RI Foundation blog • Jessica David
We are excited to announce the 2015 Rhode Island Innovation Fellows, John Haley and the team of Daniel Kamil and Emily Steffian. Daniel and Emily will launch the Providence Cinematheque, Rhode Island’s only multi-screen exhibition space and education facility focusing on first-run, independent film programming, repertory series, film festivals, and a curriculum in film history and media literacy. Their aim: to provide a space for often under-represented and diverse voices and enhance Rhode Island’s reputation as a cultural innovator.
John will bring high potential innovation to the shellfish industry in Rhode Island by creating a more reliable method of obtaining blue mussel seed stock fixed to a growth/cultivation substrate. He will manufacture a Blue Mussel Spat Attachment Cord, pre-loaded with blue shell mussel larva, to promote shellfish cultivation year- round. His goal: to significantly expand Rhode Island’s mussel industry and create jobs in this important sector.
The Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship was conceived of by Letitia and John Carter, philanthropists with great vision and commitment to Rhode Island, and it is made possible through their generosity. The program is simple but bold: two Innovation Fellows are chosen annually to receive $300,000 over three years to develop, test, and implement ideas to improve life in Rhode Island. Thank you, Letitia and John Carter, for having confidence in Rhode Islanders and investing in our state.
John and Emily and Daniel join existing Innovation Fellows Amy Bernhardt, David Dadekian, Adrienne Gagnon, Soren Ryherd, Dr. Lynn Taylor, and Allan Tear. Thank you to all of our Innovation Fellows for being bold on behalf of Rhode Island. Collectively, they have strengthened growth sectors to take Rhode Island forward.
We also recognized five strong finalist teams: Harold Vincent, Meg O’Leary and Sarah Friedman, Arnell Milhouse, Bruce Campbell and Walter Zesk, and Andrew Trench, Kyla Coburn, and Peter Haas. You can read more about their proposals in the news release.
Being part of the Innovation Fellowship selection process is humbling and inspiring for me. This year, we received 354 proposals. Behind every proposal is a passionate, creative, positive advocate who is willing to extend him/herself to make Rhode Island better. These innovators are enthusiastic and thoughtful, and I learn so much from them. Thank you to everyone who applied for taking a chance on this program.
Our selection panel (Pat Flanagan, Ted Nesi, Lisa Utman Randall, Dan Shedd, Rosanne Somerson, Don Stanford, and Neil Steinberg) spend many hours reviewing applications, interviewing candidates, and debating. They review with seven criteria in mind: the idea itself, the application, potential impact, the plan behind the idea, the ability to get resources elsewhere, and the “multiplier” effect. We are very grateful for their expertise, dedication to the program’s potential, and rigorous engagement.
I look forward to watching the two new projects evolve over the next three years.