Cultivating community partnerships across the state of Michigan.
optiMize moMentum Fellowship
In collaboration with community colleges across the state, optiMize runs year-round social innovation training programs for students at community colleges to work on their own self-directed social impact projects. The programs culminate in a multi-day Fellowship experience on campus at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Participants pitch their project ideas to receive funding, learn more about transferring to Michigan, and build community with students from other campuses across the state. This initiative is part of Michigan’s broader Transfer Bridges to the Humanities effort.
Campus Innovators Program and BOLD Futures Summer Camp
We’ve teamed up with Washtenaw Community College and Eastern Michigan University to cultivate communities of social innovators on campuses across Washtenaw County. optiMize trains college students from all three campuses to serve as facilitators for a social innovation summer camp for high school students across Washtenaw County, hosted at WCC in August.
Mellon Fellows & Transfer Student Support Group
Throughout the year, we run a Fellowship for community college transfer students who want to cultivate a supportive community for their fellow transfer student peers. Our Mellon Fellows travel back to their community college campuses to recruit prospective transfer students, host weekly dinners for transfer students already on U-M’s Ann Arbor campus, and help transfer students integrate into the optiMize community.
We support students at colleges and universities in Michigan who want to learn from our model and create their own optiMize-like communities and programs on their campuses.
Social Innovation Challenge: Detroit Track
With support from the University of Michigan Provost’s Office, in 2019 we launched the optiMize Social Innovation Challenge Detroit Track. The program offers dedicated funding, community support, mentorship, and travel support for students working on projects in collaboration with Detroit leaders to meet pressing challenges in the city.