The Challenge Initiative among Top 100 Proposals for MacArthur $100-Million Grant

by | Feb 19, 2020

The Challenge Initiative’s high-scoring application now featured in Bold Solutions Network

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today unveiled that the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health (Gates Institute) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is one of the highest-scoring proposals – designated as the Top 100 – in its 100&Change competition for a single $100 million grant to help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges.

The Gates Institute submitted for consideration The Challenge Initiative (TCI) for healthy cities, which provides local governments and cities in urban areas of Africa and Asia with a bold approach to rapidly and sustainably scale impactful family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health solutions for those living in poverty. The world’s cities are growing at a rapid pace. Current UN projections show 70% of the world’s population will be urban by 2050, with 90% of that urbanization in Africa and Asia. Providing women and girls with access to family planning in growing African and Asian cities can make a huge impact on FP 2020’s global goal of 120 million additional voluntary modern contraceptive users by 2020.

TCI’s demand-driven model lets local governments self-select and bring their own political commitment, financial and human resources, and ideas to the table, so they’re positioned to eventually co-create and own the solutions they implement. In return, TCI offers access to its Challenge Fund and coaching and technical expertise, so cities and its local partners from the private sector can successfully select, adapt and implement TCI’s high-impact solutions. So far, 94 cities have contributed significant resources of their own funding and are implementing TCI’s solutions across four regional hubs (East Africa, Francophone West Africa, India and Nigeria), primarily in urban slum areas.

MacArthur’s Top 100 represent the top 21 percent of competition submissions. The proposals were rigorously vetted, undergoing MacArthur’s initial administrative review, a Peer-to-Peer review, an evaluation by an external panel of judges, and a technical review by specialists whose expertise was matched to the project. Each proposal was evaluated using four criteria: impactful, evidence-based, feasible, and durable. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists from these high-scoring proposals this spring.

“We are thrilled to be among MacArthur’s Top 100 “Bold Solutions” because we believe TCI represents a sustainable solution for rapidly scaling up high-impact programs for women and girls living in urban poverty,” said Jose Rimon II, Principal Investigator for TCI and Director of the Gates Institute. “TCI was designed to leverage funding from a variety of sources, so we are excited to keep moving forward in the 100&Change competition and be featured in the Bold Solutions Network so other donors can invest in this winning solution.”

MacArthur seeks to generate increased recognition, exposure, and support for the high-impact ideas designated as the Top 100,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change and MacArthur Managing Director, 100&Change. “Based on our experience in the first round of 100&Change, we know the competition will produce multiple compelling and fundable ideas. We are committed to matching philanthropists with powerful solutions and problem solvers to accelerate social change.”

Since the inaugural competition, other funders and philanthropists have committed an additional $419 million to date to support bold solutions by 100&Change applicants. Building on the success of 100&Change, MacArthur created Lever for Change to unlock significant philanthropic capital by helping donors find and fund vetted, high-impact opportunities through the design and management of customized competitions. In addition to 100&Change, Lever for Change is managing the Chicago Prize, the Economic Opportunity Challenge, and the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award.

About the Bold Solutions Network

The Bold Solutions Network – which launched today and features The Gates Institute as one of the Top 100 from 100&Change – is a searchable online collection of submissions containing a project overview, 90-second video, and two-page factsheet for each proposal. Visitors can sort by subject, location, Sustainable Development Goal, or beneficiary population to view proposals based on area of interest. The Bold Solutions Network showcases the highest-rated proposals that emerge from competitions Lever for Change manages. Proposals in the Bold Solutions Network undergo extensive evaluation and due diligence to ensure each solution promises real and measurable progress to accelerate social change. The Bold Solutions Network is designed to provide an innovative approach to identifying the most effective, enduring solutions aligned with donors’ philanthropic goals and to help top applicants gain visibility and funding from a wide array of funders.

About 100&Change

100&Change is a distinctive competition that is 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. The second round of the competition had a promising start: 3,690 competition registrants submitted 755 proposals. Of those, 475 passed an initial administrative review. 100&Change was designed to be fair, open, and transparent. The identity of the judges and the methodology used to assess initial proposals are public. Applicants received comments and feedback from the peers, judges, and technical reviewers. Key issues in the competition are discussed in a blog on MacArthur’s website.

About The Gates Institute

The Gates Institute advances scholarship and science for social change. It conducts and facilitates cutting-edge research in family planning, adolescent and youth reproductive health and population dynamics, and translates science into evidence-informed policies, programs and practice. The Institute works as an innovator, partner, advocate and convener to bridge the gap between knowledge and implementation and promote access to universal reproductive health for all. It oversees $239 million in active projects funded by a variety of donors, including foundations, corporate donors and philanthropists. The Gates Institute is based at the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.