2019 PCSE Seed Grant Winners Announced

Alli Fam

Alli Fam ’19 pitches her social enterprise, Downstream Podcasting

Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 PCSE Seed Grant. These student-led social impact projects and ventures will each receive $5,000 in unrestricted funds as well as training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace, and other resources from the Patricelli Center. 

Recipients were selected from a pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, parents, students, faculty, and community partners. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities, and potential for social impact.

The 2019 Seed Grant recipients are:

Accessible and Affordable Sanitation for Women
Sydney Ochieng ’22 and Ziyaan Virji (Aga Khan Academy Mombasa)
A student run initiative that seeks to increase access to proper sanitation for young school girls in Mombasa Kenya. AASW empowers girls globally to self-produce their own menstrual materials sustainably and aims to break down the social stigma of menstruation locally. Our goal is to provide a safe, cost effective, eco-friendly and long-lasting alternative for menstrual care.

Dharma Gates
Aaron Stryker ’19, Miles Bukiet ’11, Nicholas Antonellis ’17
Dharma Gates offers a semester of intensive training at a Zen Monastery in the US, bridged by workshops on compassionate activism, contemplative neuroscience, and Buddhist environmentalism. Our curriculum is designed to trains a generation of compassionate leaders and offer an affordable alternative to traditional gap year programs.

Downstream Podcasting
Alli Fam ’19, Ben Saldich ’19, Isaac Price-Slade ’19
Downstream podcasting aims to diversify the podcasting industry in terms of teams and content by providing workshops for underrepresented students and the opportunity for these students to work on Downstream’s own podcast series, Act Local, Be Vocal. The series highlights the work of local activists and non-profits, allowing them to reach potential donors, volunteers and people who can benefit from their services and message with greater ease.

Foster Care Support Project
Luke Lezhanskyy ’20, Katerin Osorto ’20, Ruby Lu ’19, Angela Duong ’21
The Foster Care Support Project (FCSP) is an effort to support and empower foster children of all ages by connecting them with students and young adults. Our work is guided by an ambitious goal — to ultimately reach all of Connecticut’s foster children.

These students and teams exemplify the spirit of innovation and impact shared by so many members of the Wesleyan community. They follow in a long line of successful Wesleyan-connected social projects and enterprises. We wish them well as they launch or scale their work, and we stand by to support their endeavors going forward.

The Seed Grant and other Patricelli Center programs are made possible by numerous donors and volunteers, including Propel Capital, Newman’s Own Foundation, and the Norman Ernst Priebatsch Endowed Fund for Entrepreneurship. We typically award three seed grants per year, but this year the judges made a special donation to fund a fourth grantee because they were so impressed with the slate of applicants.

Video from the Seed Grant final pitches will be available on the PCSE video library and Facebook page in the coming weeks. For more information about the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/patricelli.