In 2017, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the recipients of the inaugural 100&Change competition: Sesame Workshop and IRC were awarded a $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation for their five-year joint program for early childhood education of young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East.
Applicants were asked to propose a bold solution to a significant social challenge anywhere in the world. The competition attracted more than 7,000 registrants and 1,900 proposals submitted from 55 countries. Of these proposals, 801 passed an initial administrative review and were evaluated by a panel of external judges using a common rubric. Based on the reviews, eight semi-finalists were selected. The semifinalists each received technical support to strengthen their submissions, with an emphasis on each proposal’s quality, credibility, and scale to position organizations to make an even greater impact. From this group of semi-finalists, the selection was narrowed down to four finalists.
The four finalists presented a broad range of ideas:
- Catholic Relief Services proposed changing how society cares for children in orphanages.
- HarvestPlus submitted a plan to eliminate hidden hunger in Africa by fortifying staple crops.
- Rice 360˚ Institute for Global Health outlined an idea to improve newborn survival in Africa.
- Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee (IRC) proposed bringing early learning and nurturing care to children affected by the Syrian conflict and displacement across the Middle East.
Ultimately, Sesame Workshop and IRC were awarded the $100 million award from the MacArthur Foundation for their five-year joint program for early childhood education of young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East.
The Foundation's Board, deliberating among four finalists in 100&Change, decided to award additional grants of $15 million to each of the other three finalists, based on the strength and potential impact of their proposals. The Foundation remains committed to helping the finalists attract the additional support their critical work requires.
Born of the inaugural 100&Change competition and the lessons learned by MacArthur, Lever for Change launched two years ago as an affiliate of the Foundation, designed to unlock philanthropic capital that might otherwise remain on the sidelines. We induce philanthropists to make larger grants than are typical in philanthropy—$10 million or more. Our team helps donors find and fund solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, ranging from racial and gender equity to economic development and climate change.
As of September 2020, more than 20 funders and philanthropists have committed an additional $432 million to support bold solutions by 100&Change applicants, including a $100 million grant from the LEGO Foundation to Sesame Workshop, $9 million in funding from USAID and GHR Foundation to Catholic Relief Services, and $68 million in funding commitments for NEST360° from a consortium, including some of the world’s largest private foundations, family foundations, and individual donors.
We continue to seek funding for the top-ranked solutions from the inaugural 100&Change competition and for all of the outstanding proposals in the Bold Solutions Network. Donors interested in learning more about our services may contact Dana Rice, our Vice President of Philanthropy.