Eight semi-finalists have emerged in 100&Change, a global competition for a single $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
According to the organisers, 7,069 competition registrants submitted 1,904 proposals, out of which 801 passed an initial administrative review and were evaluated by a panel of expert judges.
The semi-finalists are: Catholic Relief Services, who is proposing to change how society cares for children in orphanages, Himalayan Cataract, who wants to eliminate needless blindness in Nepal, Ethiopia, and Ghana, Human Diagnosis Project, who wants to provide virtual access to specialist medical care for underserved US patients.
HarvestPlus wants to eliminate hidden hunger in Africa by fortifying staple crops; Internet Archive wants to provide libraries and learners free digital access to four million books; Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee plan to educate children displaced by conflict and persecution; Rice University is seeking to improve newborn survival in Africa; and The Carter Center wants to eliminate river blindness in Nigeria.
“These eight ambitious proposals exemplify the passion, range, and creativity of the hundreds of applications,” Julia Stasch, MacArthur’s president, said.
“We hope that the competition inspires individuals and organisations to be bold and think big, because solutions are possible.”
On her part, Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur’s managing director, said: “It is our hope that these creative proposals will benefit from expert feedback, technical assistance, and public attention; and that they attract funding from other sources, even if they do not win 100&Change.”
The statement said each semi-finalist would work with an expert team to address questions about their technical and organisational capacity.
“The expert team will provide feedback to the semifinalists to inform proposal revision and will submit an assessment to MacArthur’s board. The semi-finalists will also be asked to show authentic engagement with their target communities and other relevant stakeholders,” the statement read.
“MacArthur’s board will select up to five finalists in September. Finalists will present their proposals during a live event on December 11, 2017, before the board names a single recipient to receive $100 million over up to six years.
“The identity of the judges and the methodology used to assess proposals are public. Applicants will learn how their proposal was evaluated and will receive comments from a panel of expert judges. A public, searchable database of all the proposals will be posted online later this year.”