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Prior Projects

The Kenan-Biddle Partnership

The Kenan-Biddle Partnership, funded by the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust and The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, offered grants up to $5,000 to accepted project proposals that enhance the intellectual life at both universities by strengthening established or encouraging new collaborations between Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Partnership awarded approximately $50,000 in grant funds annually.

The Kenan-Biddle Partnership awarded seed grants to proposals that enhanced the intellectual life at both universities by strengthening established or encouraging new collaborations between Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Each team was required to have at least one student member currently enrolled at UNC and Duke.

The Daily Tar Heel wrote about the Kenan-Biddle Partnership in “Despite rivalry, UNC and Duke students work together to empower community.”

2021 Kenan Biddle Grant Recipients

B3 Coffee

B3 Coffee is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves as a platform of positive visibility and community connection for adults with and without disabilities. We extend meaningful opportunities for vocational skill-building, civic engagement, and friendship. Prior to COVID-19, B3 Coffee operated as a pop-up coffee stand serving a variety of community venues in the Triangle area (i.e. conferences, co-working spaces, special events). In response to the pandemic, we transitioned to remote community-building as we develop plans for growth. Post COVID-19, we hope to re-emerge as an inclusive employer with a free-standing location.

Mission: Creating a space where everyone belongs, one cup at a time.

Healthy Hands

Water scarcity threatens the health of over 2.7 billion people worldwide every year—a humanitarian crisis that is especially pronounced in highly populated territories, directly traumatizing the civilians’ health outcomes. In India, diarrheal disease is a leading cause of death and a direct result of inadequate water access. The findings of a UNC-CH URCT-funded research project led by our team’s Co-President, Mehal Churiwal, and the auxiliary on-campus consultation at Duke University and UNC-CH have enabled us to take the culturally-familiar concept of the hand pump and design a cost-effective plan to assemble and maintain Afridev Hand pumps in impoverished villages severely impacted by waterborne diseases. The mission of our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Healthy Hands Initiative, is to apply the discoveries from our online and fieldwork research to create high-impact, low cost solutions for diarrheal disease in the Bokaro district of Jharkhand, India—whose clean water supplies consistently fall short—by installing and maintaining hand pumps that will supply to villagers 24/7, year-round access to potable water. The Kenan-Biddle Partnership will equip our group to (1) initiate our pilot project in the village of Lalpur by December of 2020 by subsidizing construction and repair costs, (2) begin collecting evaluations from local beneficiaries and our community partner to gauge public health impacts for up to a decade, (3) launch an international office to better facilitate future project management, and (4) optimize and expand our approach into neighboring villages with similar need. Our project will enforce a lasting systematic impact, ensuring that thousands of locals will not have to draw polluted water and suffer devastating health outcomes.


At LiRA we develop technologies that build a world where all communication is realized. Our first product is lip-reading software designed to empower voiceless individuals and advance the standard of healthcare. LiRA’s innovation is built on advancements in computer vision, machine learning, and natural language processing. LiRA’s software operates hardware-agnostic across devices (i.e. iPhone, tablets). Facial motion captured by the device’s video camera is effectively “lip-read” by our software’s novel neural network. What would have been a lost message is then presented as near-time text and audio via the device. LiRA’s technology aims to restore lost patient autonomy by creating a more equitable and inclusive environment. Downstream effects of more natural, complete communication look to improve medical and psychological outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and improve clinician work efficiency.

Mission: Scholarship

Mission: Scholarship is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides free and accessible college and scholarship application guidance to underserved students. Our organization emphasizes flexibility, personalization, and comprehensive planning in our approach to college and scholarship application counseling.

School for a Village

School for a Village is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to bridging the gap in science and technology education through need-specific support. We work with secondary schools in Kenya and India to promote digital inclusion and quality education. Some examples of our past projects include providing fully-furnished science laboratories to schools and hosting design thinking bootcamps. Currently, we are launching a peer-to-peer program, where students who are struggling academically at lower-resourced schools will connect to and learn from students at well-resourced schools in Kenya.”

