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How were applicants selected for the MicroCash Grant?

  • Think Of Us received 27,000 qualifying applications for the MicroCash Grant. Due to the extraordinary number of applications, our goal of removing bias from the process, and our commitment to putting equity at the forefront, we used an algorithm to make the first round of selections. After the algorithm identified the chosen applications, our team members then read the chosen applications to verify and confirm the applicants’ eligibility, specifically their foster care status and the info they provided related to their needs. 

How did the MicroCash Grant algorithm work?

  • The algorithm selected applicants using a weighted ticket system. The goal of the algorithm was to reduce bias--which it did by randomizing, anonymizing, and automating the selection process--and center equity--which it did by giving greater weight to the applications that demonstrated the highest need.

Here’s how it worked: 

  1. All MicroCash Grant applicants immediately received one point for applying.
  2. Then, to put equity at the forefront, some applicants with certain experiences received additional point(s). For example, applicants who were homeless, identified as LGBTQIA, or currently sick with COVID-19 and not working were assigned an additional one point for each.  
  3. For every point that an applicant received, they received a corresponding number of tickets that got entered into the randomized selection process.. For example, if an applicant received one point, they were assigned one ticket in the selection process. 
  4. After all applications were ticketed, the algorithm then sorted the tickets randomly from 1 to X.  
  5. Following that, the Think Of Us team read all of the selected applications to verify that they met the minimum qualifications before awarding the MicroCash Grants to those applicants.
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