The MacArthur Foundation launched a new competition that will award a $100 million grant to a single proposal designed to help solve a critical problem affecting people, places, or the planet. The Foundation’s competition, called 100&Change, is open to organizations working in any field of endeavor anywhere. Applicants must identify both the problem they are trying to solve, as well as their proposed solution. Competitive proposals will be meaningful, verifiable, durable, and feasible.
“Solving society’s most pressing problems isn’t easy, but we believe it can be done,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Potential solutions may go unnoticed or under resourced and are waiting to be brought to scale. Every three years, we plan to award $100 million to help make one of these solutions a reality. Through 100&Change, we want to inspire, encourage, and support other people’s ideas, here in our hometown Chicago, across the nation and around the world, about how to address major challenges and enable real progress toward a solution.”
The selection process for 100&Change is rigorous, fair, and transparent. Each valid proposal will be reviewed by a panel of expert judges from a variety of fields, and evaluated according to a strict set of criteria designed to favor proposals that maximize measurable impact in their chosen areas. Information about the judges and their evaluation methodology will be shared publicly via the competition website. Participants will receive feedback on their proposals from the judges.
“We believe that 100&Change can have a ripple effect beyond what a single $100 million grant enables,” said Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur’s Managing Director leading the competition. “Setting audacious goals is inspiring. Clear evidence of impact can encourage other funders to invest in solvable problems more broadly, and applicants who do not receive the $100 million grant will still receive valuable feedback on and attention to their ideas.”
100&Change will consider applications from across the United States and around the world. Nonprofit and for-profit organizations can apply, subject to eligibility rules. The competition will not accept applications from individuals or government agencies.
To participate, applicants must first register on the website by September 2, 2016. Then they must complete a substantive online application, detailing the problem, solution, and budget, along with posting a video pitch. Proposals will be accepted through October 3, 2016. Semi-finalists will be announced in December. Each semi-finalist will receive assistance from an expert team to identify and address questions about technical and organizational capacity required to implement each proposed solution, including specific plans to monitor, evaluate, and learn during implementation. Each semi-finalist will also be asked to show significant, authentic engagement with affected communities. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select finalists in the summer of 2017. Finalists will present their solutions during a live event in the fall of 2017, after which the Board will make the final decision about the $100 million grant recipient.