What Matters Innovation Award

2017 Award Finalists

The selection committee has chosen five finalists that will compete for this year’s $25,000 Innovation Award, presented at What Matters: Our Kids on April 26, 2017. Out of 40 applications, these five collaborations were selected for their innovative, creative, and change-provoking ideas. They will pitch their projects to a live audience (that could be you!) on Pitch Day, March 30, and the winner will be announced LIVE that day. We invite you to read more about the projects below, and stay tuned for videos of their work. As always, our thanks to American Underground for their sponsorship of this award. 

Bridge Builders

Partners: Refugee Community Partnership, No Lost Generation – UNC, UNC RCP, East Chapel Hill High RCP, Southeast Asian Culture Society

Project: Bridge Builders works to break the cycle of chronic isolation of refugees living in Orange County. Through personalized support, social bridging, and building pathways to opportunity, this project creates conditions to tell refugees they are safe, they are secure, and they belong.

Durham’s Community Waste Reduction Initiative

Partners: Keep Durham Beautiful, Don’t Waste Durham, Several local Durham businesses

Project: A community effort to reduce waste in Durham, implementing a GreenToGo program that utilizes reusable take-out food containers for Durham restaurants and their customers. Additional components include a waste-wise event planning manual, and implementation of a sustainable food truck program, reducing waste from mobile food vendors.

Preservation Equity

Partners: Preservation Durham, Self-Help Credit Union, Square One Bank, NC Housing Finance Agency, NCCU Public History Program, The Center for Documentary Studies, Museum of Durham History Story Squad

Project: Preservation Equity is a two-prong effort to empower low-mid income homeowners to retain their historic homes. This is accomplished by offering free technical assistance and project management via expertise at Preservation Durham, coupled with a flexible home equity loan product offered by Self-Help Credit Union.

ReStore Upcycle Furniture Project

Partners: Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, NCSU College of Design, Poole College of Management at NCSU

Project: ReStore Upcycle Furniture Project creates a new funding stream for Habitat for Humanity Wake through the creation of furniture manufacturing, using reclaimed wood from deconstructed homes. NCSU partners will develop a business plan for this project and design this new line of furniture.

Senior Education and Engagement: Staying Active and Well (SEE-SAW)

Partners: NC Senior Games, Inc., Chatham County Public Health Dept., Chatham County and Town of Siler City Parks and Recreation Dept.

Project: SEE-SAW will develop and model a wellness intervention for both active and non-active persons 50 and older via a year-round athletic educational and training program built on NC’s Senior Games.


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Rachel Aiken

Nonprofit Services Associate
Phone 919.474.8370 ext:4005
Email rachel@trianglecf.org