The Story of the GIFT Collaborative
In March of 2020, just about the time when Covid 19 was making its big debut in the United States, colleagues more than 640 miles apart reconnected and came up with an idea that would rapidly go global. Juli Shively and Jake Mendelssohn’s combined knowledge and skill in youth innovation forewarned them that Spring would typically be celebratory months for young innovators across the United States. However, with the pandemic racing through the U.S., challenges, contests and just about everything else were getting canceled. Shively and Mendelssohn decided to “invent” a new platform to celebrate young innovators and entrepreneurs called the Global Innovation Field Trip, GIFT for short.
Collaborating with their international connections, the event quickly became a global world-learning opportunity for students, where young people and program leaders are invited to present for 10 or 25 minutes, sharing their stories of innovation. Hosted live via zoom, simultaneously live streamed over YouTube, with all presentation videos added to the extensive innovation library on the GIFT website as a tool for educators and innovators around the world.
Recently celebrating their 12th event, GIFT has hosted more than 760 presentations, 1160 presenters from 56 countries. Hosting youth panel discussions, professional development sessions, student co-hosts, challenges, youth mashups and more, GIFT continues to evolve, inventing new ways to celebrate young innovators all over the world.