The leaders of 10 local organizations have been selected as fellows to participate in the latest Nonprofit Innovation Lab. This marks the third cohort of the joint effort of United Way of Rhode Island and Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) that launched in 2020. The unique program challenges organizations to think outside the box to develop new solutions to pressing social issues, and offers an opportunity to secure seed funding to bring those ideas to life.
With the Nonprofit Innovation Lab, United Way and SEG help to accelerate organizations’ ability to hone and implement unique ideas with the potential to create positive social impact. The effort pairs each fellow with a custom team of coaches and provides the knowledge, resources, and networking opportunities that help turn transformative ideas into reality. The months-long program culminates with “Sparked!”, a “Shark Tank”-like presentation broadcast on Rhode Island PBS where fellows compete for $90,000 in seed funding and other in-kind services and supports. The fellows selected and their organizations are:
- Christopher Antao, Gnome Surf
- Elizabeth Cunha, The Center for Dynamic Learning
- Eugenio Fernandez, Melior
- Bior Guigni, Beat the Streets New England
- Jody Jencks, Meeting Street
- Helene Miller, The Partnership for Providence Parks, Recreation Centers, and Streetscapes (P3)
- James Monteiro, Reentry Campus Program
- Nicole O’Malley, Hands in Harmony
- Valerie Tutson, Rhode Island Black Storytellers
- Kristen Williams, Riverzedge Arts
- Among the projects selected for advancement are Meeting Street’s vision to create a Teacher’s Assistant Apprenticeship Program to address both an ongoing labor shortage and the longstanding underrepresentation of minorities in the field; Hands in Harmony developing a specialized Mental Health and Music Wellness program to decrease stress and improve healthcare utilization; and Riverzedge Arts expanding its art and entrepreneurial programming to serve adults while simultaneously growing its career development and employment offerings for at-risk youth.