The Tarrson Social Venture Fellowship at the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation is the capstone social entrepreneurship resource. The fellowship provides funding and advising to graduating students or recent alumni of the University of Chicago, while they raise philanthropic or venture capital for their social enterprise.
In 2017, Ron Tarrson, ’72 (XP-31), managing partner and director of Santa Fe, New Mexico–based Santa Fe Aero Services, created the Tarrson Social Venture Fellowship. The Tarrson Social Venture Fellowship is a part of the Rustandy Center’s Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program and received matching funds from John Edwardson, ’72.
How to apply
Applications for the 2020 Tarrson Social Venture Fellowship are now closed.
To be eligible for the fellowship, applicants must be committed to working full time for their startups, which should be focused on social or environmental impact. For more information on eligibility, view this document (pdf).
To receive information about the Tarrson Social Venture Fellowship and other programs offered through the Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program, sign up here.
Five fellowships have been awarded since 2017, with most recipients participating in the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge. Each received $20,000 and an additional $5,000 for web development, office space, or other resources. Past Tarrson Fellows include:
Hannah Meyer, ’17, of Pie for Providers
Hannah graduated from Booth’s Evening MBA Program. Pie for Providers (formerly Provide), which won first place in the 2017 SNVC, aims to lower administrative burdens for child-care providers so they can focus on offering high-quality care to more low-income families. The venture offers a software-based, back-office solution for child-care center owners, allowing them to enroll in government subsidy programs, manage licenses and accreditations, and maximize tax deductions.
Jake Mikva, ’17, of GoodWerk
Jake graduated from Booth’s Full-Time MBA Program. GoodWerk, a 2017 SNVC finalist, is an online platform that increases civic engagement by connecting citizens with candidates and causes that share their values. Its mission is to convert online “slacktivism” through content that generates a donation, not just the click of a “Like” button.
George Boghos, ’18, of Aim Clinics
George graduated from Booth's Full-Time MBA Program in June 2018. AIM Clinics, which won the 2018 SNVC, provides the gold standard autism therapy to children in rural US communities. With a pilot in Arkansas, AIM Clinics focuses on markets where the shortage of therapy is the most severe, and the autism care ecosystem is least developed. AIM Clinics seeks to deliver high-quality, evidence-based ABA therapy to children in those communities.
Leah Shapiro, AB ’18, of Debate it Forward
Leah graduated from the College in June 2018. Debate it Forward, which placed second in the 2018 CNVC and won the 2019 SNVC, is an education nonprofit that de-emphasizes the competitive nature of debate and instead focuses on cultivating the core skills of debate. Through this approach, Debate it Forward makes debate curriculum—and its benefits—accessible to young students, students of low-income, students with learning differences, and justice-involved youth.
Wenting Xi, ’18, of VouchCircle
Wenting graduated from Booth's Full-Time MBA Program in June 2018. VouchCircle, which tied for second place in the 2018 SNVC, is a professional networking platform designed to help people in underserved communities stay connected, share jobs, and vouch for one another to get hired.
JOSH AARONSON, AB ’19, OF DEBATE IT FORWARD
Josh graduated from the College in June 2019. Debate it Forward, which won the 2019 SNVC, is an education nonprofit that promotes healthy discourse in youth through play-based programming. The organization uses their innovative curriculum to engage students often overlooked by traditional debate programs: young students, students of low income, and students with diagnosed learning or developmental differences.
KYLE JOHNSON, ’19, OF BUSINESS SERVICES COLLECTIVE
Kyle, a Civic Scholar in Booth’s Weekend MBA Program, graduated in 2019. Business Services Collective, which placed second in the 2019 SNVC, works with Chicago entrepreneurs of color in the construction trades to create a shared back office. By lowering the cost to delegate services like estimation, project management, and bookkeeping, Business Services Collective enables entrepreneurs to focus on growth and become engines of wealth creation in their communities.
JOHN MAK, MPP ’19, OF MM COMMUNITY
John graduated from the university’s Harris School of Public Policy in June 2019, where he was a member of the inaugural class of Obama Foundation Scholars. MM Community, a 2019 SNVC finalist, is a Myanmar-based crowdsourcing platform that sources funds via low-interest loans from citizens and donations from international donors and impact investors. The funds are used to address needs in the local community such as building fences around drinking water ponds, or creating school libraries.
KALYAN RAY-MAZUMDER, ’19, OF PREPMEDIANS
Kalyan graduated from Booth’s Full-Time MBA Program in June 2019. Prepmedians, a 2019 SNVC finalist, is an affordable online learning platform that uses humor, music, and pop culture to prepare students for the SAT and ACT. Prepmedians is cultivating relationships with nonprofits and public school systems to bring the program to English language learners and students with various learning needs.