The Mission for Harvard Tuition!

$95,491 of $50k goal

Raised by 1,370 people in 21 months
Toni Morgan  Toronto, ON


I did it.

I faced my biggest fear. I silenced those inner voices of doubt and the voices of anyone who doubted me. I faced the sun and respectfully declined the invitation to live among the shadows of my insecurities and other people's perceptions. 

It's true that I've been homeless . It's also true that I never finished high school. Overcoming the obstacles of poverty, homelessness and marginalization are achievements that have shaped me into the person I am today . But access to housing and basic education is a right. Getting into Harvard is a privilege. 

On January 5th, 2015 at 11:49PM after 5 months of self-talk and 18 months of academic preparation. I submitted my application to Harvard University.

For the 5 months leading up to the submission deadline, I heard voices:

"Don't be unrealistic"
"They'll never let you in"
"You're not like the rest of them"
"You don't belong"
"You're not smart enough"

The closer I came to hitting "submit", the louder the voices became. Was I actually good enough to attend the most prestigious university in the world? The voices in my head kept telling me no- and I had reason to believe it. After all, I dropped out of high school and failed math and English repeatedly. But the only voices that affect your actions are the ones you give power to. So, rather than arguing with those voices, I let my actions do that talking. In the midst of another Toronto cold- snap while most of the city was asleep and getting ready to head into work after the long holiday I asked myself the question one more time, "Was I  good enough to attend the most prestigious university in the world?" I stared at the crimson red and white web page, took a deep breath and hit that "submit" button.  

Last month, I was accepted to attend Harvard University.

It took me 3 days and a phone call from the school to believe it, but now reality has set in. I hit my target and with it a new reality has set in:

I'm an international student with an unconventional education path.

There are no scholarships for people like me to attend Harvard University--- probably because nobody ever expects people (formerly homeless with an unusual academic path/accomplished young professional, but too young to be considered mid-career) like me to attend a school like Harvard.

This is exactly why I created this campaign. 

Tuition plus living expenses for an international student is $71,000 USD. That includes roughly $50,000 USD for tuition  including mandatory health insurance and other fixed student fees plus $21,000 USD to live in Cambridge, MA.

Including GoFundMe's fees that comes to a total of $93,720 Canadian dollars. My GoFundMe campaign is in CAD.

Now here's the kicker: In order to secure my US student visa to attend school in the USA, I need to provide evidence of $71,000 USD by May 15, 2015. Yep, that's in about 5 weeks.

My biggest issue is covering tuition. No tuition, no Harvard. I will live on a park bench if it means I can attend this school, but I need your help to make sure I get there.

 This is what my GoFundMe campaign is for

QUESTIONS FROM THE CROWD
Since launching this campaign, a number of you have asked questions and given me some great advice. Below are some of the more common questions I've been asked:

1)  What will you be studying at Harvard?
I'm a high school drop-out with a unconventional academic path. So naturally, I'm interested in the ways in which people who don't neatly fit into systems and institutions manage to thrive/survive in the world. So I'm doing a Masters of Education, with a focus on non-traditional/alternative education (i.e. arts education). With that type of specialization, I get to enroll in classes at the Harvard Business School, Harvard Law and MIT.

In the long run, I want to combine my policy and strategy background with my education. This will allow me to support alternative education organizations that focus on the arts, digital learning and economic development in a meaningful way.

2) Why are you only asking for $50,000 CAD (or $41,000 USD)? That covers less than half of what you need. I thought you needed $71,000 USD?

I will graciously and humbly accept support that allows me to cover 100% of the funds I need to get to Harvard. If you're thinking about offering that level of support, I will be eternally grateful. 

3) Are you going to have a party or a fundraising event?
I would like to and am just sorting out the details. If you'd like to help, feel free to give me a shout!

Fun fact: If I meet my $50K goal, I will only recieve approximately $45,000 because GoFundMe charges a 5% fee, plus 2.9% withdrawl fee from WePay + $0.30 per transaction . So help me exceed this goal!

Thanks in advance for your support!

Photo by: Isa Ransome
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Update 8
Posted by Toni Morgan
19 months ago
4
4
Happy Mother's Day! I hope everyone has been spending their day with their mums, grandmums and the women who are the mother figures in your lives. I know that both my chosen and biological family is huge and today has been full of calls of love for the strong and courageous women who have made me who I am today.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there.

