Launched in: 2017
Application Timing: Jan. - March
In partnership with global nonprofit Enactus, Ford Fund invites student teams to develop ideas for innovative projects that address an unmet social need or problem in the local community—ranging from safety to workforce development to access to mobility, and more. Each year, up to four Enactus student teams are selected to receive a $3,750 USD grant to implement their project. Through this program, students use entrepreneurial action to make people’s lives better and help their community become a more sustainable place to work and live.
2020 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects
Columbia Central University: Caguas
Listen: Humacao is a project focused on empowering women survivors of domestic violence and their families by helping them achieve financial and emotional independence through innovative and sustainable initiatives. The project starts by providing women with the skills, dexterities and know-how to succeed as entrepreneurs while teaming up with skilled emotional health experts by promoting a balanced self-concept. The community partner, Casa de la Bondad, is a nonprofit organization with over 25 years of experience in providing shelter, transitional housing and support to survivors of domestic violence and their children. Casa de la Bondad has partnered with Enactus CCU (Columbia Central University) to implement the project with the participants in their transitional housing program. Casa de la Bondad provides women with clinical and emotional support, while the Enactus students lead workshops and seminars. They also provide the support needed to establish a small business designed and implemented by the participants. Currently, the team is working to create a small business focused on using recycled garments and clothing to create new, improved and beautiful apparel and accessories while promoting art therapy and creativity along the way. During this process, the participants will undergo an experiential learning program where they will learn how to sew, stay up to date on trends and run a small business. Through its model, the project brings together experienced professionals and emotional health experts, led by the Enactus team that believes collaboration is the key to successfully solving social issues.
Humacao Community College: Humacao
VivApis—a community apiary business—was created by Enactus Humacao Community College (HCC) and implemented last year at Hogar Nuevo Pacto in Juncos, Puerto Rico, a halfway house for minimum-security inmates. In partnership with certified beekeepers, Enactus HCC graduated 18 men and one of their student members as certified beekeepers. In September 2019, the team received an award from Donativos Ambientales Ford to further develop their project. Thanks to the award, the team is boosting their company and empowering community members to build beehives that can be sold for income. To solidify their business, the team plans to replicate its model to benefit more people. After seeing the positive outcomes of last year, they decided to merge two of their projects, Together We Rise and VivApis, to provide resources and empower Centro Refugio Colosenses 3:14 in Santiago, Dominican Republic, a community addiction rehab center. The team established an alliance with the center and created a formal structure between both organizations to achieve their objectives. This year, the team aims to provide the resources to build an apiary of 15 modern hives that will protect life on land by sowing flowers and bushes near the apiary as well as help produce fruits, vegetables and honey. Enactus HCC is training entrepreneurs and creating long-term opportunities by developing a business of selling honey and promoting sustainable agriculture.
University Ana G. Mendez: Carolina
The Sin Limite project encourages new solutions to problems that affect schools and communities in Puerto Rico. The Enactus UAGM-Carolina (University Ana G. Mendez) team recognized an urgent need to expand orchards around the island to schools. With the help of an agronomist, they give instructions to create new, fruitful orchards. Schools with orchards see an increase in their student's well-being and a reduction in expenses. Crops harvested from the orchards can be used in school kitchens, or they can be sold by the participating school students, which has become a source of income for them. The Enactus team has also incorporated an agricultural and horticultural therapy class in the school curriculum. This project has proved to be extremely important for students. It will continue to promote and develop agricultural and entrepreneurship skills, which will motivate the participants to become micro-entrepreneurs and improve their enthusiasm and well-being in general.
University of Puerto Rico at Humacao: Humacao
Since the launch of Paws Ahead in March 2019, Enactus UPR (University of Puerto Rico) Humacao has become further attuned to the struggles of no-kill shelters, volunteer youth rescuers and the exacerbated stray dog situation resulting from devastating earthquakes affecting over 5,000 Puerto Rican citizens. Many dog owners were forced to abandon their homes and pets for temporary shelter or emigrate from Puerto Rico. This evolving social reality in Puerto Rico led the team to re-envisioning the project’s focus. The project will now meet two urgent and unmet community needs through collaboration with community partners, providing future economic opportunities for first-generation unemployed youth and increasing the number of adopted dogs in Puerto Rico. Training youth for educational and employment opportunities towards social mobility and finding homes for rescued dogs will create sustainable change in the community. Business students will assume proactive leadership roles by collaborating to create a unique dog training curriculum and monitor its implementation with three participants. They will also address the social mobility needs of unemployed youth, preparing them to become certified dog trainers and give them the skills, credentials and motivation needed to pursue a formal education in a related field.