Help Octavia Get to Harvard

Hi everyone,

Thanks to an overwhelming amount of support from LinkedIn, I’m starting this GoFund Me to accept community help to make my next year in the Global Health Care Leadership Program at Harvard University possible.

The entire cost is $30,000.
Since it is a certificate and not a degree program, traditional financial aid and student loans are not applicable.

Thank you so much for anything and everything you are able to contribute. I’m humbled and honored and I can’t wait to pay it forward with my life’s work.

Warmly and with much gratitude,

Octavia Reese, MHI

Healthcare Informatics & Digital Engagement Strategist | CX Designer | Thought & Innovation Leader
Founder, OcTech Health
Author, Artist, Cellist
Connect with me on LinkedIn

Below is my original post from

Twenty days ago, I was preparing to be homeless. Today, I’m still letting this news sink in: Harvard Medical School Executive Education has invited me to join their program for Global Health Care Leadership.

SKIP TO THE END: please point me to executive learning funding options for Black single moms!

I haven’t been too active on LinkedIn lately because I’ve been using all of my energy, brain cells, fingers and toes to hold the fraying ends of my life together.

When I was unexpectedly laid off in March, I needed my credit cards to stay afloat. That meant my credit score tanked. And my lease was almost up. I spent months searching and hundreds of dollars applying and was perpetually denied housing for either having a low score or having children (I know the latter is illegal and I have a pending claim…). I’m making more money now than I ever have, but it didn’t matter. I’m educated, talented, independently providing for my family of four…and I couldn’t find anywhere to live.

 Being a single mom is often excruciating. Because when you’ve spent years rebuilding your life after divorce, you don’t have a “nest egg” to fall back on. When you’re laid off, there’s no one to pick up the slack. When your score tanks, there’s no one to co-sign for you. When you can’t do it anymore, there’s no one to hold you together. I imagined a dozen different ways to erase myself, but ultimately, the same children that society wants to penalize me for are the same children that keep me alive and fighting.

Within hours — HOURS — of my scheduled move, I found a home.

This, the 40th summer of my life, has been the most exhausting — emotionally and spiritually and financially.

From graduating from Northwestern University to co-leading a wellness immersion in Bali, to getting stranded in Saigon, to coming “home” to near homelessness, to wanting to end it all, to remembering who TF I am and who I need to live for, to a housing miracle, to a dream apartment that can only be explained as divine intervention, to being accepted into this program at HARVARD UNIVERSITY(!!!)…

 I really don’t have words beyond overwhelming gratitude. For the love, support, encouragement, check-ins, resource-sharing, networking, and general community care that has kept me not only alive, but somehow thriving, through this season.

 I don’t often use religious words but I am so BLESSED to still be here and to somehow still be logging wins.

Thank you thank you thank you I didn’t get this far to hit a financial wall.

The program is $30k. Where are the grants that will make it possible?!

If an apartment can appear out of nowhere, so can the funding for my next year at Harvard. If I have nothing left, I have faith!

Donations (93)

  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous
    • $1,000 
    • 4 mos
  • Oluseye Kuye
    • $250 
    • 7 mos
  • Agata Pelka
    • $25 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $15 
    • 10 mos


Octavia Reese
Chicago, IL

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