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The Kenan-Biddle Partnership, funded by the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust and The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, offers  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 awards approximately $50,000 in grant funds annually.


Do you have a project idea to affect positive community change utilizing the intellect, talent, and resources at both UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University?  The Kenan-Biddle Partnership Grant may be the perfect boost to either get your new project off the ground or push an existing one into high gear!

The Kenan-Biddle Partnership awards seed grants to 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.  Each team is required to have at least one student member currently enrolled at UNC and Duke.

During this unprecedented time, we have all been required to form and to strengthen our virtual communications and collaborations in creative ways. To support the necessity for virtual communities, this year the Kenan-Biddle Partnership grants will fund projects that are designed for building remote communities.  


The application period has ended.  (For reference: fillable application PDF.)


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


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 Startup-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.


2020 Review Committee

Dan Gitterman, UNC Public Policy

Amanda Brumwell, former recipient, Managing Director, Advance Access & Delivery

Anne Cabell, UNC Gillings School of Public Health

Melissa Carrier, Innovate Carolina

Denali Dahl, former recipient, PhD candidate in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering between UNC Chapel Hill & NC State University

Lindsey Miller Furiness, Civic Engagement at Duke

Richard Harrill, UNC Public Policy

Anna Krome-Lukens, UNC Public Policy

Kaligotla Lalita, Hart Leadership at Duke University

Ryan Nilsen, Carolina Center for Public Service

Jeff Summerlin-Long, UNC Public Policy

Jonathan Weiler, UNC Global Studies

Kimberly Ann Yingling, UNC 1789 Venture Lab Space


What is the mission of the Kenan Biddle Partnership?

The Kenan Biddle Partnership promotes collaboration between Duke and UNC students. Ideal projects will offer innovative solutions to a social or environmental need within their campus, local, or global community.

Am I eligible to apply?

The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Each team must have at least one member currently enrolled at Duke and one member currently enrolled at Carolina, and applications must frame projects as one-year collaborations at a minimum, though ideally projects should have the potential to be sustained beyond the award period.

When can I apply?

The application cycle begins in the fall (dates TBA).

Is there a minimum or maximum funding request?

You may request up to $5,000 in funding. 

If I am a Kenan Biddle awardee, what comes next?

Once finalists are announced, student representatives will be required to fill out a Memorandum of Understanding, which helps teams set deadlines, budgets and benchmarks to better measure progress throughout the year. Student leaders must pick up and complete necessary funding paperwork as soon as possible to ensure that they receive their first payment at the beginning of the Spring semester. 

Teams must complete a mid- and final year report that includes information about their projects’ measurable social impact and expenditures. 

I have a question that’s not answered here. Who can I contact?

Additional inquiries may be sent to Terry Tamari,