About & FAQs

The Case Foundation and our partners are giving away up to $670,000 in grants and prizes. We’re searching for undiscovered social innovators who are dreaming big and taking risks to change their communities and the world.

Finding Fearless begins with YOU.


Did you make a big bet that paid off? Did you experiment over and over again before coming up with the right one? Did you learn from failure, succeed through uncommon alliances and partnerships, or let urgency conquer your fears? Yes? Then you are probably a Fearless Changemaker and didn’t even know it!

We are looking for stories of the unsung, unnoticed, and uncelebrated individuals in communities across the country that have a successful track record of tackling social challenges because their approach is bold, uncommon, experimental, unconventional, and fearless.

Check out our Grant Guidelines to learn more about what we're looking for.

What is Finding Fearless?

Finding Fearless is a nationwide campaign to fund Fearless Changemakers, presented by the Case Foundation in partnership with Microsoft and REI. Participants will have the opportunity to compete for $670,000 in grants and prizes.

How does the contest work?

Finding Fearless is a three-phase campaign:

  • Step 1 - YOU NOMINATE: First, you nominate yourself or someone you know to be one of America’s Most Fearless Changemakers. We will accept and review all eligible submissions received by October 15 outlining active initiatives led by fearless changemakers with a plan to continue or expand their work.
  • Step 2 - WE NARROW THE FIELD: Our Fearless Academy - a team of 75 judges representing the Case Foundation and our partners - will review and assess all applications according to our published grant guidelines to determine the Finding Fearless winners. Winners will each receive a grant of $10,000 or $1,500. All will have the opportunity to compete in “fan favorite” voting for more grant money and other prizes.
  • Step 3 - YOU VOTE FOR FAN FAVORITES! In the spirit of citizen-centered approach to philanthropy, we want you to decide which fearless project should receive a $10,000 bonus grant and other fearless prizes.
     
When is Finding Fearless?

Finding Fearless kicks off at 3pm EDT on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. Nominations will be open for three weeks (closing at 2:59pm EDT on Monday, October 15th). Public voting for fan favorite prizes will occur from 3pm EST November 16th to 2:59pm EST November 28st, 2012. Final winners will be announced in December.

How do I get started?

You can nominate yourself or someone you know at FindingFearless.org. Answer a few quick questions about why you or a friend and the project/initiative itself is fearless and you’ll be entered to win daily prizes and up to $20,000 in grants and other prizes. Don’t forget to come back to FindingFearless.org to vote for Fan Favorites on November 16th!

Who is eligible?

We will only accept nominations for individuals who reside in one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia and are working on existing projects focused within that same area. If projects serve people or communities beyond this area, the nominee and any major affiliated organization must be based within the 50 United States or the District of Columbia and working to engage residents within the States or District in such efforts.

Nominees and nominators must be 14 years of age or older. You may be affiliated with an organization, as long as you apply as an individual, not on behalf of your organization.

Nominations must be submitted in English, as we do not have the time or resources to translate applications from the many diverse languages spoken within the 50 United States and D.C.

An individual can be:

  • A fearless leader or employee of an organization or group who is dreaming big and taking risks to change their community and the world.
  • A fearless local elected official or government employee who is dreaming big and taking risks to change their community and the world.
  • A fearless businessperson or social entrepreneur who is dreaming big and taking risks to change their community and the world.
  • A fearless community member or any mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, son, daughter, brother, and so on not connected to any organization but is still dreaming big and taking risks to change their community and the world.

While we love community-based projects, we recognize that community can be defined many different ways - a nationwide network, a group of like-minded people, an online issue forum – and we welcome nominations for fearless changemakers making things happening in a community, however you define it.

The winning entries must be for existing and current projects or initiatives that could use grant funding to continue or expand. Each individual is only eligible to win for one project. If the entry is not a self-entry, the individual responsible for the fearless project is the individual eligible to win grant prizes. Each individual is eligible to complete one self-nomination. In addition to a self-nomination, each individual can nominate five projects that are not their own. Any additional nominations will not be eligible. Daily or incentive prizes during the application phase of the contest are open to any applicants.

What types of fearless projects are you looking for?

There are many different ways to think about fearlessness. In our report To Be Fearless, we found that the fearless changemakers approach creating change in the following ways. So, successful nominations will outline projects or initiatives that:

  1. Make Big Bets: Set audacious, not incremental, goals.
  2. Experiment Early & Often: Don’t be afraid to go first.
  3. Make Failure Matter: Failure teaches. Learn from it. 
  4. Reach Beyond Your Bubble: It’s comfortable to go it alone. But innovation happens at intersections. 
  5. Let Urgency Conquer Fear: Don’t overthink and overanalyze. Do.

Does your project fall into one of these categories or maybe have a little of all of them? Then you’ve got what it takes to win! Basically, we’re looking for fearless individuals who are not letting traditional approaches hold them back from thinking innovatively about how to be a changemaker. We are looking for stories of the undiscovered individuals in communities across the country that have a successful track record of tackling social challenges because their approach is bold, uncommon, experimental, unconventional, and fearless. Learn more about how we define what it means to Be Fearless at: http://befearless.casefoundation.org/

And remember, we’re looking for undiscovered fearless changemakers, so thanks to all the famous and highly-regarded folks that are changing the world. But we’re looking for Mrs. Jones making a difference on Main Street, not Mrs. Jolie making a difference everywhere. We’re looking for Councilman Corey Bookman making a difference in Nacadoches, not Mayor Corey Booker making a difference in Newark. We’re looking for entrepreneur Howie Schroeder making a difference through his local startup, not Howard Schultz making a difference at Starbucks. You get the point!

Can I apply more than once?

