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Crain’s Cleveland announces launch of Innovation Mission

The below article was published in Crain’s Cleveland Business to announce the launch of The Innovation Mission: Fighting Poverty with Big Ideas, a program from the Sisters of Charity Foundation to use innovation to disrupt the cycle of poverty.

Sisters of Charity Foundation, Leadership Center launch program to combat poverty

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is looking for creative new ideas to combat poverty through a new initiative launched in collaboration with Cleveland Leadership Center.

The program — The Innovation Mission: Fighting Poverty With Big Ideas — seeks seasoned professionals from the for-profit, nonprofit and public sectors for 18-month fellowships. The fellows are able to keep their professional jobs while spending at least 12 weeks turning their ideas into reality, according to a news release. According to the program’s website, the fellows’ employers can receive up to $15,000 to help compensate for their time away from the office.

“We want big thinkers who have a great idea, as well as the community leadership skills and well-established networks to use this fellowship as an opportunity to make their ideas happen,” Foundation President Susanna Krey said in a statement. “This is an ideal opportunity for an experienced leader in the field who thinks, “If only we could try X, we could solve problem A for good.”

Fellows can receive up to $15,000 to help with the research and development of their projects and ultimately apply for up to $20,000 in seed funding to launch the idea into an operating initiative, the website states. Independent consultant Dennis F. Beatrice — also a senior adviser at Stanford University’s center of innovation, SRI — will lead professional development for the fellowship.

According to U.S. Census estimates, one-third of Cleveland residents and half of its children live below the poverty level, and although that has dropped in recent years, Krey said, “new approaches are still needed to address long-standing, embedded challenges.”

Four fellows will be announced in September, according to the release.

“We hear so often from our program participants that they want to do more to help alleviate poverty,” said Marianne Crosley, president of Cleveland Leadership Center, in a statement. “The Innovation Mission is a great opportunity to work together to catalyze change.”

The release listed three examples of how incubating and launching new ideas can work to tackled challenges around poverty.

— Housing First, which has reduced homelessness by 78% in Cleveland, operates 10 permanent supportive housing location to connect individuals to a permanent home — the first step to employment and recovery goals.

— The Boston Medical Center’s Preventive Food Pantry allows primary care providers to write “prescriptions” to help provide food for low-income patients with nutrition-related illnesses. Pharmacy-like food pantries have been implemented in other hospitals around the country, where families can fill “prescriptions” to receive food.

— In San Francisco, the sheriff’s department and school district launched a charter high school inside the county jail to foster learning in adult inmates.

Applications for the fellowship are due July 17. Applicants who would like feedback on a project summary before formally applying must submit that by May 22. Information schedules are also scheduled May 5 and 15 as well as June 15 and 19.

 

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