Nine projects receive Idea Lab funding

Idea Lab funds projects dedicated to 'bridging divides'

With the endorsement of 735 voters from across the JHU community, the student organization Discourse will be able to organize two debates and two artistic forums on the topic of "Growing Up in Baltimore" next year. The group received the most votes in the 2018 cycle of the Idea Lab and earned $20,000 to make its concept a reality.

"Discourse would like to host a series of events inspired by our university's complex relationship with the Baltimore community," the group wrote in its Idea Lab proposal. They said they chose their theme because "the experience of growing up is simultaneously common and unique, connecting us through change, struggle, and transformation across diverse backgrounds."

"The funded projects will add to the thoughtful, rigorous, and open dialogue that is at the heart of our academic mission."
Ronald J. Daniels
President, Johns Hopkins University

Discourse is one of nine teams receiving funding in this year's cycle.

"The Idea Lab winners this year demonstrated that there are boundless opportunities to bridge divides: with art, through teaching, by helping those in need, and by uniting different voices and giving them a chance to be heard," said JHU President Ronald J. Daniels. "The funded projects will add to the thoughtful, rigorous, and open dialogue that is at the heart of our academic mission."

The Idea Lab, which has been crowdsourcing bright ideas from the Johns Hopkins community since 2015, again offered three challenges, all of which this year shared the theme of "Ideas Bridging Divides." In total, students, faculty, and staff shared 32 ideas across the Ten by Twenty Challenge, sponsored by the Office of the President; the Diversity Innovation Grants, supported by the Diversity Leadership Council; and the Hopkins Eco-Smart Acorn Grants, offered by the Office of Sustainability.

Once the ideas were submitted online, more than 2,200 Johns Hopkins community members submitted 4,700 votes. As in past years, the organizers of the Ten by Twenty and diversity grants choose several additional winners to receive funding along with those chosen by the voters.

Details for all of the proposals are available on the Idea Lab website.

Ideas funded under the Ten by Twenty Challenge

  • Ars Medica, which received the second highest number of votes, is a nonprofit initiative that facilitates the development of humanities and arts programs in health care settings to promote the health of physicians and the humane practice of medicine.

  • IDEAL JHU is a chapter of a national nonprofit organization whose name is an acronym for Inform, Discuss, Enlighten, Acknowledge, and Learn. They were chosen by the Ten by Twenty selection committee to receive funding for a pilot after school program called Hear & Now, which is focused on civic education and community engagement for Baltimore students in elementary through high school. IDEAL JHU will be working with community organizations AZIZA/PE&CE and the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation.

  • The team that proposed Bridging Divides Through Personal Storytelling plans to use funding awarded by the committee to work with the Stoop Storytelling Series in Baltimore and the national nonprofit StoryCorps to bring a storytelling workshop, recording session, and performance to Johns Hopkins University. In its proposal, the group wrote, "When we share and really listen to each other's stories, we remember how vast a universe each person is—we are each so much more than our ideologies, political opinions, and even our cultures."

Ideas selected for Diversity Innovation Grants

  • STEM-LEADS LEM is a program to encourage Patterson High School students to pursue higher education, with a focus on STEM careers, featuring a weekly lunch program and guidance through the college application process. It received the most votes in the diversity challenge.

  • LGBTQ Health Pop-Ups Across JHMI was proposed by the LGBTQ Working Group at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and placed second in the voting. The group plans to collaborate with journal clubs, centers, and student groups across the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions to host a series of monthly events that spotlight lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer health issues.

  • Homewood Museum is being awarded funding by the DIG selection committee to support writing and production of a Families at Homewood Orientation Video. The introductory video will orient guests before they experience a new tour that explores the lives of the free and enslaved families that resided in and around the historic house during the 19th century.

  • The SAIS Symposium on Diversity in International Affairs will promote the need for diversity and inclusion in international relations and expand the access pipeline by engaging young scholars from underprivileged backgrounds and underrepresented groups from public high schools around SAIS-Johns Hopkins. This idea was also chosen by the DIG selection committee.

Eco-Smart Acorn Grant winner

  • The idea receiving funding from Eco-Smart Acorn Grant is the Wings service organization's project, Supporting Sustainable Menstrual Health in Homeless Women. The group plans to provide clean, reusable cloth menstrual pads that are hand-made by volunteers to marginalized women in Baltimore City in order to minimize plastic waste and empower and dignify the recipients.