The four fellows selected to participate in this 2011-2012 fellowship are:
Julia McNabb, who will be mentored at the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, seeks to develop a system for the collective purchasing of employee benefit plans during her fellowship year. McNabb, who has a master's in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, will use her extensive experience in the non-profit world to aid New Orleans organizations in obtaining benefits for their staff. But the long-term goal of the project is even more ambitious: to develop a collective benefits model for small organizations struggling to provide benefit packages to their employees. McNabb's shorter-term goals include enabling organizations to retain skilled workers and strengthening the capacity of non-profits to attract talented professionals to live, work, and build a better New Orleans.
During her fellowship year, McNabb will develop the capacity to partner with up to 20 percent of professionals in the local New Orleans non-profit sector, and test the viability, challenges and expansion of her work throughout the region and beyond. In McNabb's view, employee benefit plans are critical to attracting talented employees and retaining leaders. "These benefit plans effectively support a healthier society as well as the building of a strong economy," she states in her proposal.
A new resident and lover of New Orleans, Candy Chang is a designer, urban planner, and artist with a passion for making cities more comfortable for people. Chang will use her fellowship to develop an online platform for New Orleanians to collaborate with community leaders through Tulane City Center. The Neighborland initiative will offer city residents a friendly and engaging platform to voice their needs, concerns and ideas and come together to find solutions to change. The service will support crowd-sourcing, design-thinking, and user-driven innovation in the fields of urban planning and development, where Chang has extensive expertise. She theorizes that people who live and work in a neighborhood know best what services, infrastructure, and businesses their community needs. The goal of Neighborland is to help communities become, in Douglas Farrʼs words from Sustainable Urbanism, more "connected, compact, and complete."
An educator with expertise in urban agriculture and food policy, Johanna Gillian will put her passion for fresh food to use by developing two replicable and complementary food education models for Grow Dat Youth Farm and Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools. Under the mentorship of Tulane Community Health Centers, Gillian will provide support for the youth farm during its pilot year – writing a business plan, coordinating student interns, and creating a food distribution outlet – and provide guidance to implement school-based food recommendations at Kids Rethink New Orleans, a New Orleans non-profit that brings youth voices to the redevelopment of the public school system. Both projects will develop critical thinking and communication skills among youth by engaging them as leaders working to improve the regional food system.
Gillian's work during the one-year fellowship will include fundraising, staff management, student recruitment, site development, and creation of curriculum and evaluation tools that can be shared with other aspiring food and farm educators. In a state where one-third of adults are obese, Gillian says increasing access to fresh food is imperative. "Many, if not most, youth in New Orleans know very little about fresh food, a fact that has a devastating impact on public health."
An expert in affordable housing, Liz McCartney will be mentored at the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at the A.B. Freeman School of Business as she examines how to scale the current work of the St. Bernard Project, and help more families move home to Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes. McCartney, who co-founded the Project in 2006, will use her fellowship year to create a new model for post-disaster rebuilding and affordable housing development that engages volunteers and builds jobs for veterans and other hard-to-employ populations that include living wages and benefits.
The Tulane fellowship also will enable the Project to achieve its goal of developing 900 affordable single-family homes in New Orleans in the next five years, positioning the city to be the best in the country at developing housing that people can afford. As McCartney notes in her proposal, "The city needs an affordable, innovative and sustainable solution to address the myriad housing challenges that New Orleans and its residents face, but need to overcome, to achieve full recovery and rebirth."
With generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation and Tulane University, the Urban Innovation Challenge (UIC) will identify and support the next generation of urban social innovators who have ideas to solve systemic social challenges in the areas of urban revitalization, public education, health, and economic development.
The UIC will select four "Urban Innovators" to research, test, and further develop their solution to a systemic social challenge. Innovators will be supported and their ideas incubated at Tulane University for one year under the mentorship of either the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, The Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at the A.B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane City Center at the School of Architecture, or the Tulane Community Health Center.
Urban Innovators will receive a $45,000 stipend to develop their solutions for one year, with exclusive mentorship from Tulane's current innovators in these four areas. Innovators will have access to Tulane resources, including office space, email, and the library for research purposes. At successful completion of the incubation year, innovators may also be introduced to prospective launch and development-stage funders, including Echoing Green, the Draper Richards Foundation, Investors Circle, as well as relevant stakeholders in the mayor's office.
Urban Innovators will also receive professional development and technical assistance support by Tulane's Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives. Urban Innovators will have several unique opportunities to present and get feedback on their innovative solutions to students, community partners, funders, and potential investors through exclusive partnerships with Idea Village and Tulane's Center For Public Service AmeriCorps VISTA Program.
The Urban Innovation Challenge is open to people of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels.
We are seeking individuals who are impatient for change and passionate about transforming New Orleans, Urban innovators create radical new solutions to society's greatest challenges. They drive compelling improvements in urban environments with outcomes that create system-level change.
If you exhibit these qualities and want to develop your innovative solution with funding and mentorship from Tulane University, then you are eligible to apply.
The UIC seeks to identify and support the next generation of urban social innovators who have ideas to solve systemic social challenges. Therefore, we are seeking proposals that have:
Applicants that fulfill the criteria above, will be selected based on the following criteria:
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 email@example.com