Now to everyone else (including the mums):

Hello beautiful people! Can I call you that? I find that there is so much power in acknowledging and addressing people as beautiful.

In the months after I moved out of the shelter system for good, I met a woman who would later become a dear friend. One of the things I remember when we first met was the way she greeted me: "Hello beautiful! How are you today?"

Years later, as I began my work with women and girls, I would do the same thing. Initally, my greetings were met with confusion. They looked at me curiously and often in disbelief, convinced that they were the subject of a practical joke. After a few meetings I continued this practice and their confused silence became reluctant laughter. Then after weeks of my stubborn commitment to this practice, they relented to my refusal to acknowledge them as anything less than beautiful, and responded to confirm their acceptance.

It's been 5 days since my "Mission Accomplished!" message and I've finally accepted that this is real. No, I'm not referring to the fact that I'm going to Harvard (which I am), but that you folks are really here- you are now an important part of this new chapter of my life.

As we speak, I am typing this update from New York City. The video will explain why I'm here, but more importantly THIS IS MY LAST #HarvardBound campaign update.

We did it.
You did it.

Thanks.

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Update 7
Posted by Toni Morgan
19 months ago
6
6
Mission accomplished!!!

I have met (and now exceeded) my goal!!

What started as mission impossible has turned into a dream fulfilled. I'm having trouble uploading my video. So, the official update will come tomorrow. Until then, I hope you're relishing in the fact that you are now part of an international narrative about the possibilities that emerge when people come together. I am now living proof of that, and it's something that will shape and inform my work moving forward.

More to come tomorrow!!

Big love,
Toni

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Update 6
Posted by Toni Morgan
19 months ago
3
3
Hey #HarvardBound supporters!

It's been a week since we last spoke and I figured it was time to check in. This has been yet another prodigious week in the world of this campaign and I couldn't be more pleased with how things are unfolding.

This week began with a great 25 minute interview on Sirius XM radio and ended with my story making front page news at Boston Globe. Yes, you read that correctly- we are officially international news!! Special thanks to Linda Matchan for sharing my story with the folks in my soon-to-be home city! Also, I'm so excited to announce that as a result of your support we made crowd funding history. According to GoFundMe, #HarvardBound is one of the most successful education campaigns in GoFundMe's history.

Wow.

I have to say that this has been quite emotional for me. I have shared hugs, tears of joy and laughter with the beautiful souls who have noticed me on the street. I've never felt more supported and connected to anyone the way I have felt since this campaign started. It's such an honour to be on this journey with you and I can't wait to celebrate when I hit my goal!

As you may remember, I needed $71,000 US dollars to reach my goal. This campaign is in Canadian dollars. So I adjusted my target to $93,720 to account for the exchange rate and GoFundMe's fees.

Check out my video to see where we're at.

Thanks everyone and have a great weekend!

Toni

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Update 5
Posted by Toni Morgan
20 months ago
5
5
$710000 Canadian dollars!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart EVERYONE!

This morning I was on CTV (see the interview here). Then I did a phone interview with KISS 92.5. It's been another great day!

I'm heading to a youth event right now, but wanted to share this with you while we're all still in the moment.

Thank you again everyone!
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 2.3K total shares

$95,491 of $50k goal

Raised by 1,370 people in 21 months
Created March 14, 2015
AL
$25
Arlene Levin
13 months ago (Monthly Donation)
AL
$25
Arlene Levin
14 months ago (Monthly Donation)
AL
$25
Arlene Levin
16 months ago (Monthly Donation)
AL
$25
Arlene Levin
17 months ago (Monthly Donation)
AL
$25
Arlene Levin
18 months ago (Monthly Donation)
LR
$250
Liz Rykert
18 months ago

You are an inspiration Toni!

$50
Anonymous
19 months ago
1
1
AL
$25
Arlene Levin
19 months ago (Monthly Donation)
1
1
DS
$100
Diana Schreiber
19 months ago
2
2

Here is some support from overseas! Couldn't believe what I just read, I'm so so proud of you! You go girl!!!

CS
$50
cecelia scribner
19 months ago
1
1

I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. If you ever get a chance drop me a line

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