2020 Kenan Biddle Grant Recipients

Pink Stream

According to the Meta‐analysis of 5 Decades of U.S. Draw‐A‐Scientist Studies, among children who are asked to draw a scientist, only 28% draw a women scientist. In 1977 the percentage was less than 1%, so there has been a significant increase; however, the stereotypes are still apparent. This especially is a problem for girls that cannot find role models in the field and fell excluded from these fields. Pink STREAM’s goal is to educate, motivate, empower, and inspire women and minorities in Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Math and get rid of the stereotypes. The steps towards this goal are taken by educating K-5 students about STREAM topics and a diverse range of role models through courses in the community, books, youtube videos, trips, social media and more. Website:

Students will organize a curriculum for K-12 children about topics including Arduino, Scratch, Snap Circuits, Sphero, Image Processing, and inspirational topics such as women scientists. Next steps included in the project are publishing activity books, organizing a Women Scientist art contest, and creating an app for coding education.

South Carolina STEM

The team aims to inspire the next generation of Black female STEM leaders by developing a continuous passion for STEM careers from an early age and maintaining interest throughout middle and high school. Through experiential activities and workshops that excites, engages, and enriches, our vision is to increase STEM awareness and involvement through a unique, hands-on approach. By creating a STEM community for Black STEM professional women, the South Carolina STEM initiative works to increase their representation and retainment.

Oceans Lifestyles, Inc

OCEANS stands for outreach, community engagement, advocacy and non-discriminatory support. We are a support and advocacy group for adolescents on their weight management journeys. We empower adolescents through three different areas of programming: socials, an annual 5k and policy-based advocacy projects. Melissa Carrier serves as our faculty advisor and we are honored to receive funding through the Kenan Biddle Partnership. Through our grant, we will be able to begin developing an app that will help us further our reach nationally. Funding from the Kenan Biddle Partnership will also assist us in planning and hosting our first annual 5k, which raises money for continued obesity research.

Wajir Youth Start-Up Kit

The Wajir start-up kit project aims to support and spur business in Wajir County (Northern Kenya). Our mission is to provide the necessary support and resources to students of technical schools. These students, disenfranchised by the community, lack the business infrastructure to build upon their skills. By providing the startup kits and mentorship to successfully set up their own businesses, this project will give young people from the county an opportunity to earn an income while also providing the necessary services to the community. Funding from the Kenan Biddle Partnership (KBP) will assist us in creating a network of support that will greatly impact the Wajirian Somali community. KBP will create a lasting change in Wajir as the creation of businesses will help bolster the economy and provide hope to future business leaders. Our faculty advisor Suzanne Shanahan (Director, Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University) will also be assisting us in achieving our goals.


Red_ is an internet service tailor-made to the needs of Latin America’s urban poor. The company started in Medellín, Colombia’s Comuna 13, where they’ve installed a Wi-Fi network that people can use to connect to the internet both at home and throughout their neighborhood for one low price. Customers buy access for short periods of time, giving them flexibility in terms of when they spend and how much they spend on internet. This enables people who couldn’t formerly afford internet service to connect!

Namuna Agro-Tourism Cooperative

Namuna Agro-Tourism Cooperative is a social entrepreneurship initiative based in Gijyan village of Parbat, Nepal. It is designed to integrate people’s basic livelihood of subsistence organic farming, animal husbandry, and culture practices with home-stay village tourism programs, hiking, swimming and fishing in the river. The project is aimed at increasing the income levels of people in the village, ultimately lifting them out of absolute poverty. Namuna’s huge scope of scalability and replicability will be an epitome in use of intermediate resources for rural development. KBP will help make this life-changing project a success by providing its valuable financial, technical and institutional support. Namuna team is very much motivated to work with KBP and people in the village to create a real difference.


