MacArthur Foundation Announces Semifinalists for $100 Million Prize

Last Wednesday the MacArthur Foundation announced eight semifinalists for its 100&Change competition, a $100 million prize with the goal of making significant progress toward a critical social issue. MacArthur will award the prize to a single project, continuing its strategic shift away from typical grantmaking in favor of ‘big bets.’ Large prizes such as 100&Change aim to enable promising solutions with sizable scale, scope, and complexity that are generally not possible via standard levels of funding.

The open competition was announced last June, and received 1,904 applications by its October 3rd deadline. The proposals were assessed based on their meaningfulness, verifiability, durability, and feasibility. The eight semifinalists include:

  • Catholic Relief Services: To improve childcare in orphanages
  • Himalayan Cataract: To reduce needless blindness in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Nepal
  • Human Diagnosis Project: To provide digital access to health care specialists for underserved patients
  • HarvestPlus: To reduce nutritional deficits in Africa by breeding fortified crops
  • Internet Archive: To provide digital access to four million books
  • Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee: To educate children who have been displaced by conflict or persecution
  • Rice University: To improve newborn survival in Africa
  • The Carter Center: To eliminate river blindness in Nigeria

MacArthur plans to select five finalists in September 2017 and award the $100 million prize by the end of December. Although only one will be selected, the MacArthur managing director Cecilia Conrad explained, “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.”

Read more at The Chronicle of Philanthropy and the MacArthur Foundation.