Apply: Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship at Chicago Ideas Week 2015 (fully-funded)

Apply: Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship at Chicago Ideas Week 2015 (fully-funded)

Deadline: June 2, 2015

Applications are now open for the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship @ Chicago Ideas Week 2015. The fellowship 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.


  • The BHSI Fellows are hosted in Chicago for Chicago Ideas Week in October each year, all expenses paid.
  • Fellows gain exposure for their organizations and establish a community of support
  • Fellows receive a $10,000 financial contribution for their venture.

Fellowship Details

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.


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.

All semifinalists must travel to Chicago for in-person interviews. Airfare and hotel are coved by the Fellowship.

**The formal dates of the BHSI program are Sunday, October 11–15, however, Fellows are welcome, but not required, to attend all Chicago Ideas Week events (all expenses paid).

How are you changing the world? Apply and share your story or nominate someone.

For more information, visit Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship.