Leveraging Collaboration

Leads leveraging collaboration to address gender and equity issues

we turn now broadly speaking from theft and corruption to philanthropy cecilia conrad is a managing director at the john d and catherine t mcarthur foundation there she oversees the macarthur fellows program and 100 and change a competition for a 100 million dollar grant to help solve a major global issue she's also the ceo of the foundation's lever for change program an initiative that tries to seed philanthropic projects and collaboratively lever up contributions from other sources among her many other credits she is a true thought leader on gender and equality please welcome cecilia conrad today i want to talk with you about an innovative approach to philanthropy that has the power to inspire big ideas and new collaborations raise awareness about important social
issues and mobilize a community of donors my story begins a little more than four years ago at the john d and catherine t macarthur foundation with its 100 and change initiative 100 and change was the brainchild of julia stash the former president of the macarthur foundation julia wanted to create a space for the foundation to make a significant grant informed by expertise and networks that were not part of our traditional group we designed a competition an open call for a single grant of 100 million available to any project in any domain that promised to take a big slice of a problem or unlock the resources required to solve a critical problem of our time the competition was available open to any organization anywhere in the globe in that first 100
change we received nearly 2 000 applications from 77 countries proposing solutions from problems ranging from uneven sidewalks in u.s cities that pose hazards for people in wheelchairs to addressing river blindness in northern nigeria to help us select the grant recipient we convened a panel of over 400 wise heads academics policy makers thought leaders who evaluated the projects on four criteria meaningful will it have an impact a significant impact feasible is it something that can actually be implemented evidence-based is there persuasive evidence that the project is successfully impact implemented will have the impact desired and durable is there a plan to sustain the work to
sustain the solution beyond the 100 million dollar grant in 2017 we made the first 100 million dollar grant to sesame workshop and the international rescue committee for an early childhood intervention in the syrian refugee region over 60 million displaced people in the world today of whom 12 million are young children to address the emotional trauma suffered by these children and increase their chances for healthy adulthood sesame workshop and the international rescue committee collaborated in an extraordinary partnership melding sesame's expertise in early childhood development with the irc's deep experience working in refugee communities they are delivering early learning and nurturing care to displaced children and their caregivers in iraq jordan
lebanon and syria as a result today thanks to this big grant instead of big bird and oscar the grouch arabic speaking children in 20 countries are meeting basma mazuza and jad muppets on a new children's program ahalan stinson or welcome sesame parents are receiving support in the post-covert world through digital prompts to help them address their children's emotional needs and prepare them so that they are school ready but there's more inspired by mcarthur the lego foundation gave an additional 200 million to sesame workshop to expand the work to refugee children in bangladesh and another 100 million to buy the international rescue committee to address the needs of refugee children in central africa
this initial grant has propelled over 300 million in funds for early childhood development in refugee city settings and propelled early childhood development into a headline topic including a feature on 60 minutes this past winter the experience of a hundred and change was exhilarating we found that other donors were eager to see the projects that had been submitted and that by sharing this information and our due diligence we were able to mobilize additional funding for top projects 68 million for improved technology to care for premature babies in low resource settings 23 million to change the way we care for orphans to date we have nearly tripled mcarthur's initial investment with additional funding from other donors so we asked ourselves what if we offered this model to philanthropists
whose ability to make big bets with confidence might be impeded by a lack of experience or the staffing or even just a form of risk aversion that they lack the confidence to make informed choices could we accelerate giving for social changes the ancient greek mathematician archimedes once said give me a place to stand and i can move the world archimedes was referring to the simple machine of the lever a bar balanced on a fulcrum where weight placed on one end has the ability to move a much higher amount of weight on the other end had we created a lever that could be used to move billions in philanthropy we launched lever for change a non-profit affiliate of macarthur with several big objectives one to help donors find and fund solutions to the world's greatest challenges ranging from racial and gender equity to
