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Tulane University Announces Winners of the 2011 Urban Innovation Challenge

February 10, 2011 9:15 AM


Kathryn Hobgood Ray

Four fellows have been selected for the first annual Urban Innovation Challenge at Tulane University, which supports ideas to solve social challenges in areas of urban revitalization, public education, health and economic development. The four Urban Innovator fellows, selected from a pool of nearly 200 applicants, will receive a $45,000 stipend to develop their solutions for one year, with exclusive mentorship from faculty and staff at leading centers and institutes at Tulane. Funding for the Urban Innovation Challenge is provided by the Rockefeller Foundation.

“We were really impressed with the quality and diversity of ideas submitted to the Challenge,” said Stephanie Barksdale, manager of Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives at Tulane. “Tulane is committed to supporting these fellows, in hopes that they will be able to make a significant impact on our city.”

The fellows will each have access to Tulane resources including office space, email accounts and library privileges. Additionally, they will receive professional development and support from Tulane"s Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives and the Center for Public Service.

The 2011-12 Urban Innovators are:

  • Julia McNabb, who will be at the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives to develop a system for collective purchasing of employee benefit plans;
  • Candy Chang, who will be at Tulane"s City Center to develop an online platform for neighborhood residents to collaborate with community leaders;
  • Johanna Gilligan, who will work with Tulane Community Health Centers to improve the regional food system with two replicable and complementary food education models: the Grow Dat Youth Farm, and a curriculum for Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools;
  • Liz McCartney, who will be at the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship to examine how to best scale the current work of the St. Bernard Project, to help families who wish to move back into their homes in Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes.

For more information on the fellows or the Urban Innovation Challenge, please contact Stephanie Barksdale at or visit