A Promising Start: 755 Solutions

Cecilia Conrad, Managing Director of the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change and CEO of Lever for Change, provides an early look at the 2019 applicants in MacArthur’s global competition for a single $100 million grant.

The big headline from the 2019 cycle of 100&Change is the drop in the number of applications as compared to the inaugural competition: 755 in 2019 vs 1,904 in 2016. We believe that the new organizational readiness tool helped eliminate projects that were not a good fit for 100&Change. The drop in the number of applications might also be attributable to a higher number of collaborative proposals. Nearly half of the applicants indicated that their team involved a collaboration of one or more organizations.

Both trends are good news. Though it is too early in the process to draw conclusions, we see no diminution in the quality of ideas.

Let's start with some information about this year’s process. We had 3,690 registrants and 755 applicants. Forty-seven percent of lead applicants were based outside the United States, representing 61 countries. Of the overall applicant pool, 87 are for-profit entities and 143 are colleges and universities. Nearly 200 said they applied to the inaugural 100&Change.

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Jill Geiger