As Miami’s hospitality industry felt the coronavirus' toll and political and social tensions boiled over nationwide, Club Space owners Coloma Kaboomsky, David Sinopoli, and Davide Danese began looking for ways to support the community at large. The 11th Street venue had been closed throughout the summer, but the partners still wanted to take part in the conversations surrounding systemic racism in the U.S.
The partners quickly shifted into finding ways of giving back and decided they could help by empowering the BIPOC community through access to higher education.
On November 16, Club Space announced the Space Scholarship Fund, an initiative looking to raise $12,000 to grant $4,000 awards to three students in Miami-Dade's under-represented and systemically oppressed communities.
“My business partners and I were trying to really see where we fit in and where we could make an actual difference for our community, for our city, and the people who don’t have the same opportunities you can find in this country,” says Kaboomsky, who moved to the United States from Ecuador with his parents as a child and recalled the difficulty in seeking access to educational grants and scholarships.
The Space Scholarship Fund is aimed at students looking to pursue careers in the arts or hospitality industries. Applicants must self-identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a person of color — including Latino, Asian, and mixed-race people — or they must qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), temporary-protection status (TPS), or be undocumented. They must also be a high school senior or undergraduate college freshman, sophomore, or junior. Eligible students have until December 31 to submit an application.
Students must submit a recent photograph, transcripts, and a list of any volunteering or community service they've completed, as well as any at-home responsibilities. There's also a required essay, which should include a self-introduction, a description of challenging personal or family circumstances, a statement with education and career goals, and an explanation of how the applicant plans to make a positive impact in the community — all important points for the selection committee.
“We believe that we needed to have some form of action that could also be a thing that could go on and not just be a one-time thing," Sinopoli says. "It’s a scholarship that we are hoping could continue to build upon itself and have many people over the years engage with it.”
The scholarships will be funded through a line of merchandise available on Club Space’s website, with 100 percent of the profits going toward the awards, and via the team’s GoFundMe page, where anyone can make a donation.
If more money than the initial $12,000 goal is raised, an additional scholarship will be awarded to a fourth student. In the event the goal is not met or the amount raised falls short, Club Space says it will match the remaining quantity.
Winners will be announced by January 30, 2021.
“We strongly believe that education is one of the basic tools that are available for the advancement of the community, which is why we elected the Space Scholarship Fund as our answer to really make a difference in someone’s life and, as a return, that person will also make a difference in the community,” Kaboomsky says.
To apply or donate to the Space Scholarship Fund, visit clubspace.com/space-scholarship-fund.