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    The 2017 BHSI Fellows

    We are pleased to announce the 2017 BHSI Fellows. These five individuals were selected from a pool of more than 250 applicants for the socially impactful work they are building.
    Jahmal Cole
    Founder & Executive Director, My Block My Hood My City
    Katherine Katcher
    Founder & Executive Director, Root & Rebound
    Alex Niemczewski
    Co-founder & CEO, BallotReady
    Rose Wang
    Co-founder & CEO, Chirps
    Brian Hill
    Founder & CEO, Edovo

    Bluhm / Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship

    Chicago Ideas supports innovators in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors under the age of 35 who are working to solve pressing social challenges through the Bluhm / Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship.

    About BHSI

    The Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation (BHSI) Fellowship at Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) recognizes social entrepreneurs, 35 years or younger, whose nonprofit and for-profit ventures tackle significant social challenges through innovative business models. Now in its seventh year, the BHSI Fellowship is committed to empowering entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds by providing them a platform for growth.

    Fellows gain exposure to nationally-recognized business and civic leaders, establish a community of support with past Fellows, are awarded $10,000 in financial support toward their work and participate in CIW, a weeklong ideas festival featuring world-class speakers and thinkers, October 16-22, 2017.

    Since its inception in 2011, the BHSI Fellowship – created by philanthropists and entrepreneurs Leslie Bluhm and David Helfand – has awarded more than $500,000 to the Fellows through contributions and in-kind services.

    For more information, contact Julia Dilday at julia (at)

    Meet past BHSI Fellows

    Read about these exceptional entrepreneurs making a difference in the world.
    Minhaj Chowdhury
    Co-Founder & CEO, Drinkwell
    Micaela Connery
    Founder, The Kelsey; Mitchell Scholar, University College Dublin; 2012 BHSI Fellow
    Andrew Mangino
    CEO, The Future Project; BHSI Fellow
    Donnel Baird
    BHSI Fellow; Founder, BlocPower
    Jeff Nelson
    Co-Founder & CEO, OneGoal
    Zubaida Bai
    BHSI Fellow; Founder & CEO, AYZH