The Social Innovation and Public Service Fund will officially begin soliciting project applications Friday afternoon.
The application will be launched at an event, “Improving Local and Global Communities Through Social Enterprise,” in the Fisher Colloquium, where Deloitte practitioners and SIPS Fund Executive Committee members will discuss ways to develop sustainable solutions to social problems.
The SIPS Fund was created through the Student Activities Fee Endowment reform referendum last February, which allocated a $1.5 million endowment to the fund.
“The purpose of the fund is to take that money and reinvest in Georgetown students and in their ideas with the goal of lowering the barrier for doing good in the world,” SIPS Fund Managing Director Tyler Sax (COL ’13) said. “And what that means, broken down, is making grants or loans to students who want to start their own non-profit or have a proposal for a research project that wouldn’t get funded otherwise.”
The application has been on the SIPS Fund website since the beginning of the semester, and the organization has received about 15 proposals thus far, according to Sax. Today’s application launch is the beginning of the fund’s advertising campaign.
Funding for projects will come from the interest that has accumulated on the endowment, which comprises funds raised between 2001 and 2011. All alumni who graduated in or after 2001 and thus contributed money to the fund through the student activities fee are also eligible to submit an application.
In the eight months since the SAFE referendum passed, the SIPS Fund has been working to establish itself as a public organization, and the fund became a legal entity on July 25.
“Friday marks the opening of our public period, the beginning of us being an outward facing body, whereas before, a lot of work was being done internally to be sure we had a good footing and that we had our evaluation criteria worked out and things like that,” Sax said.
The SIPS Fund looks at three criteria when evaluating proposals: impact on the applicant, impact on the community and whether the proposal is in line with Georgetown’s commitment to being men and women for others.
“What we’re looking for is students with innovative or creative ideas that maybe would fall through the cracks in the other structures that exist here on campus,” SIPS Fund Director of Communications Ethan Chess (COL ’14) said. “We’re looking for people who have innovative, game-changing kind of ideas, either on campus or in D.C. or around the world.”
The application process does not have a rigid structure or set time frames.
“We looked at a lot of other funds and saw that they had hard deadlines that people had to apply by,” Sax said. “We realized that innovation, entrepreneurship and ideas don’t come on a schedule. They don’t come on a timeline. So we wanted the SIPS Fund to reflect the true nature of entrepreneurship and innovation, and with that, we decided to have a rolling process, so people can apply to it at any time.”
The fund also plans to organize networking events throughout the semester.
“I would want to encourage people to apply,” Sax said. “But I would also encourage people to reach out to the SIPS Fund and attend our events as they see them, because we really believe in the strength of the potential for that community even beyond people who are applying for funding.”
Friday’s event is the ceremonial launch of a yearlong effort to establish the SIPS Fund.
“[The event] is going to mark the launch of our funding cycle. We’re now at a place … where we can start moving down the application pipeline we’ve established with different applicants,” Chess said. “Friday is a big day for us. We’re going to come to life.”
The Hoya’s editor-in-chief, Connor Gregoire, is a member of SIPS’ board of trustees.

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