optiMize participation has grown by 50 - 80% every year for seven years straight.

This year, we received 363 project submissions for the optiMize Social Innovation Challenge — 73% more than last year. After five months of hard work, we funded 36 incredible teams with $300,000 to become optiMize Fellows. But still, too many deserving projects were left unfunded. Next year, our goal is to fund 50 projects.

  • $5000 gives a student a fellowship to focus on their project all summer without having to hit pause to take a traditional summer job. optiMize Fellows are selected after completing the 5-month optiMize Challenge.

  • $15,000 empowers an entire project team with summer fellowships and a seed grant to launch their work.

  • Some of our leading donors support up to 15 project teams per year with major gifts, and there are naming opportunities for endowed gifts.

  • Meanwhile, we see a real impact each year by pooling hundreds of smaller donations. Last year, more than 100 of our recently graduated alumni pooled their gifts to support an entire project team. No matter what you can give, your support will make an impact.

Can you help us reach our goal?

To receive more information on optiMize giving opportunities, please contact Chelsea Knowles from our Advancement Office at 734.764.2730 or optimizegiving@umich.edu

We think the future of higher education will look a lot like optiMize. We’re seeking the resources to make it possible for every student to have this kind of transformational experience.
— Angela Dillard, LSA Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

What will my donation support?

All donations directly support optiMize Fellows, allowing them to work full-time for the summer to bring their projects to life. Currently, too many worthwhile projects are left unfunded, and you can help us fix that! Here's just one example of an optiMize project:

Why give to optiMize?

Meeting immediate need for a program that’s grown 50 to 80% each year for seven years. In 2013, we received 19 project submissions and funded 5. This year, we received 363. There are incredibly impactful student projects that we just can't fund. Your gift helps us support more student projects, transform more students' lives, and make a bigger impact on the world.

Giving to the University of Michigan. optiMize is unique hybrid organization. We are a university department with full-time staff, and we partner with a student-led organization of the same name. As such, all gifts to optiMize are responsibly managed by the University of Michigan's robust infrastructure.

Relationships with the innovators of the future. Giving to optiMize helps build a strong relationship with the most innovative students in the world! We host special dinners for students and supporters to meet throughout the year.

An incredible community of donors. Our donors are leading philanthropists from around the country. By supporting us, you join them in the optiMize community.