Economic Opportunity Challenge
Launched on October 15, 2019, the Economic Opportunity Challenge will award $10 million to scale a game-changing solution to improve the economic health of low-income families in the U.S. The application period is now closed, and finalists have been selected.
On June 24, 2020, five finalists were announced in the Economic Opportunity Challenge. Selected from a pool of 160 applicants, the finalists represent projects focused on workforce development, asset building, and policy. One of the finalists will be selected as the $10 million Economic Opportunity Challenge recipient in November 2020, and each of the other four finalists will be awarded $100,000.
The finalists are now featured in the Bold Solutions Network, a searchable online collection of highly-rated, rigorously-evaluated proposals that emerge from each of the competitions managed by Lever for Change. They are listed below in alphabetical order (follow links to their Bold Solutions Network profile pages for more information):
- Chicago Asset-Building for Children (Chicago ABCs) (video)
Chicago ABCs, a coalition led by the Chicago Community Trust, will braid three proven strategies: child savings accounts, cash transfers, and visiting nurses in a dual generation approach to propel 4,600 families to economic security.
- Making Freedom Free: Bail and Economic Mobility in the South (video)
The Bail Project will provide free bail assistance and wraparound services to low-income individuals in 20 jurisdictions across the country and advocate for systemic changes to the pretrial system.
- Moving Families Out of Poverty Permanently (video)
Family Independence Initiative (FII) will partner with the City of Chicago to move low-income families out of poverty, permanently. FII will invest directly in the existing strengths and solutions of low-income families and their communities, and remove the deficit-based criteria traditionally used to access support.
- Proven Pathways to Transformative Careers in Tech (video)
Per Scholas, a leading technology workforce development organization, will join The Financial Clinic and MDRC to propel 20,000+ low-income individuals into the middle class by helping them launch successful tech careers.
- Skills for America's Future: Changing Lives Through a Jobs-First Model (video)
Skills for Chicagoland’s Future will drive economic mobility in 17 cities by placing 10,325 low-income individuals into meaningful employment over the next five years
About the Economic Opportunity Challenge
The Economic Opportunity Challenge will award $10 million to scale a game-changing solution aimed to improve the economic health of low-income families.
The Economic Opportunity Challenge will fund the most transformative, evidence-based solution to address barriers to improved economic opportunity, security, and/or mobility for individuals residing in the United States.
We are looking for proven, data-driven solutions ready to serve as a model for implementation across the country. Winning solutions will utilize a powerful strategy to change lives and permanently remove key barriers to economic opportunity. Teams will demonstrate that they have the track record, experience, relationships, and resources to create lasting change, using an evidence-based approach that shows promise for delivering significant impact at a larger scale. Applications will be scored based on the following four criteria:
(1 ) Magnitude of Impact
(2) Strength of Evidence
(3) Likelihood of Success
(4) Potential for Scale