Rhode Island Foundation Offers Adventure Seekers $5,000 Fellowships through Metcalf Memorial Fund

College students with a thirst for adventure and a yearning to explore the world have until February 20 to seize the opportunity to apply for fellowships of up to $5,000. The Michael P. Metcalf Memorial Fund, administered by the Rhode Island Foundation, is accepting applications for this life-changing opportunity.

“This can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to expand their horizons through travel and discovery,” remarked David N. Cicilline, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

Since its inception in 1989, the fund has granted fellowships to over 100 students, enabling them to visit diverse destinations from Appalachia to Zaire. Past recipients have engaged in activities such as performing at an improv festival in Minnesota, working at a South African wildlife sanctuary, and volunteering at a Costa Rican orphanage.

In 2022, Emily Gray received a $5,000 fellowship to embark on a journey to Ireland, where she explored the intersection of Irish pagan deities and the Catholic church. A project that demanded extensive travel throughout the entire country, Gray, of Irish heritage, also took the opportunity to reconnect with extended family.

“I experienced a self-reckoning that I would not have had without the opportunity to go on a journey in my ancestral homeland, an intense personal journey that allowed me to reconnect with parts of myself that had become unmoored,” she shared.

The fund’s primary goal is to broaden student perspectives and enhance personal growth. Eligible uses include domestic and foreign travel, as well as participation in internship and public service programs. However, grants cannot be used for standard semester-abroad programs or post-graduate travel.

Applicants are welcome from out-of-state colleges and universities, but they must be legal residents of Rhode Island. Grants are not intended for the purchase of equipment or other capital expenses. Applications must provide a thorough description of proposed activities, demonstrate clear purpose, and indicate financial need.

Evaluation criteria for applications encompass clarity and thoughtfulness, creativity, motivation, evidence of self-direction and initiative, and financial need. Upon completing their projects, recipients are required to submit a final report describing the value of their experience in furthering their long-term goals.

The Michael P. Metcalf Memorial Fund was established to honor the memory of the late publisher of the Providence Journal in 1989. Charlotte Metcalf, the widow, expressed her desire to provide an opportunity for students to imagine a transformative experience and to be bold enough to step away from their normal course of study.

In addition to the Metcalf awards, the Christine T. Grinavic Adventurer’s Fund supplements the fellowships. This fund pays tribute to Christine T. Grinavic, a University of Rhode Island graduate and 2001 Metcalf Fellowship recipient, who was lost at sea in 2007.




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