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Update: We are pleased to announce that the Goldhirsh Foundation is joining us as a Supporting Partner for Finding Fearless. Their contribution means that there is up to $670,000 in grants and prizes available to the winners. Additionally, because of overwhelming interest in Finding Fearless, we are removing the 1,000 cap on submissions, and we are accepting all nominations through October 15!


We launched our Be Fearless initiative earlier this year with the recognition that to truly move the needle in addressing social challenges, ALL of us involved in finding and funding solutions for these challenges must be willing to be bold, take risks, and make failure matter. Since that time we’ve had great dialogues with our peers and partners in the foundation and nonprofit sector to help move the conversation forward on what it truly means to Be Fearless.

But as many of you know, we at the Case Foundation also believe strongly in the power of the individual. Movements that change society often start with one person with the courage to try to make a difference, despite the challenges set before them. These people are the heroes and pioneers we often learn about in history books, and each started as one person, inspired by an idea and fueled by a passion that they can make a difference.

When we think about being fearless, our minds quickly go to great movement builders throughout history like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Susan B. Anthony, or modern social innovators like Geoffrey Canada and Wendy Kopp. But, even these fearless pioneers started somewhere, and we have a hunch that there are thousands more in the making today — undiscovered social innovators who are dreaming big and taking risks to change their communities and the world. That’s why we’re thrilled today to launch Finding Fearless  a new campaign to find America’s Most Fearless Changemakers. Presented in partnership with Microsoft and REI, Finding Fearless will award $650,000 in grants, software and technology prize packs, and outdoor adventures to help these undiscovered changemakers take their work to the next level.


The simple answer is, that’s where you come in! We want you to nominate fearless heroes in your community, or even apply yourself. We don’t care if they are 18 or 80; or if their work is done in a big city or a one-stoplight town. We don’t care if they have 10 diplomas or no diplomas. And we don’t care if they get their work done through nonprofits, small business, state or local government, or their living room or garage. What we do care about is discovering the untold stories and tapping the unknown heroes who are bucking trends, disregarding the status quo, and making change happen with a fearless approach and attitude

Fearless changemakers are people like Barbara Van Dahlen, a clinical psychologist who saw a gap in veterans’ mental health care services and raced to provide a solution through her organization, Give an Hour, which has created a national network of volunteer clinicians to help fill that gap. It’s people like David Smith, who as an undergrad fearlessly mobilized a small group of students on a college campus, which 10 years later is a national organization giving a voice to hundreds of thousands of Millennials on the issues they care about. And it’s people like Maria Gomez, who came to the U.S. from Columbia as a young girl, became a public health nurse, and then created a clinic called Mary’s Center to better serve the diverse communities of DC through health, education, and social services. (Read the full stories here.) Our mission is to find the next Barbaras, Davids and Marias  the dedicated, passionate, and unsung heroes doing groundbreaking, trailblazing, life-changing work in their communities.

So if this sounds like you or someone you know, we hope you’ll drop everything you’re doing and apply yourself, or nominate someone for a chance to get a piece of the $650,000 in grants and prizes to take these fearless projects to the next level.


Finding Fearless begins with YOU. Starting today, we’re asking for you to tell us about your fearless project or one that inspires you. And, in keeping with our passion for a citizen-centered and democratized approach to philanthropy, we’re giving the public and our partners a role in helping pick the winners. Here’s a bit more on how each phase of Finding Fearless works:

  • Phase 1: You Nominate - Tell us about your fearless project or one that inspires you. (But hurry  only the first 1,000 nominations will be accepted!)
  • Phase 2: We Narrow the Field  A “Fearless Academy” of diverse judges consisting of our peers and partners from other foundations, local and national nonprofits, the philanthropy, nonprofit, and corporate sectors, will narrow the field to award a $10,000 grant from the Case Foundation to each of the top 10 fearless projects, and a $1,000 grant to the next 10 projects. And, all 20 winners will receive a $25,000 software grant from Microsoft and a $100 gift card from REI!
  • Phase 3: You Vote  The public will have the opportunity to vote on their “Fan Favorites” among the top 20 winners and decide which projects will receive an additional $10,000 grant from the Case Foundation, an REI Adventure trip to Bryce Canyon, and other great prizes!

We hope you’ll take a moment today to share with us your own story or the story of someone you know who you believe is one of America’s Most Fearless Changemakers. We can’t wait to put a spotlight on new, bold ideas for changing our communities and the world. And once you’ve had a chance to make your nomination, we hope you’ll check out our Be Fearless Resources, where you can learn more about initiative, take the Be Fearless pledge, and help us spread the word…that being fearless and Finding Fearless begins with you!

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