MacArthur today announced it will launch a new round of its 100&Change competition for a single $100 million grant to help solve one of the world's most critical social challenges. 100&Change remains open to organizations and collaborations working in any field, anywhere in the world. Proposals must identify a problem and offer a solution that promises significant and durable change; they will be accepted online only from April 30 to August 6, 2019.
In the inaugural round of 100&Change, from 1,904 proposals submitted, Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee were awarded $100 million to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Syrian response region and to challenge the global system of humanitarian aid to focus more on building a foundation for future success for millions of young children. Other funders and philanthropists have committed an additional $254 million to date to support bold solutions by 100&Change applicants, including a $100 million LEGO Foundation grant to Sesame Workshop and $9 million in funding from USAID and GHR Foundation to Catholic Relief Services. Many 100&Change applicants found that the competition challenged them to be more ambitious in their thinking, facilitated collaboration among groups to tackle an issue at a broader scale, and enabled them to create proposals they could use to pursue other funding.
Building on the success of 100&Change, MacArthur is creating Lever for Change, a new nonprofit committed to unlocking philanthropic capital and helping donors put their resources to work to accelerate social change.
"We set out to do something bold three years ago when we launched 100&Change—address problems and support solutions that are radically different in scale, scope, and complexity," said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. "We learned there is no shortage of compelling ideas with the potential for tremendous social impact. The success of 100&Change led us to create Lever for Change, which seeks to connect donors with organizations and collaborations with the potential to deliver the impactful and inspirational change they both dream of helping to bring about."
Lever for Change aims to drive formidable change by unlocking philanthropic capital to address some of the world's most pressing issues. Lever for Change will connect donors with high-impact philanthropic opportunities by administering custom competitions or by matching donors with vetted proposals from such competitions. It will develop a pipeline of projects and organizations that can effectively address significant social challenges at scale.
"Lever for Change complements and expands the emerging field of collaborative philanthropy," said Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur's Managing Director who leads 100&Change and is the CEO of Lever for Change. "We are enabling more philanthropists to engage in 'big bet' approaches by providing them with tools and resources to maximize their giving. We will scale and democratize philanthropy by connecting funders to powerful solutions and problem solvers."
With an initial minimum grant of $10 million, the custom competitions will use an open, transparent process to source, vet, and evaluate proposals. This level of funding allows applicants to think big and propose ideas designed to achieve transformational change. Lever for Change will also help strengthen top applicants' proposals, so they can more effectively absorb and deploy large grants for impact.
"Lever for Change will facilitate connections between philanthropists and organizations developing effective solutions at scale," said Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. "It is this scale mentality to social impact and problem solving that gives this effort great potential for making a difference, and why I am excited to support it."
Hoffman is on the Lever for Change Board, along with MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito and outgoing MacArthur President Julia Stasch, who serves as the Board Chair. Lever for Change is being co-funded with a $20 million grant from MacArthur and a $5 million commitment from Hoffman, who is providing an additional $5 million for technology support, as needed.
MacArthur co-designed Lever for Change with the Bridgespan Group, whose research identified barriers, such as perceived risk and lack of staff capacity, that impede wealthy donors from fully realizing their aspirations to contribute significantly to social change. Lever for Change will continue to work with Bridgespan across a range of strategic and operational activities.
"Many philanthropists struggle to productively invest large sums of money to affect social change. High-impact opportunities can be frustratingly hard to identify, evaluate, implement, and monitor," said Tom Tierney, chairman and co-founder of Bridgespan. "Lever for Change is enabling donors to support impact opportunities, driven by exceptional social sector leaders. At its essence, Lever for Change is a new type of philanthropic infrastructure, facilitating more and better giving."
Lever for Change has hit the ground running. In 2019 alone, in addition to managing MacArthur’s 100&Change, Lever for Change will partner with the Pritzker Traubert Foundation to launch a competition in April. Three other competitions are in the works: two supported by families who wish to be anonymous—one focused on increasing economic opportunity in the U.S. and the other on global climate change. In early 2020 in partnership with Lever for Change, Lyda Hill Philanthropies is planning to launch a competition focused on the state of Texas.
Lever for Change will manage an inventory of the strongest proposals from the competitions. This online database will provide philanthropists with a faster approach to identify powerful, high-impact ideas aligned with their interests and passions.
Lever for Change also is partnering with Earth's Call, a new charitable organization that combines the power of music and science to drive support for climate change solutions. Earth's Call has committed $50 million to fund bold proposals to combat climate change.
"Earth's Call will raise awareness and bring people together around our greatest challenge: ensuring a healthy planet worthy of our children's inheritance," said Michael Fitzpatrick, virtuoso cellist and founder of Earth's Call. "Through solutions offered by Lever for Change, we hope to move quickly and effectively to address this global crisis."
In yet another way to help unleash resources for social change, ICONIQ Capital – through its platform for collective, collaborative philanthropy, ICONIQ Impact – and Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) are collaborating with Lever for Change to help their clients identify and support rigorously evaluated proposals from effective organizations that have surfaced through competitions.
"We are thrilled to collaborate with Lever for Change to provide our ICONIQ families with this unique opportunity to leverage their collective time, talent, and capital to meaningfully drive social impact at scale," said Michael Anders, founding partner of ICONIQ Capital. "This is another example of how we can magnify the impact of our network of global families, which represents business leaders across a number of sectors including retail, industrials, technology, and media."