Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship

The Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship is designed to fuel solutions by Rhode Islanders to Rhode Island challenges.

The program, made possible through the generosity of Letitia and John Carter and managed by the Rhode Island Foundation, provides seed funding for social impact. Rhode Island Innovation Fellows will receive 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. We will seek applicants for the 2015 Fellowships in mid-October, 2014. Please check back for additional information.

Announcing the 2014 Innovation Fellows

The 2014 Innovation Fellows are Amy Bernhardt and David Dadekian. Amy’s project, Colorfast, will create a state-of-the-art research and manufacturing pilot facility for the design and production of digitally printed textiles. David’s project, the Eat Drink Rhode Island Central Market, will create a centralized culinary hub for Rhode Island, a complete business-to-business and business-to-consumer center with a public market, commercial production and processing facilities, and an educational component.

 In addition to the two winners, the selection panel also named ten finalists, recognized for their merit and potential.

  • Adrian Burke and Wanda Miglus proposed creating an advanced digital textile studio to make digital textile technology accessible to artisans and designers.
  • Ken Castellone proposed creating an experiential, after-school STEM Academy and Summer Coding Boot Camp to increase interest in computer science, particularly among under-served populations.
  • Maeve Donohue proposed creating a suite of common services connected to a single state-wide database that would enable users to manage their memberships, preferences and privacy with a single login.
  • Mary Flynn aimed to reduce public health care costs by showing low-income RITE Care insurance recipients how to improve their diet and health through healthy, low-cost recipes.
  • John Haley III, Howard Kilguss and Chris Maloney proposed improving Rhode Island’s commercial mussel harvest by increasing the availability of seed stock.
  • Deborah Perry proposed creating the “Fantastic Girltastic Code Company” to increase the number of women holding college degrees in computer sciences through intensive girl-centric training, access to female role models and mentors, and connections to local institutions of higher education and employers.
  • Leo Pollock and Nat Harris suggested creating The Compost Plant, an urban commercial composting facility designed to divert large volumes of organic waste from the landfill, improve food production by producing high-quality compost and anchor the launch of a statewide compost network.
  • Mike Ryan suggested recruiting a group of tech-savvy students modeled on the Peace Corps to help state and local governments improve their systems and on-line services for businesses.
  • Tom Shevlin suggested creating a collaborative mentoring and shop space aimed at cultivating Rhode Island's next generation of small-scale manufacturers.
  • Barbara Somers, Kathleen Castro and Laura Skrobe proposed exploring the feasibility of rearing blue crabs in fresh water ponds in Rhode Island.

2014 RIIF applicants

Want to learn more about the RIIF applicants and their ideas? In the spirit of sharing and collaboration, many have agreed to share their project descriptions and contact information.

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