About the Fund for Innovation

At Middlebury, we define a culture of innovation as one that embraces experimentation as a means of continuous improvement in the world we live in.

The Ron and Jessica Liebowitz Fund for Innovation (FFI) was established in honor of Middlebury's 16th President and his wife in March 2015 by a group of donors who believe that a distinctive culture of creative thinking is essential to the Middlebury community. The FFI is committed to the idea that creative work should serve the institution's needs. In order to remain relevant and timely in meeting those needs, the president has the discretion to define the fund's annual scope and focus. 

In January 2017, President Laurie Patton determined that for the immediate future the FFI would support "educational innovation." To advance that goal, the FFI therefore seeks proposals for experimental ideas and projects that have the potential to create lasting, positive change to Middlebury's educational experience. Through the process of creating, reviewing, and developing the ideas that come to the FFI, we hope to expand our collective understanding of what it means to be innovative in an academic setting.

There are two ways current students, faculty, and staff may apply for these funds. Applications for proposals over $2,000 are accepted once a semester in the fall and spring. To read more about the regular application process and submit an application, please visit the Apply page. Applications for proposals requesting no more than $2,000 are now being accepted on a rolling basis. You can find information on this shorter process on the Apply page as well.

Descriptions of funded projects can be found on the Funded Projects page.

The FFI is led by a Fund Advisory Board and supported by two Presidential Fellows. Our Fund Advisory Board members are drawn from diverse backgrounds, from academia to venture capital, and represent a variety of constituencies, including students, faculty, staff, and administrators from across the institution. To learn more about our Board, please visit the Advisory Board page.