Social Innovation Fellowship

The Social Innovation Fellowship gives students a platform to engage with communities to explore and develop innovations that address pressing problems in our society. In some cases, Social Innovation Fellows are student founders of their own social impact venture - these include student-run organizations, businesses and nonprofits. In other cases, Social Innovation Fellows are teams of local community leaders and students who are collaboratively building a new and innovative capacity in Rhode Island.

Click here for frequently asked questions about the program and application. 

To learn more about the program, attend an Innovation Drop-in every Wednesday from 7-8:30 p.m. in Rock 205, and click here for all our upcoming events.

meet the Social Innovation Fellowship Cohorts

Each year, the award-winning Social Innovation Fellowship selects up to 18 students who are launching or building social impact ventures that relate to a range of issues, communities, and approaches. Fellows participate in a year of intensive skills training, complementary coursework, and a community of social innovators offering mentorship and critique. Social Innovation Fellows are awarded $4,000 to work full-time on the social innovation over the summer.

Any Brown or RISD undergraduate student graduating after December 2018 is eligible to apply for the Social Innovation Fellowship. Fellows agree to participate in a full year of activities, including:

  • Registering for the course Leading Social Ventures (PLCY 1701Q)
  • Attending the overnight Opening Retreat from January 26th-28th (waived for RISD students in Winter Session)
  • Participating in weekly workshops throughout the year
  • Spending 10 weeks working full time on your venture over the summer.

The Social Innovation Fellowship is open to any undergraduate student who is graduating after December 2018 and runs from January through December of each year. Fellows receive funding to work on their project full-time for 10 weeks during the summer and participate in weekly programming throughout the spring and fall semesters. Fellows are expected to participate actively in the Fellowship community, including a kickoff retreat the first weekend of the spring semester, enrolling in our course, Leading Social Ventures and attending two-hour weekly meetings. 


Successful applicants to the Social Innovation Fellowships submit robust and detailed applications. All applicants are invited to submit a draft application by November 8th; this draft will not be considered in the final evaluation, but will be used to match each applicant with 2-3 fellowship and Brown alumni advisors to help them hone their project and their proposals. Interested students are encouraged to set up office hour meetings with Alan Harlam or Jenn Steinfeld

Draft applications are due November 8 and final applications are due December 23, 2017. 

Brown students should apply through UFunds and RISD students should use the links below to download the application. 

Draft Application
Final SIF Application


Jenn Steinfeld, Social Innovation Initiative Program Manager, or 401-863-1825, office hours

Alan Harlam, Director of Social Innovation,, office hours.