TED Makes “Bold” Bets on Philanthropy


TED is well-known for spreading big ideas. The media hub that began as a conference in 1984 has taken over the internet with free streaming videos from some of the world's brightest minds. Now they have launched the Audacious Project, daring social entrepreneurs to dream up bold solutions that stand to impact millions of lives. Five chosen winners will split a $250 million prize, with the hopes of inspiring others to give.

The Audacious Project marks a growing trend in what's been coined "big bet" or "moonshot" philanthropy: throwing large amounts of money at promising solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems. While critics agree that this approach makes sense for causes with clear deliverables, effecting social change is less discernible and carries risk. TED disagrees. Fundraising is a grinding task, and large lump-sum donations can free up over-strapped resources. These solutions are also being proposed by those actually working on the ground, rather than wealthy donors; who better to determine the best allocation of funds?

The five winners were announced at this year's TED conference on April 11th and cover climate change, criminal justice, and disease prevention. Learn more here.