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Announcing “Upstream,” a Social Innovation Pilot

April 16, 2015

Upstream Logo
It’s been another outstanding year for Jacksonville’s One Spark (“the world’s largest crowdfunding festival”), and innovation is still fresh on everyone’s mind in Northeast Florida. To keep the spirit of creative solutions alive, United Way is excited to announce a new pilot beginning this summer for students at the University of North Florida (UNF) called Upstream.

In partnership with the Center for Community Based Learning at UNF and five leading community agencies, United Way is launching Upstream as an opportunity for students to gain real experience and create real social change.

Why “Upstream”?

There’s a story about two towns along the same river, one downstream and one upstream. The town downstream has a problem with pollution contaminating their only water source for drinking, cleaning and farming.

The townspeople attempt to contain the pollution, but it becomes too overwhelming to maintain. To remedy their issue, the people downstream decide to find the source of their problem, leading them to their friends up the river.

Here, they discover the townspeople upstream are using the river to keep their own village clean without thinking about who is affected down the river.

What is it?

While the upstream story is hypothetical, it illustrates the need for creating systemic change—a difficult task, as the root causes of complex problems often go unseen or are persistently overlooked.

Upstream will be open to UNF students beginning in the summer of 2015

Upstream is a program designed to give college students at UNF the opportunity to impact the Jacksonville community by addressing challenges in education, economic stability and community health, leading to positive, long-lasting change.

We’re looking for college students who will work together with community and business leaders in a collaborative setting, inspiring them to generate innovative ideas that tackle one of the five grand challenge questions.

This collaborative network will provide students with the experience of researching, developing and possibly even implementing these ideas.

After a live pitch to a panel of business and community leaders, the winning teams will be awarded a $2,500 agency-managed service grant to execute their idea in the the Northeast Florida area with the support of local expert organizations.

This is an exciting and advantageous opportunity for any student at the University of North Florida seeking to gain knowledge and experience in making social changes in their city.

Keep Up to Date

Applications for Upstream will be opening soon! Want to be the first to hear about the latest news and updates? Sign up below: