Helping Seed Ideas Grow with the Bay Area Inspire Awards

Last year, a donor came to us with a problem and a solution. The problem – young, socially-minded people in our communities often have imaginative, innovative ideas for creating change, but don’t have the resources to turn those ideas into a reality. The solution? An awards program that backs the best ideas we can find and give them a chance to come to fruition.

For our first pilot round of the Bay Area Inspire Awards in 2014, we funded six individuals who were awarded grants of up to $10,000. These six people – all between 18 and 30 and working in San Francisco and Alameda Counties – come from diverse backgrounds, which have helped shape their ideas and how they want to effect change.

2014 Bay Area Inspire Award grantees

2014 Bay Area Inspire Award grantees

Take 2014 awardee Christian Martinez, for example. As a young Latino immigrant in Oakland, Christian did not receive support from his high school teachers throughout his toughest experiences. Learning from this experience, he launched a Home Visit project at the Oakland middle school where he now works, in which teachers visit the homes of their students to build relationships and understanding with students’ families.

Another 2014 awardee, Holley Murchison, is helping transitional age students from underrepresented communities find their voices and become effective communicators. This passion stems from growing up too shy to speak but learning the importance of voice in high school: “Your voice is one of the brightest tools you have to take a stand, spread ideas, and create chance.”

These are the types of individuals we are looking for – those who have identified an issue in our community and have an imaginative solution for how to solve it. These Bay Area Inspire Awards provide the seed funding to get an idea off the ground and propel it towards success and sustainability.

This year, we are expanding the program to fund in three counties – Alameda, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. We kicked off the submission period on September 1st, and we will be accepting applications through October 30th. We are excited to see what young social innovators we can find and fund this year!

 

Interested in applying? Learn more and apply online.

Want to share this with your network of innovative young people? Check out this informational flyer you can share.

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