Updated January 28 at 6:28pm
nonprofit

Rhode Island Foundation launches innovation fellowship program

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PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Foundation is launching a fellowship program to provide seed money for ideas to solve persistent challenges in the state, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.

Beginning in 2012, the Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship will annually disperse up to $100,000 each two individuals whose ideas show the most promise for helping “improve any area of life in Rhode Island,” the foundation said. The payments will last for three years.

The fellowship is being paid for by John and Letitia Carter and will fund two new grants each year for the foreseeable future. The money will go to test, refine and expand the chosen ideas.

“This fellowship is about Rhode Island reaching its true potential,” said Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of The Rhode Island Foundation in a statement announcing the program.

“To our knowledge, nothing like this has ever been tried in our state. It’s new territory but we are convinced that risk taking will be essential and failure is infinitely better than not trying.”

The ideas can be in any field and address any issue that affects Rhode Islanders, but the focus will be projects that promise “the greatest good for the greatest number.”

The fellowships will be awarded by a seven-member panel made up of representatives from leading Rhode Island institutions.

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