still love education in spite of all the frustrations is that we are all constant and curious learners - it’s a universal human need. As a teacher in K-12 education, my skill has been to craft the synergy that works for a student to learn the particular content I am teaching.
I now want to use my skills to connect other skilled people in order to ensure everyone can learn through digital resources - whether that is how to apply for a home improvement loan, or to enroll their child in community college, or to get a discount on prescription medication. Although these resources exist and they are theoretically
accessible, many people can’t or won’t use them in practice because of perceived lack of comfort, the wrong tools in hand, or lack of support for a disability.. It is an even more significant issue among already marginalized populations.
The problem of practical digital equity can’t be solved by giving people laptops, or cable Internet access - it has to be solved at the grassroots level - by a dedicated community - and I want to build that community. Other nonprofit organizations focused on digital equity mostly exist in the theoretical, working on policies rather than practice, or they provide tools that aren’t practically useful for their clients.
I propose to build an online community focused on improving digital equity in practice. The community will bring together people who are comfortable in an online space and help them work together to effect change in their communities. Perhaps that will be volunteering at the local library, designing tools for the needs of those whose only access to the Internet is through their mobile device, or it could be teaching their companies about the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines, or maybe it will be to offer free tutorials using the digital equity community’s online platform.
The project’s phases will be to analyze the existing digital equity space, research the platforms available, deploy the community with test participants, obtain feedback, and then advertise and deploy to the larger community. The output will be the community itself, its presence on the web, and its connections to other organizations.
3. Timeline, schedule, deliverables, resources
5. Resources needed for success
The resources needed for success for the digital equity focused community are:
● A cohort of colleagues (hopefully other grant recipients) to give initial feedback.
● Experts in the nonprofit or grassroots organizing area to give feedback before and after the initial phase of community development.
● Time to create and workshop this idea with the above community. ● Cost mitigation for some of the framework that will require spending.
● An “official” purpose to drive this work more than individual passion - a clear reason for others to join this group of like-minded and supportive individuals.
6. Other considerations
I would like to be able to start this project as soon as possible because I have some connections in the non-profit sector in my local area at the moment . This will make it easier to help with this problem sooner rather than later and make this project practical rather than theoretical.