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Baltimore Ignite innovator grant deadline is tomorrow

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Get your applications in today! Baltimore Ignite wants big thinkers who just need a little loot to get their idea of the ground. The innovative speaker series devoted to sparking new conversations and innovative thinking across cultures and disciplines has one $1500 grant available for the person deemed to have the most innovative idea that will benefit the citizens of Baltimore City.

The grant is the brainchild of Heather Sarkissian, a former member of the Peace Corps. "My background is in economic and social development. I was helping someone write a grant application, five pages for 1500 bucks, and I said there has to be a better way to fund these projects," she explains.

The experience got Sarkissian thinking about Ignite, the decision to charge for tickets to the upcoming Ignite in March (so attendees have guaranteed seats), her Peace Corps experience and access to grant funding. "Because it was pretty easy to access grant funding you could do these really cool projects if the barrier to entry were a lot lower."

In keeping with the Ignite philosophy emphasizing brevit, the grant application can be no longer than 650 words. The project must be carried out by an individual and cannot be a continuation of a project that's already begun. It must be completed in six months and the winner will present the project at Baltimore Ignite 6.

"The idea is really just to provide people with the opportunity to realize a project that they've been thinking of, but didn't have the access to the cash the needed. Secondly, and more importantly, it's about igniting a conversation around really neat ideas for making Baltimore a better place. That's the more crucial part because in the end we'll only select one winner for the full amount, but that will get people thinking 'if I had $1500 I'd want to this or want to do that,'" she says.

Over time Sarkissian expects that the Ignition grant will gain momentum with each successive Ignite and build up a database of "really cool ideas." The hope is that the grant will not only inspire Baltimore's citizens to think about what they can do to improve the city but also point the city's cash poor big thinkers in the direction of Baltimore organizations from which they could seek funding.

"Some of these individual citizens will either come up with ideas that are already being executed or fits very nicely with the mission of a non-profit and ideally we could just throw a contest that pairs these individuals up with the right organization that's doing this already," Sarkissian notes.

The grant committee includes members from the Baltimore Community Foundation, Enoch Pratt Library as well as several Baltimore Community Foundation grant recipients.

Source: Heather Sarkissian, Ignite Baltimore
Writer: Walaika Haskins
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