We are excited to launch the C3 Mobility DAO, a new type of student-led improvement community with the shared goal of increasing the number of underrepresented students who graduate college, transition to the workforce successfully, and are positioned to achieve social economic mobility. This is critically important work because only 24% of underrepresented high school graduates complete a bachelor’s degree, and just 31% finish an associate’s degree. For most, the problem is money (Straighter Line Partners). Even with a full financial aid package that often includes loans (or future college loan debt), college students with low incomes at 4-year public colleges in 2011-12 had $12,000 in total expenses after financial aid options were exhausted. In order to close this price gap, students are cutting costs of their basic needs such as food and housing” (CSU report). This gap explains why 66% of Black and first-generation college students face food insecurity, and 18% are houseless. Needless to say, it’s hard to pass classes when you have to work full time, or when you don’t have enough to eat.
The C3 Mobility DAO takes a simple – yet surprisingly uncommon – approach to this problem: We nurture a student-led improvement community where students are compensated for their participation. First underrepresented high school seniors are matched with mentors who are on track to graduate from the same college. Through these peer relationships students receive support and develop a sense of belonging at college. Within this community, students use the tools of continuous improvement to chart a collective path towards college success. 
This student-led community is organized as a DAO, or decentralized autonomous organization, operating on crypto rails. Instead of adding (another) full-time job, students can earn cash for participating in the community. For instance, they earn direct payments  for planning events, mentoring other students, participating in decision-making, participating in marketing and fundraising, administering grants to other students, and meeting milestones towards college success. Via the governance token (OPP) of the C3 Mobility DAO, students oversee, manage, and distribute the funds themselves. Thus, the C3 Mobility DAO replaces top-down philanthropy with a decentralized, transparent, student-led community where funding flows directly to the young people themselves. 
We believe that DAOs have the potential to bring together student communities to address real world issues like inequitable educational outcomes. The C3 Mobility DAO launches with the ambitious goal to incubate a new type of educational philanthropy where direct cash transfers are administered by the student community. Inspired by the positive outcomes of conditional cash transfer programs in Latin America in the 1990’s while avoiding the paternalistic nature of mandating certain behaviors without community involvement, we hope to inspire new policy approaches. Finally, we have come to believe that networks should become decentralized over time and that having community ownership and governance is an important step in that direction.