Through mentorship initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper and workforce development programs that include the Obama Youth Jobs Corps, former President Barack Obama has displayed his dedication to enriching the minds of youth. His next project is centered on empowering aspiring civic leaders.
Obama’s new program—dubbed The Voyager Scholarship—is collaboratively led by the Obama Foundation and the digital lodging platform Airbnb. It’s being funded by a $100 million gift the organization received from the company.
The nonprofit and Airbnb will provide students facing financial burdens with up to $25,000 for education expenses. Scholars—who are entering their junior or senior year of college—will also have the unique opportunity to curate a summer travel experience that will widen their scope surrounding issues faced by various communities throughout the country. The Obama Foundation and Airbnb will provide students with a $10,000 stipend and free Airbnb accommodations to help make their traveling aspirations a reality.
Post-graduation, scholars will receive a 10-year travel stipend to help them chart paths in the public service space. Students and graduates will also have access to networking and mentorship opportunities, including connecting with former President Obama and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to learn about the different facets of transformational leadership.
“If we want this next generation of leaders to be able to do what they need to do, they have to meet each other. They have to know each other. They have to understand each other’s communities,” Obama shared. “You’re going to find young people from every corner of this country who are going to be future changemakers. There are leaders everywhere. We just have to find them.”
Chesky added, “The Voyager Scholarship will broaden their horizons and give these young leaders tools and experiences that will shape their careers.”
The unveiling of the scholarship program comes nearly a year after the Obamas launched a Netflix series to teach youth about civic engagement and the importance of driving impact in their local communities.