economic development and climate change two to induce philanthropists to give big in philanthropy there are very few grants available that match the size and scope of the challenges that we face this makes it difficult for non-profits and social entrepreneurs to take on big projects or apply what they know on a large scale we induce philanthropists to give 10 million plus grants multi-year grants for social change larger than is typical in philanthropy a third goal is to shift philanthropy away from the invitation model don't call us will call you to open up access to grant opportunities philanthropists often direct their philanthropic giving their funding to people within their own networks and few accept unsolicited proposals the result is that philanthropic dollars may get distributed based on as much on
who you know as on the potential for impact by creating a bigger tent we are more likely to find bold creative solutions and a more diverse portfolio of grantings four to convince donors to rely on expertise beyond their staff and close close network to guide their funding decisions at the launch of a hundred and change julia described in project as an expression of our humility a recognition that we may not always be the smartest people in the room because our competitions are open and transparent applicants know the process how and by whom they will be evaluated how long the competition will take and what's involved our openness demonstrates to applicants our commitment to fairness throughout the process and this encourages strong applications especially from teams with each competition we are
creating a pipeline of vetted projects ready for immediate donor investment each of the top applicants from every competition becomes a member of our bold solutions network where they receive access to technical assistance and other resources to strengthen their team and their project plan we've created a searchable database that's available to the public with all of these top projects when we first hung out our shingle we hope to find four maybe five pioneering donors who would help us test the model we wanted to do four competitions with awards of 10 million dollars with a total commitment of 40 million instead we have launched eight competitions with a ninth plan for early quarter first quarter of 2021 and we have nearly 300 million in award commitments
they include two competitions that have named grantings the 10 million chicago prize sponsored by the principal trauberg foundation to award 10 million to a single initiative on chicago south and or west side to catalyze economic opportunities and to improve the well-being of its residents from over 80 submissions pritzker tralbert awarded its grant to always growing auburn gresham a collaborative of three community-based organizations and pritzker traubert has leveraged more than 35 million in additional total investments on december 15 2020 premier technology workforce development organization per scholas was denounced as the awardee of the 10 million economic opportunity challenge the proven pathways to transformative careers in tech projects will improve economic opportunities for low-income individuals within the united
states the project was selected for more than 160 submitted entries that were evaluated by the more than 120 philanthropic and civic leaders as well as subject matter experts in economic development public policy and so forth the economic opportunity challenge winner has already attracted an additional 5 million in funding and for the donors who are early in the stages of designing the focus of their family foundation the competition unearthed a plethora of future funding opportunities each one of our competitions begins with an open call for solutions to the significant challenge that the sponsoring donors want to address we recruit applicants through multiple channels from direct emails to social media but also leveraging our ever-growing network past participants judges and funders we have
had success recruiting quality applicants whether the competition was focused on the us or internationally for example the larson land iconic impact competition which is focused on providing a durable brighter future for refugees and offers an award of 12 million dollars for that competition we received applications from 83 organizations proposing work in 74 countries both develop and developing countries for each competition we recruit a diverse panel of experts to evaluate the projects so that we can leverage the expertise of the best minds around the globe from different sectors fields and geographies once the judges comments and reviews have been received lever for change does additional due diligence we sometimes contract for additional technical reviews
and we help the donor advise give the donor advice on how to pick their finalists once we have the finalists we then provide technical assistance to the finals to help them make refine their proposals and our main goal is to make those proposals so strong that multiple funders will want to fund them we are constantly monitoring and evaluating our process to ensure that it is fair equitable and to make sure that we are minimizing the burden on the applicants in third-party surveys most participants commend our process they value the constructive feedback that they receive from the judges they like the transparency around the selection criteria and they appreciate having the agency to define projects themselves and the opportunity to think big so you might ask yourself what happens
