Programs

Social Innovation Fellowship FAQ

Important Dates for 2018 Social Innovation Fellowship

Students interested in applying for the Fellowship are encouraged to meet with Jenn Steinfeld, Social Innovation Program Manager at the Swearer Center, to share their ideas and receive initial feedback and input.

November 8, 2017: Highly recommended optional draft application due
December 23, 2017: Final application deadline
January 2018: Applicants are notified
January 24, 2018: PLCY 1701Q Leading Social Ventures beins
January 26-28, 2018: Fellowship retreat
January 31, 2018: Weekly workshops begin

Who is eligible for the SI Fellowship?

Students who apply for the SI Fellowship must have a specific social impact initiative they are starting or building. These ventures range from small-scale student organizations to global organizations. They may be new businesses or nonprofits, policy projects, or any other structure that makes sense given the particular problem being addressed. Students may also work on an “intrapreneurial” project within an existing organization or company. Read about our current fellows to learn more.

Any Brown or RISD undergraduate graduating after December 2018 may apply for the SI Fellowship. There may be seats available for fellows who are not eligible for funding - graduate students and students graduating in May 2018. 

What is the time frame of the SI Fellowship?

The SI Fellowship begins each January. Throughout the spring semester, fellows participate in programming that helps them develop a business model, a pitch, and a plan for their summer. Fellows then spend the summer working full-time on their venture. In the fall semester, SI Fellowship programming is focused on what’s next – for the student and for the venture – through workshops on skills such as fundraising, strategic planning and governance. The following spring semester, fellows are asked to serve as mentors for the following cohort in the Fellowship.

What are the expectations of the SI 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

In the spring following the year-long SI Fellowship, fellows are asked to serve as mentors for the next cohort of fellows.
Fellows are required to physically be on campus in Spring 2018, and at least one of the following two semesters (Fall 2018 and Spring 2019).

What is the application process for the SI Fellowship?

Students interested in applying for the Fellowship are encouraged to meet with Jenn Steinfeld, Social Innovation Program Manager at the Swearer Center, to share their ideas and receive initial feedback and input.

Students must submit an application for the SI Fellowship through UFunds. The application includes a project proposal, a research paper, a personal statement, and two letters of support. Students are strongly encouraged to submit draft proposals which will then be assigned 2-3 advisors who have expertise in the student’s field of interest to help them hone and improve the proposal. Draft proposals will not be a part of the final review process.

How much funding would I receive?

Eligible undergraduate students receive a $4,000 award. The purpose of the funding is to allow the fellows to work full-time on their venture during the summer. Students may also apply for a summer earnings waiver, based on their financial aid status through the university.

Do I get credit for the SI Fellowship?

SI Fellows must enroll in Leading Social Ventures: Social Entrepreneurship in Action (PLCY1701Q), for which they receive course credit. They must also attend weekly Wednesday evening leadership development workshops for which they do not get course credit. Over the course of a semester, students gain knowledge, analytical competence, and leadership skills relevant to leading social ventures. The teaching method is interactive and experiential and assumes that students are highly motivated to be part of an active learning community.