Program Ends

Infusion of Modules Method for Education Thrives

SunsetEarly in 2018, the Coleman Foundation announced that it would sunset the Entrepreneurship Fellows Program in the 2018-2019 academic year. The decision was based on the Foundation’s sense that the Program’s original goals had been achieved, as well as the desire of Board members to explore supporting local, community-based programs for entrepreneurs who are further along in their entrepreneurial journey.

The Coleman Foundation is transitioning its entrepreneurship education funding from universities and colleges across multiple states to Chicago neighborhoods, and hopes to work in tandem with other local grantmakers. Considerable thought has been given to a careful wind-down of the Fellows Program; this report is one result. The new entrepreneurship education grants program will reflect some of the most important lessons and most effective approaches from the Fellows Entrepreneurship Program:

The neighborhood work will be heavily collaboration-based. We have the opportunity to gather neighborhood nonprofit entrepreneurship educators together, like we did at the summit, and enable them to learn from one another and other community partners, just like the Project Directors figured it out themselves and shared it with colleagues.
- Clark McCain, Program Officer, Coleman Foundation

Looking back at the Fellows Program, McCain remarked, “We telegraphed the ending a couple years out, and I know there was disappointment, but people are continuing on. They’re finding ways to do this. Some schools won’t do things like this, and others will do things very much like this. But everyone will be moving on in a way that’s informed and educated by what the Fellows Program enabled them to achieve.” Michael Sherrod, Project Director at Texas Christian University, added: “It’s changed the curriculum in extraordinary ways. Nursing school has made it mandatory to study entrepreneurship. Design does the same. Engineering, ditto.”

For a foundation, a productive program that lives on after funding ends is a high mark of success. Thus it was to the Coleman Foundation’s delight that a conversation among eight of the nine 2018-2019 Project Directors and the Program Coordinator in April 2019 confirmed that the programs they had developed with support from the Foundation would continue beyond Coleman funding.

New sources of support have emerged and some programs will be rebranded. The Program at Saint Louis University is now called the Chaifetz Fellows Program, in honor of a major donor, and new participating faculty at Illinois State University are titled Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Fellows. Texas Christian University and Colorado Mesa University will call legacy participants Coleman Fellows while new ones may become Innovation Fellows. Worcester Polytechnic Institute will continue the Coleman Fellows moniker. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is looking for a new funding source that would be offered naming rights, and along with the Illinois Institute of Technology will continue with the same number of Fellows in the coming year.

The Coleman Fellows Program funded by our grant from the Coleman Foundation has been instrumental in the development of our Entrepreneurship Cross Disciplinary Program. Certainly the money helped entice faculty from disparate disciplines to participate, but it is also true that many of them became strong believers in the value of entrepreneurship for their students. In that regard, it has been invaluable to us.
- McRae C. Banks, Margaret & Harrell Hill Distinguished Professor and Dean, Bryan School of Business and Economics, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Foundation staff expressed satisfaction with the Program. Program Officer Rosa Berardi focused on the roots the Program had put down. “The Program’s a success because not only have we introduced but we’ve embedded entrepreneurship education in the institutions. It’s not going away. There’s been real mind change. Professors are committed to it.” From Hennessy’s perspective, “The program certainly helped break down silos and provide an interdisciplinary platform for diverse groups of students and faculty to be introduced to the opportunities provided by self-employment and learn basic entrepreneurial skills in the context of their own majors and disciplines.”

Program Ends

Infusion of Modules Method for Education Thrives

SunsetEarly in 2018, the Coleman Foundation announced that it would sunset the Entrepreneurship Fellows Program in the 2018-2019 academic year. The decision was based on the Foundation’s sense that the Program’s original goals had been achieved, as well as the desire of Board members to explore supporting local, community-based programs for entrepreneurs who are further along in their entrepreneurial journey.

The Coleman Foundation is transitioning its entrepreneurship education funding from universities and colleges across multiple states to Chicago neighborhoods, and hopes to work in tandem with other local grantmakers. Considerable thought has been given to a careful wind-down of the Fellows Program; this report is one result. The new entrepreneurship education grants program will reflect some of the most important lessons and most effective approaches from the Fellows Entrepreneurship Program:

The neighborhood work will be heavily collaboration-based. We have the opportunity to gather neighborhood nonprofit entrepreneurship educators together, like we did at the summit, and enable them to learn from one another and other community partners, just like the Project Directors figured it out themselves and shared it with colleagues.
- Clark McCain, Program Officer, Coleman Foundation

Looking back at the Fellows Program, McCain remarked, “We telegraphed the ending a couple years out, and I know there was disappointment, but people are continuing on. They’re finding ways to do this. Some schools won’t do things like this, and others will do things very much like this. But everyone will be moving on in a way that’s informed and educated by what the Fellows Program enabled them to achieve.” Michael Sherrod, Project Director at Texas Christian University, added: “It’s changed the curriculum in extraordinary ways. Nursing school has made it mandatory to study entrepreneurship. Design does the same. Engineering, ditto.”

For a foundation, a productive program that lives on after funding ends is a high mark of success. Thus it was to the Coleman Foundation’s delight that a conversation among eight of the nine 2018-2019 Project Directors and the Program Coordinator in April 2019 confirmed that the programs they had developed with support from the Foundation would continue beyond Coleman funding.

New sources of support have emerged and some programs will be rebranded. The Program at Saint Louis University is now called the Chaifetz Fellows Program, in honor of a major donor, and new participating faculty at Illinois State University are titled Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Fellows. Texas Christian University and Colorado Mesa University will call legacy participants Coleman Fellows while new ones may become Innovation Fellows. Worcester Polytechnic Institute will continue the Coleman Fellows moniker. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is looking for a new funding source that would be offered naming rights, and along with the Illinois Institute of Technology will continue with the same number of Fellows in the coming year.

The Coleman Fellows Program funded by our grant from the Coleman Foundation has been instrumental in the development of our Entrepreneurship Cross Disciplinary Program. Certainly the money helped entice faculty from disparate disciplines to participate, but it is also true that many of them became strong believers in the value of entrepreneurship for their students. In that regard, it has been invaluable to us.
- McRae C. Banks, Margaret & Harrell Hill Distinguished Professor and Dean, Bryan School of Business and Economics, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Foundation staff expressed satisfaction with the Program. Program Officer Rosa Berardi focused on the roots the Program had put down. “The Program’s a success because not only have we introduced but we’ve embedded entrepreneurship education in the institutions. It’s not going away. There’s been real mind change. Professors are committed to it.” From Hennessy’s perspective, “The program certainly helped break down silos and provide an interdisciplinary platform for diverse groups of students and faculty to be introduced to the opportunities provided by self-employment and learn basic entrepreneurial skills in the context of their own majors and disciplines.”

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