Thursday, September 24, 2009

Got genius?

Imagine this:

You're going about your day. It's an ordinary day. Your phone rings.

The person on the other end of the line says he's with the MacArthur Foundation, and you've been selected as the winner of the Genius Grant, one of the most prestigious awards on our entire planet. Like, Nobel-Pulitzer-Congressional Medal of Honor-caliber prestigious. .

He further tells you you were nominated by an anonymous person, and that you've been evaluated over the past few years. There are no nomination forms, no grant applications, no interviews. You never know if you've been nominated until you get the call.

And you've won $500,000, to be paid over 5 years. And there are no strings attached. You can do whatever you want with it- no reporting, no evaluating, no expectations.

It happened to 25 people earlier this month. And it happens every fall to between 20 and 25 people.

Meet the 2009 MacArthur Foundation Fellows, aka the "Genius Grant".

Computer vision technologist
Bridge engineer

One of them is 32. Rebecca Onie is a health entrepreneur who started a ministry addressing the connections between poverty and poor health, and plugged college students in to repair the unmet needs (housing, transportation, child care, etc) that keep the poor sick.

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