Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship

24This year, we received 250 applications from around the world for our Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship which recognizes exceptional entrepreneurs under the age of 35 who are working to solve pressing social challenges. We've narrowed it down to eleven Semi-Finalists who will be flown to Chicago to meet with our judging panel, hoping to earn one of five coveted Fellowship spots.

Explore the work of these world-changing individuals below. Congratulations to all our Semi-Finalists, and stay tuned for the announcement of our 2016 Fellows on August 18, 2016.

Tanyella Evans, 29, NYC: Library for All 

Baillie Aaron, 30, UK: Spark Inside

Greg Segal, 32, NYC: ORGANIZE 

Alex Epstein, 25, Philadelphia: Urban Creators

Brett Hagler, 26, San Francisco: New Story 

Fagan Harris, 29, Baltimore: Baltimore Corps 

Eric Liu, 25, San Francisco: Bayes Impact 

Becca Heller, 34, NYC: International Refugee Assistance Project

Brian Hill, 31, Chicago: Edovo 

Alex Niemczewski, 28, Chicago: BallotReady

Minhaj Chowdhury, 27, Bangladesh: Drinkwell 

  • Thursday, August 18th: 2016 BHSI Fellows announced
  • Monday, October 17th Sunday, October 23rd: Chicago Ideas Week

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 sixth 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 17–23, 2016.

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.


2015 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows

19 (1)  20  21  23

Meet the 2015 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows

2014 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows

  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
Meet the 2014 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows

2013 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows

  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
Meet the 2013 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows

2012 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows

  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Meet the 2012 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows

2011 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Meet the 2011 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows


For questions or for more information on the BHSI Fellowship,                                 please contact Julia Dilday at



Chicago Ideas Week Oct 17 – 23, 2016

Become a Member today and get 10% off your ticket purchase Become a Member