RI to Fund Bold New Ideas

RI to Fund Bold New Ideas

RISD President John Maeda is among the “leaders, thinkers and doers” invited to be on the selection panel for an exciting new grant opportunity designed to entice Rhode Islanders to grapple with the state’s most significant challenges.

Made possible through the generosity of Rhode Island philanthropistsLetitia and John Carter, the Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship just announced by The Rhode Island Foundation (RIF) will provide seed funding for ideas designed to provide the “greatest good for the greatest number” of residents of the state. A one-page letter of intent to apply for the new fellowship is due at the RIF byDecember 23, 2011.

Beginning in 2012, Innovation Fellowships will be awarded to two individuals, providing each with $100,000 a year for up to three years to develop, test and implement innovative ideas that have the potential to dramatically improve any area of life in Rhode Island. It’s precisely the type of challenge that RISD students, faculty and alumni are so good at embracing, notes Maeda.

“If you think of the work going on every day in RISD’s studios, it’s easy to see why this amazing opportunity is so well suited to members of our own community,” the president says. “This fellowship is all about creative vision and thinking big about the real problems faced in the smallest state in the union. It’s something I really hope alumni living in Rhode Island will seriously consider, especially since the seed funding is significant enough to make a positive impact.”

The seven panelists on the selection committee will be looking for exciting proposals that show “bold vision, exceptional leadership, risk-taking, potential to scale up and statewide impact,” among other criteria. “We hope [this new program] will fuel discovery, passion and a pioneering spirit,” notedNeil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of The Rhode Island Foundation, in announcing the Innovation Fellowship. “To our knowledge, nothing like this has ever been tried in our state. It’s new territory.”

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