Dell Gives Its Biggest-Ever Gift To UT For Social Innovation Competition

What starts here changes the world — and Dell agrees. In its largest-ever donation to UT, the Austin-area-based corporation will give the University’s RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, part of the LBJ School of Public Affairs, $5 million over the next five years.

The money goes to endow and expand the international Dell Social Innovation Competition, which encourages student entrepreneurs to combat social problems through international business initiatives. This year, nearly 1,500 applicants from 85 different countries applied.

And there was no shortage of great ideas. The student teams masterfully tackled critical global issues, including malnutrition, sanitation, and green energy, with an emphasis on struggling African nations.

The amazing thing is that with Dell’s help, these student-generated ideas will actually get the money to launch or expand. The clever minds behind last year’s winning project, Shining Hope for Communities, already have founded a tuition-free school for girls and a community clinic in Kibera, Kenya, and now can grow their efforts.

In addition to the donation, Dell is also providing 100 executive-level mentors for the participants, part of a global mentorship program that was piloted this year. 

“We are most grateful to Dell for being outstanding partners on this exciting journey of empowering and engaging students around the world in social entrepreneurship, a new way of tackling global social and environmental problems,” said Peter Frumkin, director of the RGK Center and co-creator of the Social Innovation Competition.

This year’s first-place winner was TakaTaka Solutions, a team from the London School of Economics, whose affordable waste management initiatives in Nairobi, Kenya won them $50,000 in seed money.

To learn more about all of this year’s finalists, click here. 

Dell’s Chief Marketing Officer Karen Quinto hands the $5 million donation to UT President Bill Powers at the Dell Social Innovation Competition Award Ceremony on May 16. Photo courtesy of Sasha Haagensen.



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