Grant supports partnership to develop innovative, multidisciplinary and entrepreneurial approaches to honey bee sustainability

honeybee groupThe Community Foundation for Northern Virginia recently made a grant of $25,000 to the George Mason University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Honey Bee Initiative.  The goal of the grant is to accelerate the program and work of leveraging George Mason University innovators, educators, student teams and community partners to address the critical issues facing the honey bee. 

liatris spicata and rudbeckia with monarchThe Community Foundation’s Innovation Fund, a discretionary fund that invests in inventiveness, creativity and new design across Northern Virginia, issued this grant thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor advised fund holder at the Community Foundation.

honeybee group“I’m thrilled about the grant!” said Lisa Gring-Pemble, an associate professor in the School of Business who is the Director of Social Entrepreneurship and co-founder of the Honey Bee Initiative. “Our Honey Bee Initiative has tremendous momentum and these additional funds are crucial to our progress and program expansion.”

Honey Bees are in crisis and bee health is critical to our survival.  Bees, the “most important pollinator worldwide,” pollinate one-third of the food we eat. Due to colony collapse disorder, invasive mites (varroa destructor), and pesticides, bees are dying at an alarming rate. In Virginia, hives have dropped by two-thirds since 1970. The Honey Bee Initiative at George Mason University plans to use the grant to support sustainable business models that will allow student teams to receive stipends/internships to continue their work; implement Smart-Hive Technology where student teams will work to transform how bee health is monitored; and curriculum development and educational apiaries that will incorporate social entrepreneurship into all aspects of the entrepreneurship curriculum and co-curricular offerings available to the entire Mason community.  

To learn more about The Honey Bee Initiative at George Mason University please visit http://bees.gmu.edu/about/about