If you have an idea for an adaptive innovation or a creative project, a new grant opportunity may help turn dream into reality. This fall, the SCI Artist-Innovator fund will be awarding 10-12 grants of up to $7,500 each to spinal cord injured applicants with creative projects that aim to produce positive social impact.
The Craig H. Nielsen foundation is funding the grant in partnership with the Center for Cultural Innovation, a California-based nonprofit that promotes business skills and financial self-determination for individuals in the arts. “They wanted this to be open to artists, to innovators, to hackers, to makers,” says Reveca Torres, the founder of Backbones SCI support group, who consulted on the SCI Artist-Innovator grant. “The program is open to submissions not just for disability-related projects — it could be any type of project.”
Because this is the first year of the grant, CCI has offered a sample of the types of projects they’re looking for. Examples include:
• Designing a line of shoes with integrated adaptive features that would be marketed to both disabled and nondisabled consumers
• Building an accessible pedicab to give wheelchair users more transport options in urban areas
• Designing a series of camera mounts for wheelchairs
• Creating virtual reality modules to assist with in home rehabilitation for those with transportation issues
• Creating an open-source, hands free driving adaptation for disabled dancers who use power wheelchairs
The grant eligibility requirements were left intentionally broad to encourage the submission of a wide array of creative projects. There are three main criteria: Applicants must have an SCI, the project must have the potential to generate revenue and the project must have social impact, “whether with the disability community or any other community that the person is involved with,” says Torres.
CCI is welcoming projects in any stage of development, whether they’re just an idea or need a final push to get them out in the world. Applicants are required to have a business plan for how their projects are going to generate income.
Applications are due by June 12. A panel will review applications in July, and applicants will be notified of decisions in August. Torres says the organization is willing to work with individuals who receive government benefits to disburse grants funds in a way that won’t adversely affect those benefits.