RI Foundation offering $600,000 in fellowships to encourage entrepreneurial innovation

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The Rhode Island Foundation is looking for people with bold ideas for moving the state forward, and is offering $600,000 in seed grants through the Carter Fellowships for Entrepreneurial Innovation.

Designed to stimulate solutions to Rhode Island challenges, the initiative is made possible through the foresight and generosity of philanthropists Letitia and John Carter. The fellowship program, now in its seventh year, is built around the spirit of entrepreneurship and seeks to achieve community impact by investing in an individual’s creativity and potential, and by providing freedom to apply fresh thinking to important challenges.

“This program enhances our state’s reputation as a place of innovation and resourcefulness. We thank Letitia and John Carter for having the vision to inspire bold thinkers to bring their best ideas to life,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

As many as three applicants will be selected to receive up to $200,000 over four years to test and implement innovative ideas that could dramatically improve an area of life in Rhode Island.

“Letitia and I strongly believe in the power of everyday Rhode Islanders to address the issues that affect our state. We are committed to making this a better place to live and hope the public is inspired to submit proposals with the promise to lead the way,” said John Carter.

Proposals will be evaluated on whether there is a new, novel, or re-energized approach that has not been tried meaningfully in Rhode Island; the potential benefits to the state, and the degree to which the proposed outcome is achievable, among other factors.

Only individuals are eligible. Applicants do not have to be residents of Rhode Island, but they must commit to living in Rhode Island during the four-year duration of the Fellowship if selected.

The applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges: Marie Langlois, retired managing director of Washington Trust Investors; Alan Litwin, KLR managing director; and Lou Mazzucchelli, coordinator of Bryant University’s Entrepreneurship Program. Judges will also meet with the Fellows every six months, throughout the four-year duration of their Fellowship, to measure progress and learning.

The one-page application is posted on the Foundation’s website. The deadline to apply is Dec. 19. The Foundation expects to announce the recipients in April 2018.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2016, the Foundation awarded a record $45 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising, and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information about applying for a Carter Fellowship, visit rifoundation.org.

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