Semi-Finalists Compete for $100M Grant to Save the World


The MacArthur Foundation has selected eight semifinalists from the nearly 2,000 applicants, all competing for a $100 million grant. The competition, 100&Change, launched in June 2016 and was open to organizations that could offer a meaningful and durable solution to some of the world's greatest problems. Proposals were graded on meaningfulness, verifiability, durability, and feasibility, out of which eight semi-finalists emerged to go on to compete for the grand prize.

Julia Stasch, the fund's president, "hope[s] that the competition inspires individuals and organizations to be bold and think big." It appears it has. For example, The International Rescue Committee and Sesame Workshop seeks to help displaced children and their families with programs and culturally-relevant content to foster learning and resiliency. HarvestPlus would like to expand biofortification farming practices in Africa to nutritionally enhance staple crops and combat malnutrition. If the Human Diagnosis Project's Specialty Net is chosen, volunteer specialists will provide electronic physician consultations to three million patients in the U.S. safety net system for free, with the goal to eventually deploy on a global scale.

At this stage in the competition, the semi-finalists are being asked to provide further details about their proposals and demonstrate engagement with their target communities. Four will then be selected to present their ideas live to MacArthur's Board of Directors, with a winner announced in late 2017. With real feedback from the judges and such public attention, the hope is that all of them will attract the necessary donors to fund their projects, whether they win or lose. LEARN MORE