Introducing the Alexandra Cristin Foundation and the $100,000 Women's Fund!
Okay, you got me. As a mother of a girl child, I'm a total sucker for seeing girls win. I celebrate every milestone made by my daughter, Ava. She's my little Picasso—I dare you to find another finger painter better than her. She's my favorite cheerleader! Oh, and she's super cute too and gives the best hugs and kisses.
When I look at her, I envision a world that will make room for her if and when she decides to follow in her mommy's footsteps in becoming an entrepreneur. Setting a foundation for her in anticipation of her future wins has been one of the driving forces that keep me going even on the craziest days. So, thank you, Ava, for choosing me as your mommy and turning me into a certified hustler.
When I launched Glam Seamless at the age of 23, in 2012, I did with only $1500 to my name—that's not even enough for a studio apartment in most parts of New York City (my residence at the time). But one thing about me, I know how to stretch a dollar and find killer deals :) I take a pragmatic approach to saving money. Hey, when you grew up poor, you know to make every dollar count.
Once upon a time, I called Harrisburg, PA home, living with my mom who did her best to provide for us. As you can imagine single motherhood can be financially burdensome, so the private piano and dance lessons, or private anything afforded to my more affluent peers, alluded me until the age of nine when I attended Milton Hershey School, a boarding school founded by philanthropist and chocolatier, Milton S. Hershey of Hershey Chocolate. This school was specifically for students who came from low-income households, so I fit right in. I attended the school until the age of eighteen when I headed off to college at Pace University, majoring in Business Management.
I think about the Milton Hershey School often. If it wasn't for the generosity of the Hershey Foundation, I might have fell victim to the perils associated with poverty.
Fast forward to 2021, Glam Seamless is a household name in the hair extensions industry and is worth 8 figures. And while I know it was my grit, hard work, and perseverance that propelled me into success, I can't imagine that my trajectory would have been possible without the impact of the Hershey Foundation.
And now I, Alexandra Cristin, would like to pay forward.
Introducing the Alexandra Cristin Foundation, where women and girl empowerment are at the focal point of our mission! Our first order of business: Create more self-made boss babes through education and mentorship.
To kick off Women's Month, specifically on March 8, 2021, for Women's International Day, I'm giving 100K in scholarships to 40 girls (15-20) and aspiring women entrepreneurs (20 and over) in need, at $2,500 each. This will be done biannually. Young girls/identifying girls and women/identifying women severely impacted by the pandemic due to COVID-19 are encouraged to apply.
Personally, it's not enough to tell young girls and women living in poverty to just dream big and study hard without giving them the tools to succeed. And with a protracted pandemic, escaping poverty via education has become even tougher when the priorities are to stay safe and to put food on the table instead of furthering your education.
The application is pretty straightforward. We want applicants' names, locations, ages, etc. Also, we want them to write a brief description of their imminent needs.
Scholarship funds can be towards tuition, books, computers, tutoring cost, etc. But here's something even more important than the funds can be used towards Mental health resources! Do you think I can manage everything without having my Shrink on speed dial???
In all seriousness, I'm a great proponent of people seeking professional help via a counselor, life coach, or support group to deal with the emotional tolls of life and entrepreneurship.
Please note that the scholarship funds don't have to be used toward college-related endeavors. If applicants find a coding boot camp or a certificate program that could help them land a job in months, then the funds can be used toward that. Perhaps they need a career coach or a resume writer, then the funds can be used toward that as well.
Success for everyone looks different. And while I believe one of my life's missions is to create and help nurture self-made boss babes through philanthropy, not everyone wants to be a BOSS. And that's okay! I just want to afford girls and women the necessary tools just in case they decide to take the plunge.
Know a young girl or woman who can benefit from a $2,500 scholarship? Share this post with them ASAP.