NewDay Challenge awards deserving student innovators

April 19, 2013 9:00 AM

Greg Thomson

Fund 17 is now $10,000 richer after the nonprofit microfinance institution was named undergraduate winner of the 2013 NewDay Challenge at Tulane University.

Fund 17

Fund 17 members Haley Burns and Juan Carlos Monterrey pose with their certificate of recognition following their win at the fourth annual NewDay Challenge. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

For the fourth year, the NewDay Challenge has awarded funding to Tulane student innovators who seek to provide solutions to social challenges in the New Orleans community. At a ceremony on Tuesday (April 16), Fund 17 members Haley Burns, Juan Carlos Monterrey, Laura Stokes, Brandon Huang, Julie Huelshoff-Ahumada and Jess Charwin had their application declared as the winner.

Burns, founder and executive director of Fund 17, says the funding will allow the organization to expand their operations.

“We now have the money accumulated in our loan reserve to start lending during the fall semester,” she says. “We plan on lending to minorities, people who aren’t being served by banks, and those who don’t have a credit score or bank account.”

Burns also points out that Fund 17 can now purchase marketing materials, projectors and refreshments for when they offer educational seminars on personal finance to clients.

To apply for the contest, students were required to compile a lengthy social venture proposal, a budget for use of funds, a resume and two letters of recommendation from a faculty member and external supporter.

Two graduate student winning teams also were named at the ceremony. One was Crescent City Connections, an organization that creates customized service projects for visiting and local businesses. Members Teddy Nathan and Zach Cheney facilitate the half- and full-day service projects that benefit the community. The team won $10,000.

Dana Keren and Lotona Giwa, members of Birthmark Doula Collective, were the other graduate student winners. This group helps to support and educate pregnant and parenting women in New Orleans. The team won $5,000.

During the spring semester the ventures received mentoring and advice from the Tulane Changemaker Institute, a program organized by student fellows through the Tulane Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching.

Greg Thompson is a Tulane sophomore studying communication.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu