i was at goldman sachs today!
I got involved with MOUSE starting in 1998. We were a start-up non-profit trying to bring the Internet to kids who had no access through the schools. There was no doubt in anybody's mind that if we didn't help close the digital divide it would become too big to ever close. As there were many entrepreneurs involved in MOUSE, from a Board perspective and also financially supporting our efforts, because they were all wondering where their workforce was going to come from.
Over the years, as technology changed, so did MOUSE. Fundamentally, although it has been over 10 years, the ideas we had then have been executed on. To me, that is one of the many successes of MOUSE. I see so many ridiculous business plans for another non-profit cross my desk which could easily be an arm of a larger organization or an idea that is already being worked on and funded, MOUSE has proven to be different.
First of all, we are a lean mean machine. The business is treated like a profit run organization. We have grown partnering with organizations in other states and countries so that we don't have to spend ridiculous amounts of cash getting our programs to the schools. We are working with groups that want to "represent" us and roll our programs out. That is why our staff is only 8 people. 8 super smart executives that only care about the end game, helping kids.
Today, there are a variety of programs. The 2 most important are MOUSE squad that helps and supports students in their own schools become the technology experts in their school, the go to people, hence the IT people. As more and more kids go through the program, where almost 90% of these kids go on to higher education, we have created MOUSE Corps which helps kids prepare for their future through resume building, interviews, etc. I am incredibly proud of what this group has done. Quite frankly, I am constantly blown away every time we cross another avenue and extend the arms of what we do.
Next we will roll out the ability to use MOUSE programs for free with information on the web site. There will also be MOUSE boxes sold to any school which will help them roll out the program with more guidance where kids can then start to be involved with other kids, through the web, who are linked to MOUSE, to create learning environments about technology. Every school that works with us has to pay something. It you pay for something, and believe me it is nominal, it makes you take what you are receiving more seriously.
So today, I was at Goldman Sachs. One of the VP's of Corporate Engagement was the Development officer for MOUSE when I was there in the day. She was and is fantastic. It was great to see where she is now. It is just like watching MOUSE grow, to see all the original crew moving up in their lives and careers, is well, in a way very satisfying. What is even more amazing is that everyone keeps up with MOUSE and shows up at the annual events. Why, because the continued success makes us all feel great.
I could go off for hours on Goldman Sachs but I will say that she is involved with a program there that is quite cool. GS has put $500 million dollars behind this program. Yes, $500 million. That makes a serious impact in the non-profit world and the people they have running it are internal and knowing the person I know, I can pretty much bet the crew at GS behind the Corporate Engagement group are organized, efficient and making sure this money goes to exactly what they set out to do.
The program is called 10,000 Women. What I like more than anything is that GS has created one mission and they are executing on it instead of putting money all over the place. In the end, that works. 10,000 women is a 5 year investment providing women around the globe with business and management education. $200 million will be spent on fundamental training to women that already have businesses from Nigeria to Africa to Finland. You have to apply to get in. The amount of women applying is huge, so much that they only take 14% of them in. The other $300 million is being filtered into specific money lenders to lend money to these small business owners at almost nothing. It is so important to have their own skin in the game. This is a good way to do it.
So, as it was a nice reunion among the group today at GS, it was nice to see GS putting that type of money behind women who have small businesses around the globe by teaching them, in simple language, to fish. It will be interesting to see what they have accomplished when 5 years is up.
As for MOUSE, we just finished doing an internal review from an outside agency to see what we have accomplished. It is impressive how many lives we have touched and changed. That is why I am heading up this capital campaign. Although I am no longer chairing MOUSE or sitting on the board, I have continued my involvement because I have history and I just love how they continue to make an impact. How could you not?
Now that we are in 58 countries and I believe 12 or more states. I'd like to see MOUSE in every state, every school. At this point, MOUSE squad can begin in 4th grade, where it used to be HS. Kids at that age get it too.
I am going to steal this quote from the website because to me, this sums it up.
MOUSE builds on the motivation, skills and abilities of any school’s greatest resource – its students. MOUSE
provides a unique opportunity to use technology as a catalyst to
motivate students to stay in school, enhance academic and 21st century
skills and cultivate the talent for the workforce of tomorrow.
Am I gushing?