to the projects not selected as finalists throughout the competition there is value add for the applicants they receive feedback from your judges the finalists work with the consultants to help make their application stronger but once in addition once the competition is nearing an end we help top competition applicants increase their visibility by proactively making their information available to potential donors either through curated lists or sharing their proposals we've seen the power of this information sharing with the first 100 and shares we put all data about competition via finalist on a publicly available database called the bold solutions network it is searchable publicly accessible available on our website each of the top scoring projects has a profile where they describe their work their partners and what they would do with smaller incremental funding
we've created this database as a resource for donors big and small the bold solutions network already includes the finalists from the larson lamb iconic impact award the lone star prize a competition sponsored by leida hill philanthropies that sought a 10 million dollar transformation project that will improve the quality of life for texans and it includes the finalists from the grandmother of our competitions our second 100 in change we expect finalists announcements soon from the 10 million dollar 2030 climate challenge that seeks to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and buildings industry and our transportation and from the equality can't wait challenge the equality can't wait challenge is a 40 million multi-award initiative that seeks to accelerate women's power and influence in the united states and this is an example of how
competitions can mobilize collaboration in the donor community equality can't wait launched as a 10 million single award competition but the boldness of the initiative inspired new partners and it now is a 40 million competition that will have multiple awards with three donors still in progress is racial equity 2030 hosted by the kellogg foundation it will eventually award multiple grants totaling 90 million to fund bold solutions to drive an equitable future for children's families and communities across the globe here's just a sample of some of the investable opportunities in our bold solutions network with 10 million the clean water project a finalist for the lone star prize will deliver clean water to texas households in the most need by deploying affordable on-site site water treatment systems through a
trained workforce just community another lone star finalist will invest in 20 000 female entrepreneurs to build wealthier more financially resilient communities across texas by increasing their ownership opportunities the lone star depression challenge a multi-partner initiative led by the meadows institute will improve the quality of life and mental health access to communities across texas using evidence-based approaches merit america's lone stars project will build new pathways to upwardly mobile careers for talented low-wage texans without bachelor's degrees focusing on underrepresented minorities and the william marsh rice university's baker institute for public policy will transform the environment through implementation of a soil carbon storage market while growing new economic opportunities
for rural communities for 12 million dollars the talent beyond boundaries a finalist for larsen lamb iconic impact award will connect skilled refugees to international employers and advocate for refugees and other displaced people to be able to move internationally for work leveraging their own skills to move their families towards secure futures another larson land finalist a partnership of refugee event organizations around the world will build a build capacity of refugee organizations to scale up their influence and position refugees to lead solutions for their own communities lutheran international refugee services new american cities initiative would use the 12 million to provide an opportunity to rebuild for both new americans and the cities they call home southern new hampshire university's global education movement
will provide allow refugees across six countries to learn skills and earned accredited bachelor's degrees allowing it possible to connect them to meaningful well-compensated careers village partnership with mercy core and id insight will scale and evaluate dreams for refugees a program to equip refugees in uganda and ethiopia with the skills supports resources and connections that they need to become successful entrepreneurs and then of course with 100 million dollars imagine what is possible 2021 100 and change finalist project echo will democratize life-saving medical knowledge and care through a global digital platform the clinton health access initiative and murdoch children's research institute will partner to bring
life-saving oxygen therapy to children worldwide solutions promises to end homelessness in 75 u.s communities in the next five years national geographic's pristine seas will safeguard and restore the ocean's health and productivity through the creation of marine protecting areas report for america aspires to eliminate american news deserts and the world mosquito project will prevent the transmission of mosquito-borne disease like dengue in indonesia and brazil just as a side note it does not prevent mosquito bites just the transmission of disease this is just a sample of the 130 plus projects in our blood solutions network each promising to take a big slice of a compelling problem in 2021 our goal is a one-to-one ratio of leveraged feral funds to current
award commitments an additional 300 million by 2023 we hope to have unlocked 1 billion in philanthropic capital and then 1 billion per year in each year thereafter we will do this both directly through awards commitments but also through a secondary market generating support for top projects from other funders just think about what problems we could solve thank you to learn more i invite you to visit the bold solutions network at solutions lever for change.org