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Congratulations, Amy and David
By Jessica David / April 16, 2014 /   Loading Disqus...
Today, we are pleased to announce the 2014 Rhode Island Innovation Fellows, Amy Bernhardt and David Dadekian. Amy and David’s projects aim to improve the state’s economy by leveraging Rhode Island’s rich history and existing strengths in the areas of digitally printed textiles and the food industry. Amy and David join existing Innovation Fellows Adrienne Gagnon, Soren Ryherd, Dr. Lynn Taylor, and Allan Tear.

We also recognized ten strong finalist teams: Adrian Burke and Wanda Miglus; Ken Castellone; Maeve Donohue; Mary Flynn; John Haley III, Howard Kilguss, and Chris Maloney; Deborah Perry; Leo Pollock and Nat Harris; Mike Ryan; Tom Shevlin; and Barbara Somers, Kathleen Castro, and Laura Skrobe. You can read more about their proposals in the news release.

The Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship was conceived of by Letitia and John Carter, philanthropists with great vision and commitment to Rhode Island, and it is made possible through their generosity. The program is simple but bold: two Innovation Fellows are chosen annually to receive $300,000 over three years to develop, test, and implement ideas to improve life in Rhode Island.

Since the program was launched in 2012, we have received more than 950 proposals. This year’s pool of 343 applications was exceptionally competitive. Our selection panel (Dr. David Dooley, Ann-Marie Harrington, Charlie Kroll, Marie Langlois, Lisa Utman Randall, Don Stanford, and Neil Steinberg) was more impressed than ever by the quality of ideas and passion of applicants. They reviewed with an eye toward seven criteria: the idea itself, the applicant, potential impact, the plan behind the idea, the ability to get resources elsewhere, and the “multiplier” effect. Their deliberations were spirited, rigorous, and lengthy (and involved a lot of snacks).

It is so very rewarding to watch the six winning projects take shape and to see applicants who did not win pursue their ideas anyway. I am humbled and inspired by the generosity of spirit I have witnessed through this program. Thank you to all of our applicants for stepping forward to offer your contribution. Thank you to the selection panelists for committing many hours over many months. Thank you, Amy, David, Adrienne, Lynn, Soren, and Allan, for launching bold experiments. And thank you, Letitia and John Carter, for having confidence in Rhode Islanders and investing in Rhode Island.
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