Sands Fellowship

Sands Family Social Venturing Fellowship

Bill & Susan Sands graduated from the University of Minnesota and dedicated their lives to making the Twin Cities a better community.   Through the Western Bank, Neighborhood Development Center, Jeremiah Program and numerous other social and economic development organizations, Bill and Susan provided opportunity and assistance to individuals in need.  Through Sands Family Social Venturing Fellowship, they hope to inspire future generations of Carlson MBA students to have a similar positive impact in their local community.

Financial support provides Carlson MBA students with the opportunity to create transformative summer experience as part of social venture that contributes to local community.  MBA students are encouraged to either develop plans to launch their own new social venture or co-design summer internship projects with local mission-based organizations.  Grants of $5,000 will be awarded to students who propose new ventures or internships that provide tangible benefits to the local community in the form of community and neighborhood economic development, housing, health and reducing poverty.  Additional funding is available for students whose ventures advance beyond the experiential STARTUP course.

Sands Fellows participating in this program have launched new ventures to address workforce training, affordable housing, homelessness, nutrition, social justice, mental health, youth education, gun violence, women's shelters, nonprofit capitalization, medical devices designed specifically for youth markets and a broad range of other social ventures.


2021 Sands Fellows Announced

Melanie Ellsworth
Proposed Social Venture: New Funding Sources for Women’s Shelters

Address the history of underinvestment in the women’s shelters facilities here in the Twin Cities by developing new ways to communicate the needs of these organizations and create funding channels that will provide them long-term sustainability. This effort will specifically explore potential local partnerships and test the development of potential options for increased peer-to-peer funding.


Shannon Fitzgerald
Proposed Social Venture: Social Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition

Project designed to extend the understanding of social capital and impact investing by working with Third Path Capital (led by former Sands Fellow Adam Rao).   Explore the acquisition funding landscape, research the market, and connect Third Path to other companies doing similar work.  Identify specific opportunities for launching a new enterprise using the entrepreneurship through acquisition model to transform an existing Twin Cities business into an impact organization with a social mission. 


Cy Hudson
Proposed Social Venture: Responsible Destruction of Firearms

Proposing the creation of a company dedicated to responsibly destroying unwanted firearms, which pose a personal risk and public hazard.  Project will identify the tax implications regarding charitable donations for federal and state entities, their current costs of disposal methods, and the possibility of raising initial funds to "pay for the privilege" of disposal. Develop process for legal contracts, documentation, transportation and disposal logistics.


Steven Kutz
Proposed Social Venture: Affordable Housing for Veterans

Support veteran’s efforts to simultaneously build wealth and contribute to the affordable housing stock in Minneapolis through the purchase of a multifamily home.  Develop a streamlined and replicable process for other veterans to find, finance, and rehabilitate a multifamily properties, leveraging VA loan products and industry partnership.


Sean Lundy & Ullas Pathak
Proposed Social Venture: Youth Homelessness

Conduct outreach to various stakeholders across the Twin Cities to discuss what issues currently exist in addressing teen homelessness.  Seek to open up lines of communication for potential operational bottlenecks due to inventory management that hinder the effective flow of resources from reaching target beneficiaries.  In collaboration with Bridge for Youth, Neighborhood House and Youthlink, the applicants will work to deploy mobile units and collaborate with app to socialize these services across the target population. The mobile units are individual ventures by respective organizations to meet target beneficiaries where they are, deliver resources and gather feedback.


Brian Trubowitz
Proposed Social Venture: Educational Software for Learning Disabilities & English Language Learners

Utilize both existing and newly developed educational software to combine translation software with personalized lesson plans, depending on the student’s accommodations, to provide students with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. This technology will include closed captioning, real-time translations, audio note taking, and presented visuals along with lectures. Much like a paraprofessional, this technology will help support students, teachers, and parents alike.


Returning 2020 Sands Fellows

Robert Astrup
Ongong Social Venture: Cultural Travel for Minnesotans

International travel site TripTaker was developed in 2020 to create travel experiences that help Minnesota youth become a source of cultural awareness and inclusiveness.  By curating immersive mission-based trips that expose youth to diverse cultures and pair them with local travel buddies, help current and former students to gain an appreciation for other cultures.   Also seeking to develop funding options for “global experience scholarships” that sponsor educational experiences for less fortunate individuals, with a goal of creating a more globally aware, enriched, and informed society.


Hunter Brocato
Ongoing Social Venture: Youth Job Skills Training

Expand Lion’s Fire initial pilot to test this social venture designed for job readiness training, with high school youth from North Minneapolis running a mobile wood-fired pizza oven and managing on-site operations during the summer of 2021.


In the News

Sands Fellowship

Carlson School MBA student discusses the Sands Fellowship

Student Name Year Student Name Year
Jeff Ochs 2013 Laura Johnson 2017
Eartha Bell 2013 Laura Johnston 2017
Kate Kessenich 2014 Michael Moriarity 2017
Laura-Lee Brown 2014 Harpreet Sandhawalia 2017
Tim O'Neil 2014 Peter Ryan 2017
Jon Melgaard 2014 Zach Hofield 2017
Peter Schmitt 2015 Daniella De Franco 2018
Sarah Pritzker 2015 Christopher Thompson 2018
Steven Bruce 2015 Wade Wimer 2018
Joe Braman 2015 Isaac Murphy 2018
Elise Maxwell 2015 Justin Doll 2018
Alana Buckner 2015 Jonathan Latterner 2018
Jamie Glover 2016 David Ly 2019
Rebecca Blumenshine 2016 Erik Muckey 2019
Simon Cecil 2016 Lindsay Sacco 2019
Patricia Columbus-Powers 2016 Sarah Carroll 2019
Charlie Massopust 2016 Rose Kelly 2019
Joseph Alexander 2017 Tyler Ledford 2019
Chris Grantham 2017