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CHICAGO, Aug. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Philanthropists and entrepreneurs Leslie Bluhm and David Helfand, along with Chicago Ideas Week (CIW), are proud to announce the 2014 Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation (BHSI) Fellows. The Fellowship supports socially-minded innovators, all under the age of 35, whose non-profit and for-profit ventures tackle major social problems. This year's Fellows have created educational, health and data analytics platforms, products and organizations that impact individuals throughout the U.S. and the world.

"We are thrilled to support the work of these passionate young innovators," said Co-Founder Leslie Bluhm. "The 2014 BHSI Fellows have created entrepreneurial organizations that are effecting social change, and our fellowship is designed to support these entrepreneurs and to help amplify their impact."

Each BHSI Fellow receives $10,000 in financial support toward their work. BHSI Fellows also participate in events throughout Chicago Ideas Week, October 13–19, 2014, and have the opportunity to present their ideas on the CIW stage.

"We are excited to welcome this year's BHSI Fellows to the CIW stage," said CIW Executive Director Jessica Malkin. "Chicago Ideas Week is an incredible platform for these social entrepreneurs to share their ideas. Our events provide a unique opportunity for Fellows to connect and collaborate with social, political and business leaders from across the globe."

This year's Fellows have created organizations whose work has impacted individuals across the globe.

Zubaida Bai, AYZH, 33, Chennai, India

Zubaida Bai is a mechanical engineer–turned–social entrepreneur with a deep passion for improving the lives of underprivileged women. Founded in 2010, AYZH provides clean birth kits to impoverished women worldwide and aims to reduce the nearly 800 preventable childbirth deaths that occur each day. Today, Bai is a recognized leader in the field of "appropriate technology" for the developing world, with a rare combination of expertise in engineering, global women's health and business. Bai has a Master's in Engineering from Dalarna University in Sweden and an MBA in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise from Colorado State University. Recent honors and awards include: World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2013), Echoing Green Fellow (2012), INDIAFRICA prize winner (2012), World Health Care Congress Award (2011), Index Award (2011), Ashoka Maternal Health Champion (2010–2011), Clinton Global Initiative (2010) and TED Fellow (2009).

Ted Gonder, Moneythink, 24, Chicago, IL

Ted Gonder is the co-founding CEO of Moneythink, a movement of young people restoring the economic health of the U.S. through preventative, transformative and evidence-driven youth financial education. Since 2009, Moneythink has trained more than 1,000 college leaders to serve as financial mentors and college role models to more than 9,000 teenagers across 10 states. The organization recently launched a mobile app to support and further the mentorship provided in the classroom. Gonder received his BA from the University of Chicago. He works with the White House as a member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans. His work has been featured on MTV and in the Wall Street Journal and Crain's, and he has spoken at the White House, U.S. Senate, NYSE, TEDx and at top companies such as PwC, IDEO, Dell and Allstate.

Zak Kaufman, Vera Solutions, 28, Madison, WI

Zak Kaufman is co-founder and CEO of Vera Solutions, a social enterprise using cloud and mobile technology to improve data systems for social-impact organizations worldwide. Since 2010, Vera Solutions has worked with more than 95 organizations in more than 40 countries, from community-based clinics and up-and-coming social enterprises to major international NGOs and some of the world's largest global funders. With the improved data systems and analytics tools put in place by Vera Solutions, these organizations are better able to quantify their impact and respond to their community's needs. Kaufman has 5 years of field experience across Southern Africa and Latin America and holds an MSc and Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and has been honored as a Marshall Scholar, Truman Scholar, All-USA First Academic Team Member and Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur.

Beth Schmidt, Wishbone, 30, San Francisco, CA

Beth Schmidt is the founder and executive director of Wishbone, a non-profit organization dedicated to sending low-income students to high-quality out-of-school programs. She is a former Teach for America Corps Member, graduated from Middlebury College and holds a Master's in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University. Schmidt is a Kauffman Labs Education Ventures Fellow, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and was recognized twice (in 2013 and 2014) on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for her work in education. She was honored by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper and attended the organization's 2014 annual meeting in Davos, participating on the International Business Council to discuss the international youth unemployment crisis. 

About Chicago Ideas Week

Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) is a 501(c)(3) organization. CIW is a premier annual gathering of global thought leaders created to drive ideas into actionable results. It is a platform for ideas, created for innovators, thinkers, doers and interested citizens from across Chicago, the greater Midwest and the world. Its goal is to stimulate new initiatives and ventures, create new connections and collaborations, and establish a Community of Curiosity. For more information, please visit and follow Chicago Ideas on Facebook and Twitter via @chicagoideas.

About Leslie Bluhm and David Helfand

Leslie Bluhm and David Helfand are committed to making a positive impact through philanthropy in the Midwest, as well as nationally. Leslie is the co-founder of Chicago Cares, the largest volunteer service organization in the Midwest today. Leslie's ambition for the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship is to help identify and support the next generation of socially-minded entrepreneurs. David is CEO of Equity Commonwealth Properties and co-president of Equity Group Investments. David serves on the boards of Lurie Children's Hospital, Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences and the executive committee for the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

Media Contacts:
Jessica Malkin
Executive Director, Chicago Ideas Week
[email protected]

Brianna Huy
Director of Media Relations, Chicago Ideas Week
[email protected]

SOURCE Chicago Ideas Week

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