Lever for Change

A nonprofit affiliate of the MacArthur Foundation whose mission is to unlock philanthropic capital and accelerate social change around the world’s biggest social challenges

Summary

Building off the success of 100&Change, MacArthur’s breakthrough $100 million competition, Lever for Change helps philanthropists source vetted, high-impact philanthropic opportunities and connects those opportunities to significant amounts of philanthropic capital. Lever for Change does this through either managing customized competitions or by matching philanthropists with the top vetted proposals from such competitions in a searchable online database of solutions. Through a rigorous, open, and transparent approach, Lever for Change aims to inspire philanthropists to dramatically increase their giving by helping them source and identify the most promising ideas that will significantly impact the issues they care about most.

Why Lever for Change is Needed

Today, many philanthropists and their philanthropic advisors struggle to identify and structure ways to invest significant amounts of capital to achieve social change. Opportunities are often hard to find, hard to evaluate, and hard to implement. There is no marketplace for philanthropic opportunities—and assessing those that do emerge can require specific expertise and significant staff. In addition, due to small average grant sizes, many social change organizations are given few opportunities to think big and effect large scale change. Lever for Change will offer a variety of support to top applicants to help them put larger amounts of capital to work.

Our Approach

Lever for Change provides philanthropists and philanthropic advisors with the expertise, infrastructure, and support to identify the best ideas and solutions that align with their interests and passions. Lever for Change manages customized competitions with a minimum award size of $10 million, supports philanthropists in their due diligence and selection process, and provides on-going support to grant recipients over the life of the award.

Lever for Change competitions use a transparent and open process to source, vet, and evaluate proposals in areas chosen by philanthropists. If a philanthropist wants to find a large philanthropic opportunity in, for example, public education, oceans, women’s empowerment—or any number of other fields—Lever for Change uses its staff and resources to run a customized competition in that field.

For philanthropists who prefer other options to maximize their philanthropic giving, Lever for Change will help them identify opportunities from among the top vetted proposals of any competition.

For applicants, Lever for Change offers access to potentially transformational gifts of $10 million or more, along with technical assistance to help strengthen their readiness and organizational capacity to successfully manage large grants. Applicants from each competition will receive constructive feedback from judges, access to webinars, and peer learning opportunities. Additional resources that provide more intensive support, such as cohort-based workshops and coaching, may be available to select organizations and collaborations. Furthermore, Lever for Change will provide top applicants opportunities to gain greater visibility for funding from an array of philanthropists. The strongest proposals will be housed in the Lever for Change Solutions Bank that will be made available to donors to identify powerful ideas that match their interests and passions.

For the field, Lever for Change is a public good that will help strengthen the social sector by creating a marketplace for sharing vetted, high-impact ideas for addressing social challenges. Lever for Change will use the data collected to generate sharable insights that will help improve the performance of other social sector organizations, philanthropists, and initiatives.

Lever for Change board members are: Board Chair Julia Stasch, outgoing President of MacArthur Foundation; Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn; and Joi Ito, head of the MIT Media Lab. Stasch will serve as Board Chair. Cecilia Conrad will serve as the organization’s CEO; Conrad is currently a managing director at MacArthur and oversees 100&Change as well as the MacArthur Fellows program.

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