Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship

Deadline:  2 June 2015
Open to: participants  who have developed business endeavors
Fellowship: a $10,000 financial contribution


The Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship @ Chicago Ideas Week recognizes a group of young, socially-conscious leaders who have developed sustainable ventures addressing civic needs. The Fellowship provides them with exposure to nationally recognized business leaders, philanthropists and community leaders, funding to support their organization and a platform for growth.

The BHSI Fellowship was designed and created in 2011 by Leslie Bluhm and David Helfand as a way of advancing the next generation of social innovators, entrepreneurs and change agents.

In partnership with Chicago Ideas Week, the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship will grant visionary leaders with community support, exposure to successful business leaders and a US$10,000 financial contribution for their business endeavor.


All applicants must be 35 years of age or younger (born on or after October 11, 1980).

  • Applicants may be from anywhere in the world.
  • Ventures may be for-profit or nonprofit ventures.
  • All ventures must demonstrate that they are innovative and addressing compelling social problems.
  • All ventures must demonstrate a sustainable model with proven results.
  • The dates of the formal program for the Fellowship are October 11–15.
  • All applicants must also be able to attend Chicago Ideas Week, which takes place October 12–18.


Each of the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows receive $10,000 in unrestricted, non-equity financial support of their venture and joins a group of like-minded young innovators for a week of one-of-a-kind experiences including:

  • The opportunity to present their ventures at Chicago Ideas Week alongside leading innovators, entrepreneurs and thinkers in front of an exclusive audience
  • Intimate breakfasts and lunches with prominent business and political leaders. Past meetings have been hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Dreamworks Chairwoman and Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson, Groupon Co-Founder and CEO Eric Lefkofsky, Equity Groups Chairman Sam Zell, Every Mother Counts Founder Christy Turlington Burns, Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert, and many others.
  • Access to Chicago Ideas speakers. Past speakers include Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, Michael Bloomberg, Edward Norton, Deepak Chopra, Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Brokaw and Sandra Day O’Connor.

How to Apply?

The application deadline is June 2.

For more information, click here.


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