Apply now for a 2013 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship
Fellows to receive up to $300,000 for ideas to improve life in Rhode Island
The Foundation has opened the 2013 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship, an annual program designed to stimulate solutions by Rhode Islanders to Rhode Island challenges. Made possible through the generosity and vision of philanthropists Letitia and John Carter, the Fellowship provides two individuals with up to $300,000 over three years to develop, test, and implement innovative ideas that have the potential to dramatically improve any area of life in Rhode Island.
“One year ago, we were able to transform the dreams of Letitia and John Carter into one of the Foundation’s boldest programs and the response from the community was extraordinary,” said Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of The Rhode Island Foundation. “We hope that once again, Rhode Islanders will answer this call and use their enthusiasm, creativity, and spirit to come up with new ideas about what can make our state better.”
The Foundation has asked a group of Rhode Island leaders to serve on the selection panel. Members are:
- David Dooley, President, University of Rhode Island
- Ann-Marie Harrington, President and Founder, Embolden
- Charlie Kroll, Founder, President and CEO, Andera
- Marie Langlois, Retired Managing Director, Washington Trust Investors
- Lisa Utman Randall, Executive Director, Jamestown Arts Center
- Don Stanford, Chief Innovation Officer, GTECH
- Neil Steinberg, President and CEO, The Rhode Island Foundation (chair)
The Fellowship will focus on the “greatest good for the greatest number” of Rhode Islanders, a small idea that has big potential to be built to scale, or new approaches to longstanding, intractable challenges.
Interested candidates are invited to submit an online application by December 14, 2012. The selection panel will invite a group of semi-finalists to submit a more detailed application and a short video. Two Fellows will be announced in April 2013.
Guidelines, eligibility, and frequently asked questions are online.
The 2012 Rhode Island Innovation Fellows
The inaugural Rhode Island Innovation Fellows, Soren Ryherd and Allan Tear, were announced in April 2012. Ryherd’s “The Retail Project,” which aims to establish sustainable brick and mortar retail stores in Rhode Island by first creating them as profitable online businesses, just launched its first online store, Felix Chien, a retailer of upscale fashion for dogs. A second brand, Urbilis, a concept built around high-design products for the urban gardener, will soon follow. Ryherd expects the first brick and mortar store to open in 2014.
Tear is using his Fellowship to build platforms for entrepreneurship that help launch start-ups in sectors such as art and design, food and beverage, advanced manufacturing, and social impact ventures. In the last few months, Tear has organized a series of meetings with 100 people from across the state to take active community building positions within each of these areas. Next month, he plans to begin monthly meet-ups to help connect individuals in each sector. Tear will also launch a “talent showcase” this fall that brings more visibility to projects and people with real “break-out” potential. Additionally, Tear is visiting other cities with vibrant startup communities to document best practices that can be replicated in Rhode Island.