Project 99

Project 99 : Inclusive Leadership Platform

Boston , United StatesSanto Domingo , Dominican Republic
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Project 99 develops inclusive leaders who can focus on the similarities of all people while leveraging our differences. Our mission is to empower and develop leaders who can create social impact around diversity and inclusion— as it deals with gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and age.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if diversity and inclusion practices could be leveraged to empower millennials to start their own social ventures and create economic development everywhere?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In the Dominican Republic, one-third of the population is under 14 years old, yet the government only spends 4 percent of its GDP in education. Severe Dominican-Haitian relations, feminicides, and corruption also pervade the island. Millennials lack access to resources and opportunities; young people suffer from a lack of inclusion as there is no proper education system empowering them to be leaders and entrepreneurs.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Project 99 is developing the next generation of inclusive leaders for “the new inclusive economy”. Economic development can only occur if we continue to include all types of people and empower them to envision and facilitate the change they want to see in the world. Project 99 delivers weekly-long intensive and engaging programs for millennials across the Dominican Republic. Our approach is global competency—local citizenship. Our curriculum integrates entrepreneurship and inclusive leadership in order to empower and train young leaders to make change in their local communities. By bringing diverse people together, we can facilitate spaces of inclusion and collaboration where solutions can be discovered and launched.

Awards

Resolution Project Fellow, Hispanic Heritage Foundation/Entertainment Software, Babson Global Glavin Grant
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

After our pilot in the Dominican Republic, we have been able to witness amazing results. Daniel is one of our 99 Leaders; Daniel is a teacher at an elementary school and is now studying for his masters. Daniel’s vision is to start a movement for LGBT rights in the Dominican Republic, but he does not have the network or resources to get started. Through our programming, he has been able to gain leadership training and access to mentorship through our network which has allowed him to launch his own initiative, titled “LGBTQ Youth Leadership and Empowerment Program”. He has hosted workshops for groups of 30-50 students and has created a lot of impact locally.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Project 99 is currently made up of 30 young millennial leaders; our family is set to expand in the upcoming year. However, just with our 30-member community, we have been able to enable change across the Dominican Republic. Many of our leaders, like Daniel, after the program have gotten to meet top business executives such as Don Pepin Corripio. Rey, from a small town near the capital, just last week spoke to a class of 50 high school students about potential career paths and university resources. 20% of our leaders applied for the Clinton Global Initiative and are awaiting a response. 100% of our leaders have a job or are going to school; we awarded one academic scholarship to one student in need last summer. 95% of our students are involved in community services or initiatives with big organizations such as TECHO. We are set to release a documentary soon with funds that were left over.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Through the 99 Framework, success is measured by answering 3 different questions: Did we enable leadership? Did the student accomplish its goal within 6 months/1 year of program? Did the student improve his or her global mindset? In order to amplify the potential success, we are recording our summer programs to highlight our leaders and give them control once again of their story. Our first documentary will be released in January 2016. We do not want our summer programs to be the end; simply the beginning. For a more detailed introduction to our spread strategies, please view the presentation.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our model consists of 3 phases: summer programming, Corporate programs, and idea labs (labs will be discussed later). Currently, we are aiming to implement our programs in Dominican Republic and Mexico during the the summer of 2016. Although 90% of our participants will come from the local country, 10% of the spots will be sold to millennials across the globe. Secondly, working with corporations and providing our programs will generate revenue.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Project 99 has analyzed its competitive landscape and admires all of the work social ventures are doing all over the world. For example, there is Bakongo in Columbia who offers summer programming for youth across all age groups to get together and learn about community service. Watson University and Unreasonable labs are also role models in this space of leadership enablement. Project 99 differs, because it places inclusive leadership at the forefront; we believe that diversity and inclusion are key to collaboration and development. Thus, it should be integrated into formal programming.
Team

Founding Story

Right before I entered college, I began to experience what I call “the 99% to 1% Story”. In high school, when applying to colleges, people told me that being a “minority” will help and that the more I mention my story as an immigrant, the closer I would get to been admitted into top colleges. Identity politics have become problematic in the 21st century complex; if a person is raised in a rural area, we create this single story about them. We might say they have poor education. If a person grows up rich in a city, we might say that they are arrogant and that they do not care. Labels have become dangerous and based on 1% difference; Through Project 99, we can bring everybody to the table.

Team

Project 99 has a 6 person team; 2 are based in the Dominican Republic. Roelisabell (full time), our coordinator in the Dominican Republic, studied communications and works as a free-lance political advisor and writer. Karina (part-time), our curriculum leader in the Dominican Republic has a master in economics. The other 4 attend Babson College and are getting a management degree. As co-founder, Yulkendy, has interned in EY and has worked in development projects abroad including Rwanda. Josuel, co-founder, has interned with Goldman Sachs and has worked with various organizations such as Junior Achievement. We have recently added two new people with expertise in marketing and branding. Leinado has interned in PWC and Paulina has interned in nonprofits in Mexico. All of us have diverse skills, but at the same time have the business background to make Project 99 sustainable. We also have a large group of advisors who are either experienced social entrepreneurs, activists including Pulitzer Prize Winning Junot Diaz, or corporate professionals.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Resolution Project

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I have always been a visionary but in college I decided I wanted to act. Since I have been a freshman, I have been working on Project 99. It has pivoted a lot, but since it was launched, it has created a space in my heart and vision. I look forward to pioneering other initiatives in the future, but I am proud to say Project 99 is my first one. With Project 99, our team has been admitted to attend the Clinton Global Initiative twice. I have been accepted into the Harvard Kennedy School Public Policy Conference for undergraduates. I have also received a lot of learning from my current abroad experience in Russia, India, and China which was a venture in it of its own. I have also traveled on school projects to Rwanda, Argentina, and Uruguay. I have participated in various community service initiatives that I learned a lot from, and I am excited to continue my work.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

I am working with Babson College, because it is an entrepreneurial hub. I chose to attend Babson, because I knew I will be surrounded by entrepreneurs, activists, and resources. Babson has always been there to support me with financial resources and business acumen.

Resolution Project has supported me to an incredible extent. I get to have monthly call with my advisors about Project 99. I also get mentorship from everyone in the organization's team. Their partners are also able to provide expertise: from logo design to survey impact creation.

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