Voting in Finding Fearless Campaign Begins Today, Asking Public to Select “Fan Favorite” Projects for Bonus Awards

Today, the Case Foundation announced the 20 winners of Finding Fearless —a nationwide campaign to recognize, reward and inspire fearless changemakers, and a pillar of the Case Foundation’s Be Fearless initiative. Together with Presenting Partners Microsoft and REI, and Supporting Partner the Goldhirsh Foundation, the Case Foundation will award more than $670,000 in grants, software and technology prizes, and outdoor adventure packages in support of the winners’ projects.

In addition to winning grants and prizes, these 20 fearless changemakers will now compete for nearly $20,000 in bonus awards to advance their work, which will be decided in a “Fan Favorite” public vote beginning today at 3:00pm ET and ending on November 28, 2012 at 2:59pm ET at

The Fearless Academy, a cross-sector group of nearly 100 social innovators from across the nation, reviewed the almost 1,200 submissions that poured in from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine the winners. Nominations addressed a wide variety of pressing social challenges, including civic engagement, human rights, public health, food insecurity, economic development, education and more.

“We launched Finding Fearless to show America that fearless changemakers are not only in the history books or the Time 100, but can also be found in communities big and small working tirelessly, without fanfare, to break through barriers and tackle urgent needs with bold, new thinking,” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation. “The Finding Fearless winners represent a diverse mix of leaders, sectors and approaches, some who are rapidly scaling their concepts and others who are just about to take off — we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on all of them and champion their transformative efforts.”

The winners will receive grants ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 to help expand their work. Each eligible project will also receive a $25,000 software donation and a Tech Prize Pack from Microsoft, along with a $100 REI gift card. Beginning today, the winners have a shot at nearly $20,000 in bonus grants and prizes, including one additional $10,000 grant, an REI adventure trip, and daily $500 Network for Good gift cards. These “Fan Favorite” winners will be selected by a public vote, beginning today through November 28. Individuals are limited to one vote each during this time at

The Finding Fearless grant and prize winners are (in alphabetical order):

Aashika Damodar | Breaking Heels | Washington, DC

Breaking Heels ™ is a social enterprise transforming the collective power of consumers into a force against human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

Darius Graham | Social Innovation Project | Washington, DC

The Social Innovation Project tackles pressing social issues by providing seed funding and resources to help transform ideas into sustainable programs.

Erin Healy | Youth L.E.A.D. | Miami, FL

Youth L.E.A.D. provides a 12-week afterschool program and 4-month paid apprenticeship wellness program for low-income high school students.

Gary Oppenheimer | | Newfoundland, NJ, moves information instead of food to diminish hunger, educate, encourage and empower growers to share their excess food.

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara | WE DO Campaign: Stage 4 |Asheville, NC

The WE DO Campaign mobilizes LGBT couples requesting – and being denied – marriage licenses in their hometowns across the Southern United States.

JenFu Cheng |Peak Potential Climbing |Fairfield, NJ

Peak Potential is an organization running a 12-week introduction to rock climbing for children with physical disabilities.

Jessica Ladd | So They Can Know |Baltimore, MD

So They Can Know aims to get more partners notified of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Jordyn Schara |WI P2D2 (Wisconsin Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal) | Reedsburg, WI Wisconsin

Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal (WI P2D2) has collected over 900,000 pounds of un-used prescription drugs curtailing over-the-counter (OTC) drug abuse.

Karen Knudsen | Taking the Bull by the Horns |Missoula, MT

Through their 2,300-acre cattle ranch, complete with 300 cows, Taking the Bull by the Horns tests first-hand how ranches can fix degraded creeks and preserve stream water.

Leslie Neal ArtSpring | Arts for Incarcerated Women | Homestead, FL

ArtSpring uses educational arts programming developing self-growth and effective life skills for incarcerated women, men and youth.

Lori Markowitz | Introduction to Teaching (Youth Ambassadors) | Seattle, WA

The “Introduction to Teaching” course provides a problem-based learning experience for high school students introducing them to the profession of teaching.

Madhura Bhat | Health for America | Washington, DC

Health for America uses America’s entrepreneurship to combat health challenges through sustainable health solutions.

Marquis Landon Cabrera |Foster Skills |Boston, MA

Foster Skills provides emotional development and practical, transferable life skills programs for children and youth in foster care.

Michael Bitz |Youth Music Exchange |Forest Hills, NY

Youth Music Exchange launches record labels inside schools, organized and managed by youths enabling students to write, record, and distribute original music.

Meghana Rao | Portland Junior Scientists | Portland, OR

Portland Junior Scientists unites high school students with underprivileged elementary school students to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Mike Rocco | City Hall Fellows | San Francisco, CA

City Hall Fellows creates the next generation of enlightened leaders for local government empowering them to be effective change agents.

Rachel Durchslag | Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation | Chicago IL

CAASE works with high school age men to help them understand the harms of the sex trade and what they can do to be part of the solution to end human trafficking.

Rajesh Karmani | Zero Percent |Urbana, IL

Zero Percent provides first-of-its-kind cloud and mobile services helping businesses move surplus food via donations through last-minute deals.

Sayu Bhojwani | The New American Leaders Project | New York, NY

The New American Leaders Project prepares immigrants for civic leadership using a curriculum to train new community leaders seeking appointed office.

Thach Nguyen | Swipes for the Homeless | San Francisco, CA

“Swipes for the Homeless” is a grassroots, student-run movement where students work with universities to collect leftover meal swipes for homeless communities.

The nominees represent the rich diversity of America – from local teens to community activists to entrepreneurs and established professionals both unsung and lauded in their communities. The winning projects represent what it takes to “Be Fearless” when creating social change, the five tenants of the Case Foundation Foundation’s Be Fearless principles: Make Big Bets; Experiment early and Often; Make Failure Matter; Reach Beyond Your Bubble; and Let Urgency Conquer Fear.

“Being fearless is one of the key qualities we have seen in successful changemakers through Microsoft YouthSpark,” said Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Microsoft Citizenship and Public Affairs. “Encouraging and supporting individuals to spark change is something we believe in, and we’re inspired by these 20 individuals and their work to improve their communities.”

“The journey to discover and support fearless changemakers is a mission seamlessly aligned with our goal to find emerging innovators and help them thrive,” said Tara Roth McConaghy, president of the Goldhirsh Foundation, Supporting Partner of Finding Fearless. “Together, our investments will jumpstart the conversation about the need to support the fearless changemakers in our communities, who look at the world, boldly say ‘that’s not good enough’ and then courageously take action.”

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About the Case Foundation

Established by Jean and Steve Case in 1997, the Case Foundation invests in people and ideas that can change the world. In our efforts to address social challenges, we unite the principles of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology to identify, test, prove and scale ideas and models designed to create exponential impact. For more information, visit, follow us at and

About Microsoft

Microsoft is focused on creating opportunities for youth. Microsoft YouthSpark is a companywide initiative to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world over the next three years. Microsoft YouthSpark empowers youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship, helping them create a real impact for a better tomorrow. Find out more at: and follow us on Twitter at @msftcitizenship.

About REI

REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions. For more information, visit, follow us at and

About the Goldhirsh Foundation

The Goldhirsh Foundation exists for social innovators and is run by social innovators. The Goldhirsh Foundation has been making grants for almost a decade, but was re-launched in 2012 in Los Angeles. The Goldhirsh Foundation awards grants on an invitation-only basis and supports social innovation efforts across three areas: opportunity, sustainability.