Berkeley author pledges to support college program

Berkeley author Ayelet Waldman has come up with a clever, not to mention generous, idea to help send a disadvantaged Oakland student to college through the Scholar Match program, established by her fellow writer and friend Dave Eggers.

Waldman has selected one student, Eddie Ashley, and is going to match every dollar her family, friends and readers donate. “You donate 10 bucks, I donate 10 bucks. You donate $1,000, I donate $1,000, up until we’ve reached Eddie’s goal of $6,000,” she writes. And there’s option B: buy the paperback of Waldman’s book “Bad Mother”, and she will donate $5.00 to Eddie. Option C: pre-order the hardcover of her new book, “Red Hook Road”, and she will donate $10.00 to Eddie.

Scholar Match, which was launched by Eggers’ 826 Valencia non-profit, works like micro-financing initiatives such as Kiva. Kids who need scholarship assistance post their bios on the site, along with the amount of money they still need for tuition. Donors sign up and donate either to a specific student or generally to the site.

Waldman says she and her husband Michael Chabon have been participating in the Scholar Match program for years. As she puts it: “We’ve helped send some amazing kids to college. The only problem with the program is that it can help only five kids every year. There is nothing more miserable than sitting in a room with 100 applications, each of them from fabulous, deserving kids, and having to say, “Nope, you don’t get to go. You don’t get to change your future.”

If you would like to help, contact Waldman through her website.