Media release

Metcalf fellowships target college students from Rhode Island

Past winners performed at an improv festival in Minnesota, interned in Washington, D.C., and volunteered at a Costa Rican orphanage

College students from Rhode Island yearning for travel and self-discovery have until February 21 to apply for fellowships through the Michael P. Metcalf Memorial Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.

“These fellowships can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to follow their dreams,” said Monica Benson, who administers the program.

Students can receive up to $5,000 to pursue self-designed enrichment projects that include travel. Over the years, the fund has awarded fellowships to more than 100 students to visit sites ranging from Appalachia to Zaire.

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

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

Criteria for evaluating applications include clarity and thoughtfulness, creativity, motivation, evidence of self-direction and initiative and financial need. At the conclusion of their project, recipients must submit a final report describing the value of their experience in furthering their long-term goals.

The Michael P. Metcalf Memorial Fund was established in 1989 to honor the memory of the late publisher of the Providence Journal. When Metcalf’s widow Charlotte helped establish the Fund, she explained, “I wanted to provide an opportunity for students to imagine an experience that might be transformative and to be bold enough to leave their normal course of study to live it.”

The Christine T. Grinavic Adventurer's Fund supplements the Metcalf awards. The fund honors the memory of Grinavic, a University of Rhode Island graduate and 2001 Metcalf Fellowship winner who was lost at sea in 2007.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.