Blue Ridge Labs at Robin Hood is a Brooklyn-based social impact incubator. Our programs encourage entrepreneurs, designers, and developers to build products for communities that are often overlooked by technology.
Our 2015 Fellowship class of Product Managers, Designers and Engineers will be tacking these important issues during the 12 week intensive summer program:
Tens of millions of Americans participate in the informal economy whether by working as day laborers, running “side gigs” to supplement income, or otherwise earning money outside of formal business institutions. In fact, ~9% of all economic activity in the US takes place informally and most of this activity is concentrated within low-income communities.
There are an additional ~18 million workers taking advantage of the emergent “sharing economy” created by the likes of Uber and Homejoy and estimates suggest that independent workers will comprise 50% of the US workforce by the year 2020. This workforce, however, often excludes immigrants who face language and regulatory barriers despite having the appropriate skill sets.
While non-standard or independent work can be attractive due to the ease of entry and flexibility, workers rarely receive any benefits or protections against wage floors, nefarious employers, or sub-par working conditions. Did you know:
We believe there are ways technology can help low-income individuals better utilize informal or shared marketplaces, and so in 2015 we’re asking how we might...
There are more than 40 million children across the US participating in preschool, elementary, and middle school programs, and we know their time outside the classroom - whether in the preschool years or over summer vacation - has a meaningful impact on their learning.
On average, low-income students lose two months of reading and spelling progress over the summer, while their middle-income peers actually make gains. This is just one example of how the opportunity gap manifests as an achievement gap - an inequity that’s all the more troubling as it can persist and even compound over time.
Low-income families face resource constraints that leave them with many fewer quality options when it comes to outside the classroom care. Did you know:
We believe there are ways technology can help ensure all families have access to high quality care, and so in 2015 we’re asking how we might:
If you're passionate about a challenge faced by under-served New Yorkers that doesn't fit into one of our focus areas, we'd love to hear why you think it would be a good fit for our fellowship.
What are we looking for? Topics where technology has the potential to address an issue that's particularly important to low-income Americans. But also where there's an opportunity for you (with our help!) to set up multiple touch-points with people who are actively facing the challenge you want to tackle over the course of the summer. As an example, no one wants to talk about filing their taxes in July...
We'll also want to know why this topic matters to you, what ideas you have about what you might build over the summer, and where those ideas came from.
There's a separate field in our application for you to pitch us on your idea, so pick the role that's best for you and tell us all about it.
Are you a New Yorker who works multiple jobs, cares for young children, or has trouble making ends meet? Join our Design Insight Group (DIG) and get paid to share your experiences and test out new products.Learn More