Sparking Change with Project Jumpstart

November 29, 2016 / New York City

Last month, we launched Project Jumpstart, a program that supports the causes most important to our New York City driver-partners by funding up to $20,000 of community initiatives each month. Each month partners are welcome to submit an application for a grant to fund a local initiative that supports their local community.

The submissions we received were truly inspiring.

Today, on #GivingTuesday, we’re thrilled to announce the first Project Jumpstart grant recipients. The 3 inaugural winners—Tashi, Miguel, and Harris—each have a special story to tell about why their cause is so important.

Each partner will help to bring their community closer together by providing resources, support, and a helping hand. Tashi is building a Tibetan Community Center, Miguel works to support the East Side House Settlement, and Harris brings home-cooked meals to the needy on Thanksgiving Day.

Tashi | Tibetan Community Center

Tashi immigrated to NYC 8 years ago from Tibet, where he was a sheep herder. In his 4 years driving with Uber, he’s met hundreds of other Tibetan immigrants. Despite having a population of nearly 8,000 Tibetans, New York City lacks a center to gather and celebrate Tibetan holidays and traditions. That’s where Project Jumpstart aims to help.

Tashi’s Project Jumpstart grant will help the Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey (TCNYNJ) build a community center in Queens, where Tibetans can find a home away from home and celebrate their culture. The community center is designed to hold over 3,000 people and will serve as place to hold Tibetan holiday celebrations, give classes, and provide working space for entrepreneurs.

What Tashi hopes Project Jumpstart will bring: Uber and Project Jumpstart is dedicating much-needed funds to build a community center right here in Queens which will give us a place to help bind our Tibetan community together.”

Miguel | East Side House Settlement

Miguel has been driving with Uber for just 4 months, but there is no lack of stories from his riders already. In addition to discovering new parts of the city, his favorite part of driving with Uber is “being able to lend my ear—and my figurative shoulder—for my riders.”

Miguel also lends a hand to the East Side House Settlement in the South Bronx, where his Project Jumpstart grant will go to provide supplies for night classes, including uniforms, cooking ingredients, guest speaker appearances, and snacks to support group programs. East Side House Settlement gives students academic, workplace, and secondary education to improve socio-economic opportunities for New Yorkers aged 17–21 years old. Miguel works especially close with the Young Adult Borough Center (YABC) that helps students make plans for post-graduation.

What Miguel hopes Project Jumpstart will bring: “I hope that this will help alleviate the financial burden to give more classes to those who need it most.”

Harris | Thanksgiving Meals to the Needy

Harris has one of the most impressive Uber ratings we’ve ever seen—nearly a perfect 5-star rating with over 4,400 trips. But what’s more impressive to us is what he’s been doing on his own for the last 5 years: buying and delivering meals to the needy on Thanksgiving.

Each year, he’s rounded up his friends and family who work at churches, nursing homes, and restaurants across the city to give food to those who need it most. Last year he fed 350 New Yorkers. We couldn’t think of a more fitting recipient during this holiday season.

Project Jumpstart was able to help Harris bring a warm meal to more than 600 New Yorkers this year.

What Harris hopes Project Jumpstart will bring: “I hope it made people feel loved and made them feel like they belong.”

We’re proud to call each of these amazing individuals our partners. And we’re even more thankful to have them as fellow New Yorkers building our communities.

If you’d like to learn more about Project Jumpstart, help support these initiatives, or apply for a grant, visit our Project Jumpstart homepage.