Launched in: 2017
Application Timing: Jan. - March
In partnership with global nonprofit Enactus, Ford Fund invites student teams to develop ideas for innovative projects that address an unmet social need or problem in the local community—ranging from safety to workforce development to access to mobility, and more. Each year, up to four Enactus student teams are selected to receive a $3,750 USD grant to implement their project. Through this program, students use entrepreneurial action to make people’s lives better and help their community become a more sustainable place to work and live.
2019 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects
University of Puerto Rico at Humacao: Luquillo
The stray dog situation in Puerto Rico is a health, social and moral crisis. Paws Ahead is a three-prong project that provides education, qualifications and access to resources for unemployed or underemployed volunteer dog rescuers in Puerto Rico. The program empowers volunteers to become Certified Dog Trainers that will allow them to gain financial independence in an innovative new career of increasing promise: Animal Assisted Interventions. The project will contribute to public health by training rescued dogs as therapy dogs to serve in hospitals, retirement homes, physical therapy centers, schools, and homes of people diagnosed with physical, cognitive, behavioral and socio-emotional challenges. Upon certification, trainers can work with their dogs or sell them as trained, certified emotional support or therapy dogs. By positively impacting animal rescuers and stray dogs to improve their livelihoods and acquire social mobility, they, in turn, contribute to society’s increased wellbeing.
University of Puerto Rico at Bayamon: Loiza
Bottle of Hope is a project designed and developed to build a sustainable future for a community living in extreme poverty. University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón Enactus offers an ecological and intelligent technique of construction using plastic bottles as the raw material. The team is currently building a structure by reusing more than 150,000 plastic bottles that have been diverted from landfills. The project promotes the appreciation of community work through the construction of different structures, for example, community centers. This year, the Enactus team is empowering local artisans from a forgotten community in Loiza, to come together and build a structure that serves as a sales center for nearby communities. This center will help increase their economic situation, their truism status and help families gain a more sustainable income.
Ana G. Mendez- Carolina (University of the East): Carolina
The School Orchard project focuses on conducting agricultural workshops with the purpose of educating people about the importance of orchards. East University Enactus has developed an innovative idea of promoting agriculture workshops in schools that plant orchards as part of their academic curriculum. The Enactus team will provide grafting workshops with the necessary materials to create a school orchard. Their goal is to establish an alliance with the school and create awareness about agriculture. The project represents an innovative approach in providing new solutions to solve the problems that affect schools and communities in Puerto Rico.
Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico: San Juan
Little Engineers is an educational project for high school students. Hydroponic systems are constructed from reusable materials. These systems serve as a source of food and produce energy through the growth of plants. When the plants go through photosynthesis, they move excess energy towards their roots. Microorganisms then break down glucose and liberate electrons that can be harvested for energy. This energy can be stored in a 12V battery. The system uses less than 10 gallons of water for up to five days. The Enactus team plans to learn how to purify the leftover water from each cycle and find a way to create a motor-like system for vehicles that could be powered by the same plant-based energy.