The ISLA Academic Gift

Financial and Mentorship support for students

Part of

More here.
The 2020 Gift.
Visuals by Berns at Berns Design Studios.
Music: ‘Black Parade’ – Beyoncé.

What is the ISLA Gift?

The ISLA (pronounced ‘Isla’) Gift is an annual initiative founded in 2020 by Imani, which pledges to support and invest in a number of black students each year with (a) a financial gift towards their study costs, (b) a personal academic mentor, and/or (c) access to a network of additional subject-specialist partner mentors.

Hear from the winners themselves:

What are the prizes?

In 2020, our 17 winners received:

  • £100 crowdfunded cash gift towards their studies.
  • A personal academic mentor for a year.
  • Access to a network of 30 subject-specialist Partner mentors for a year.

Outside of our 17 winners, we also matched 21 more applicants with a personal mentor for the year from our 30 mentor Partners. These 21 are our Gift Mentees.

In all therefore, the ISLA Gift helped 38 students in 2020-21. 

This year’s cash prize amounts will be updated and announced as donations come in, but will start from a base line of at least 2 prizes of £50 cash with personal mentorship with Imani.

How did it all begin?

Click here to read the full story of how a personal pledge to give 3 students £50 and mentor them for a year, blossomed into a cash gift of £1700 raised in 4 weeks for 17 students, plus 21 additional students being paired with a personal mentor for the year!

When will next year’s applications open?

The 2021-2022 Gift will be launched in early summer. Check back here then for more information, or follow Imani on Instagram and Twitter to be the first to know when applications open.

Enter your email address in the top right corner of this page (on desktop) or scroll down (on mobile), to subscribe and receive the announcement blog post directly to your inbox.

How are winners chosen?

Applicants complete a series of questions around why a year of 1-2-1 mentorship will be useful to them, how they would spend the cash gift if they won it, and how they plan to make the most of the prize of access to our network of 30+ Partner mentors.

We also give every applicant the chance to share their story with us, including any particular hardships they have faced, or are facing, that would make the gift more meaningful to them. Winners last year gave full, authentic answers that expressed clear goals, showed conscientiousness, and were backed with demonstrable examples.

We do not select winners based on past academic record, age, or gender; we are interested in their story and their vision.

Some more of our winners (because they’re amazing) 😎

Full round-up of last year’s winners: