We're Closegap.

We're a couple of committed, clever, cheeky changemakers who envision a country where everyone, no matter the circumstances they were born into, has the opportunity to learn, self-actualize, and realize the magnitude of their potential. Starting with high-impact coping strategies, emotional regulation and growth mindset orientation, we activate the brilliance within every student to realize the positive life outcomes they deserve.
 
 
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Rachel Miller

Co-founder + Chief Executive Officer


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As a formerly low-income kiddo, who experienced homelessness and has a 9/10 ACE score, Rachel has lived the problem Closegap addresses. She has a deep understanding of poverty and trauma, and heeds the nuances that exist, all the while, knowing there is an individualized and scalable solution that can meet every child where they are. She believes there are profound systemic forces at play, but that we must first focus on the experience of, and power within, each individual.

“If we focus in on each child’s interaction with his or her environment, and build out little, adaptive systems within each of their bodies, we will begin to solve this problem. Being born into poverty and trauma no longer has to be a life sentence.”

Before Rachel launched Closegap, she worked in sales at a media intelligence/AI startup, in strategic partnerships at an accelerator, and in fundraising at a nonprofit, tech startup. 

Rachel earned a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship from the Graduate School of Business at University of Amsterdam, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Marshall School of Business at USC.

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Laura Sanford

Co-founder + Chief Design Officer


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Laura has 8 years of experience working with children and youth in a variety of capacities including mentorship, legal advocacy, and teaching. She has absorbed first hand how students undergoing trauma experience learning within the systems that exist. She has seen how young people heal, grow, and evolve when offered a more holistic path forward. 

Design, art, and storytelling have empowered Laura to not only advocate for, but to create a better, more inclusive future - where space exists for all people to to be heard and to influence.

With the critical eyes of a systems thinker, Laura finds strength in building connections between the complexities of our existing world. As an idealist with incurable, child-like curiosity, she sees the world as it can be and strives to create a conversation around how it should be. Laura believes in the process, the strategy, and the opportunities that come from thoughtful and courageous design.  

Laura has a Master of Design (M.Des) in Interaction Design from California College of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from UC Santa Barbara.

 
 

 
 

Advisors

Mike Berkowitz
Co-founder & Principal, Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies

Darin Hollingsworth
Sr. Philanthropic Advisor, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Erin Houchen
Design Director of Innovation, Visa