Frequently Asked Questions
How does Lever for Change help philanthropists who want to give to social change causes?
Lever for Change is a new nonprofit whose mission is to unlock philanthropic capital and help donors leverage their resources to accelerate change around the world’s biggest social challenges by creating a marketplace of solutions. Building off the success of MacArthur’s 100&Change, Lever for Change will connect donors with high-impact philanthropic opportunities through either customized competitions or by matching donors with the top vetted proposals from such competitions through an online searchable database. Through a rigorous approach, we provide philanthropists with opportunities to invest in the most promising, bold ideas that will move the needle on the issues they care about most.
What challenge is the Lever for Change model designed to address?
Lever for Change is designed to help philanthropists overcome the challenges that often prevent them from achieving their philanthropic ambitions. While many philanthropists aspire to make “big bets” for social change, they often struggle to find, evaluate, and implement large grants, in part because they do not have the expertise or dedicated staff these efforts require.
Lever for Change will provide donors with the expertise, infrastructure, and day-to-day support to identify the best ideas and solutions that align with their interests and passions. We will manage customized competitions on behalf of interested philanthropists, along with matching donors with vetted proposals in a repository containing hundreds of the best solutions and ideas surfaced through various competitions such as 100&Change.
What values underlie the Lever for Change approach?
Lever for Change centers its work on the core values of transparency, openness, equity, and inclusivity. We are taking intentional steps to ensure these values are represented throughout our activities and within each customized competition, including sourcing from diverse networks, and building community engagement into competition design from the beginning. We will provide applicants with detailed information about the competition, such as evaluation criteria and scoring rubric, competition timeline and process, and the names of judges.
Who is involved in launching and operating Lever for Change?
Although it is has its own separate 501(c)3 status and has separate board oversight, Lever for Change is an affiliate of the MacArthur Foundation. MacArthur is providing $20 million in seed money over the first four years for Lever for Change. Board member Reid Hoffman provided an additional $5 million, with an additional $5 million for technology support, as needed.
Lever for Change board members include: Julia Stasch, outgoing President of MacArthur Foundation; Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn; and Joi Ito, head of the MIT Media Lab. Stasch will serve as Board Chair. Cecilia Conrad will serve as the organization’s CEO; Conrad is currently a managing director at MacArthur and oversees 100&Change as well as the MacArthur Fellows program.
What kinds of awards will philanthropists be able to sponsor?
Lever for Change focuses on competitions that will lead to groundbreaking social change at a deep scale. All competitions must offer an initial minimum of $10 million to selected applicants. There is no maximum grant size. Philanthropists will have wide latitude to create an award that will achieve impact in their area of interest on a range of design dimensions, including issue-focus, geography, philanthropist recognition, judging criteria, final selection and others.
Will philanthropists be able to support for-profit social enterprises or impact investments?
Yes. Lever for Change competitions can be designed to include a range of organizational structures, including but not limited to: nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations, for-profit corporations, benefit corporations, limited liability companies, joint ventures, and partnerships.
Can philanthropists choose to remain anonymous?
Yes, philanthropists who prefer to maintain their anonymity for any reason may do so. Some donors may choose to remain anonymous to ensure the focus is on the competition itself rather than on who is funding it. They also may want to avoid influencing who chooses to apply for the competition.
How will Lever for Change support competition participants?
Lever for Change will provide support to applicants in a variety of ways, including access to webinars, constructive feedback from judges, and peer learning opportunities. Additional resources that provide more intensive support, such as cohort-based workshops and coaching, may be available to select organizations and collaborations.
Furthermore, Lever for Change will provide top applicants opportunities to gain greater visibility for funding from an array of philanthropists. The strongest proposals will be housed in the Lever for Change Solutions Bank that will be made available to donors to seeking to identify powerful ideas that match their interests and passions.
Will Lever for Change source ideas from global entities and for competitions based outside the United States?
Yes. While specific competitions may be structured to fund organizations based or working within a specific geographic location, Lever for Change is a global effort and can source and select outstanding entities from anywhere in the world. More than half of the inaugural 100&Change competition applicants were global in scope, with many based outside the United States.
What are the next steps for interested philanthropists?
Philanthropists who are interested in working with Lever for Change to host a competition or fund vetted, high impact proposals in the Lever for Change Solutions Bank, should contact email@example.com.