Each individual is eligible to complete one self-nomination. In addition to a self-nomination, each individual can nominate five projects that are not their own. Any additional nominations will not be eligible.

Can I apply as a couple or a team?

You will need to pick a primary nominee as our system is only set up to capture individuals. You can discuss the couple, team, or partnership in the Question 3, which states, "Tell us about the Fearless Changemaker and team."

What prizes are available?

A total of $670,000 in grants and prizes is available.

From all eligible nominations, the Finding Fearless winners will be eligible to receive the following awards:

  • Grants of up to $10,000 for their project from the Case Foundation
  • $25,000 Microsoft Software Grant for their nonprofit
  • Microsoft Tech Prize Packs
  • $100 REI gift cards
  • One Microsoft YouthSpark Prize featuring a tablet running Windows RT

During Fan Favorite Voting, you choose who receives the following fearless prizes:

  • $10,000 bonus grant from the Case Foundation 
  • REI Adventures experience for four to Bryce Canyon National Park

Grants awarded to the Finding Fearless winners range from $1,500 to $10,000. The maximum amount of grant awards available to an individual project is one Finding Fearless winners $10,000 grant and one Fan Favorite Voting $10,000 bonus grant, totaling $20,000. Additional non-monetary prizes and incentives will be offered during the application and voting phases.

Can I submit an idea that I haven’t executed yet?

No. Finding Fearless is only accepting applications for existing and current projects that can use our grant to continue or expand.

When is the deadline to submit?

Nominations will be open from September 25th until October 15th, 2012.

When will I find out if I won?

We will announce the finalists and open public Fan Favorite Voting on November 16th, 2012. If you are a finalist, we will notify you at that time and you can rally your network to win additional grants and prizes.

Do I have to be a Fearless Changemaker to submit a nomination?

No! We know that some Fearless Changemakers might not have enough time (or might be too humble!) to nominate themselves. We want you to recognize and appreciate those Fearless Changemakers in your community who you think deserve to take their projects to the next level.

How are the grants awarded?

The Case Foundation will award a grant to an eligible nonprofit organization selected by the winning individual to manage the grant award. The nonprofit organization must agree to appoint the winner as the Project Manager and give the winner authority to manage the grant award to execute the project as described in the winning nomination. All parties must agree to the terms of the Grant Agreement before the award will be disbursed. If the winning individual does not have a nonprofit partner, the Case Foundation will work with him or her to find an appropriate partner.

How do I know if my application was accepted?

If your application was accepted, you will be directed to a confirmation page that thanks you for submitting. You will also get an email from the Case Foundation within a week with tips and tools for Fearless Changemakers.

What is Fan Favorite Voting?

After the Fearless Academy – a team of about 75 judges from the Case Foundation and our partners – narrows the field of applicants to the Top 20 winners, you get a chance to vote for them to win additional prizes! Fan Favorite Voting will be open from 3pm EST November 16th to 2:59pm EST November 28th.

How do I vote?

Voting will be held on the Finding Fearless website and on the Case Foundation Facebook Application. You will have a chance to review all Finding Fearless winners to decide whom you want to win additional prizes. Vote for your favorite project to win the overall Fan Favorite Award ($10,000!) and/or the REI Adventure Trip to Bryce Canyon.

Where do I go to vote?

You can vote at the Finding Fearless website or on our Case Foundation Facebook App.

What can I get for voting?

Each day of Fan Favorite Voting, we will give away a $50 Amazon or iTunes gift card to one random voter.

How many times can I vote?

You are eligible to cast a ballot once over the course of voting. On the ballot you will be asked to select which project you would like to win each of the available awards. You may select the same project to win all of the awards or select different projects for each..

Do I have to log in to vote?

No, but you will need to provide us with a valid email address to vote.

What prizes are being offered to the Top 20?

The Finding Fearless winners are eligible to win a bonus $10,000 grant from the Case Foundation and an REI Adventure Trip to Bryce Canyon. Additionally, we will be giving out Network for Good gift cards to the finalists who get the most votes in one day (the 24-hour period beginning at 3pm EST and ending at 2:59 EST).

When will the grants be distributed?

Grants will be distributed before December 31st, 2012.

What is the Case Foundation?

The Case Foundation, established by Steve and Jean Case in 1997, invests in people and ideas that can change the world. We create and support initiatives that leverage new technologies and entrepreneurial approaches to drive innovation in the social sector and encourage individuals to get involved with the communities and causes they care about.

What is Be Fearless?

Be Fearless is the approach and the challenge of the Case Foundation in 2012 and beyond. If we’re going to keep up with the rapid pace of change and the daunting complexities of these challenges, we must rethink traditional models for tackling social challenges. It’s time for us to be bold, act with urgency, and embrace risks with potential to produce exponential social returns. It’s time for us to Be Fearless! Learn more.

What is Microsoft?

Microsoft is focused on creating opportunities for youth. Microsoft YouthSpark is a companywide initiative to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the worldover the next three years.  Microsoft YouthSpark empowers youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship, helping them create a real impact for a better tomorrow. Find out more at: http://www.microsoft.com/youthspark and follow us on Twitter at @msftcitizenship.

What is REI?

REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions. For more information, visit www.rei.com, follow us at www.twitter.com/rei and www.facebook.com/rei.  

What is the Goldhirsh Foundation?

The Goldhirsh Foundation exists for social innovators and is run by social innovators. The Goldhirsh Foundation has been making grants for almost a decade, but was re-launched in 2012 in Los Angeles. The Goldhirsh Foundation awards grants on an invitation-only basis and supports social innovation efforts across three areas: opportunity, sustainability, and activation.  To learn more, visit: www.goldhirshfoundation.org.

Learn More

For more information, check out our Grant Guidelines, Be Fearless Resources, and stories from other Fearless Changemakers.