The Impact of COVID-19 on North Carolina


Health: Aditi Adhikari ’20, Rachel Beardsley ’20, Olivia Huckel ’20, Anwesha Nandi ’20

Economy: Gretchen Blankinship ’20, Etheridge Daniels, Valerie Lundeen ’20, Susanna LaRochelle ’20, Ray Palma

Poverty: Abby Cooper ’20, Sarah Mackenzie ‘20, Allie Omens ‘20, Lauren Talley ’20

Education: Coleman Evans ’20, Lucy Russell ‘20, David Smith ‘20, Emily Parker ’20

Faculty Advisor

Daniel Gitterman,  Duncan MacRae ’09 and Rebecca Kyle MacRae Professor and Chair of Public Policy

Ph.D. Student Mentors

Claire Breen, Alexandria Huber, Adams Nager


JB Buxton, Richard Harrill, and John Hardin

The authors acknowledge generous funding from the Hodding Carter III Public Service Fund, Hammer Ph.D. Fund, John Hardin Undergraduate Excellence Fund,
Thomas W. Ross Leadership Fund and Nancy Stegman Ph.D. Fund.

Zoom Press Conference July 23, 2020 (Zoom VIDEO)

(Impact of COVID-19 on North Carolina)

Presentation   |   Executive Summary

US Census Household Pulse Survey Data (NC)


Economy and Labor Market

Poverty and Food Insecurity


Higher Education

Related information

Governor Cooper Directs $95.6 Million to Support Students Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Media Coverage of Press Event

UNC College of Arts and Sciences profile

The Well newsletter 8/19/20


UNC Group Shows Coronavirus Impact is Unequal Across NC

As COVID-19 cases surge among Latinos, N.C. leaders amplify messages of preventive measures

Will Michaels (WUNC) Chance Of Dying From COVID-19 Is Higher In NC’s Rural Counties, Report Says

A report from UNC Chapel Hill says there’s a higher probability of death from COVID-19 in some of North Carolina’s rural counties.

A group of public policy students analyzed death and infection rates in each of the state’s 100 counties. They found the highest-risk areas had more people of color, higher poverty rates and multiple meat processing plants.

Researcher Aditi Adhikari says existing health care disparities in rural areas could have factored in the results.

Maggie Brown (WRAL) UNC research: Areas hardest hit by coronavirus face greater challenge to get students back in the classroom

A research team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released findings on Thursday about how the coronavirus has had a disproportionate impact across the state.

One of the findings was that school districts in areas were COVID-19 cases per 100,000 were the highest were the least prepared to support student needs.

“We don’t really know how students have been impacted in terms of achievement,” the research team reported.

Judith Retana (CBS 17) UNC research shows NC schools not prepared to support students during pandemic 

A research report from a group of UNC-Chapel Hill Public Policy students and recent alumni found North Carolina schools were largely underprepared for the return of school.

The students found people were facing higher rates of anxiety in the last few months.

That was partly due to the finding that counties with greater probabilities of COVID-19 deaths were more likely to have higher poverty rates.

(WWAY) UNC Chapel Hill students present data on statewide COVID impacts  

As the pandemic continues to hit people and communities in North Carolina, students at UNC Chapel Hill released data showing how it has specifically affected different populations.

The group of students gathered data over the last few months on how people have been affected socioeconomically, physically and emotionally.

According to the data, Columbus County was one of the top ten counties in the state with the highest likelihood of contracting COVID-19. Students explained, six of those counties have six or more animal farms, and rely on the meaat processing industry.


Aaron Sánchez-Guerra (News & Observer) Via Twitter: NC counties with meat processing plants also have large non-white populations and high poverty levels, which are all factors that give those counties high Covid-19 death rates, this UNC study says.

Analisa Sorrells, Chief of Staff at Education NC Via Twitter (full thread): I’m tuning into a presentation on the impact of COVID-19 in North Carolina by @UNCPublicPolicy graduates + students. They are sharing data related to COVID-19’s impact on the economy, education, and more.