Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spark MicroGrants Selected as a Semi-Finalist for the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

March 21, 2012 – Spark MicroGrants has been named a 2012 Semi-Finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, the prestigious annual design science competition named "Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award" by Metropolis Magazine. The Challenge awards $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a whole systems-based solution that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

After an initial rigorous vetting process by BFI’s multi-disciplinary review team, which included an in-depth interview, our project was chosen from a pool of hundreds of entries from around the world, to be one of 18 Semi-Finalists this year. It will now be featured as a top tier project in BFI’s Idea Index and featured on their website for the remainder of the program cycle.

Semi-finalists will be reviewed and discussed by a board of 8 distinguished jurors, which includes Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons, founders of Bioneers; John Fullerton, Founder of the Capital Institute; Helen and Newton Harrison, leading pioneers of the eco-art movement and Alice Rawsthorn, design critic for the International Herald Tribune.

The Buckminster Fuller Institute wrote a glowing review of the Spark MicroGrants approach and team.

"The micro-loan model, once touted as a panacea, has recently been revealed to have serious potential pitfalls, and many aid initiatives have high administrative costs and ultimately fail to pull communities out of poverty. The innovative approach to development offered by Spark MicroGrants, a highly efficient model that achieves a lot with very small amounts of money, could be very timely and have a significant global impact on grassroots development models."

Finalists will be announced in May and the winner, runner up, and honorable mention will be announced at the conferring ceremony in New York on June 6th. Read the complete BFI review here.

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