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Sesame Workshop and The International Rescue Committee Named as Finalist in Global Competition for $100 Million Grant

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Sesame Workshop and The International Rescue Committee Named as Finalist in Global Competition for $100 Million Grant

CHICAGO, September 19, 2017 – Four impactful solutions to critical social problems of our time were named finalists today in 100&Changea global competition for a single $100 million grant from MacArthur. The finalists are:

  • Catholic Relief Services will change how society cares for children in orphanages. The team will work in Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, and Moldova to promote deinstitutionalization and a transition to a family-based system of care with the financial and institutional structures to support it. The team has developed an international network of ‘care leavers’, individuals who were once in institutional care and have left for a variety of reasons, to advocate on behalf of children in the care system.
  • HarvestPlus will eliminate hidden hunger by fortifying staple crops in Africa. The project promises to increase farmer’s incomes in addition to improving intake of nutrition. By 2022, the project will reach 100 million people in 17 African countries with seven bio-fortified crops.
  • Rice 360° Institute for Global Health (Rice University) will improve newborn survival in Africa. Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies (NEST) 3600 will design and/or distribute a suite of life-saving neonatal-care technologies adapted to low-resource settings with the goal of saving the lives of 500,000 African newborns annually. It will also create a pipeline of future clinicians and innovators dedicated to improving newborn health in the future.
  • Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee will educate children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East. Sesame Seeds is an evidence-based early childhood development intervention designed to address the “toxic stress” experienced by children in the Syrian refugee region—Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. The project will improve children’s learning outcomes today, with beneficial long-term effects on their intellectual and emotional development.

View overview videos and project summaries online for the four finalists.

“These solutions address diverse and pressing challenges. They include changing how society cares for children in orphanages; eliminating hidden hunger; improving newborn survival in Africa; and educating young children displaced by conflict,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “The proposals are creative, ambitious, and driven by a passion to make the world a better place for millions of people. Together, they demonstrate that, even in challenging social and political times, solutions are possible and worthy of significant investment.”

Finalists will answer public questions in a weekly online series, hosted by MacArthur starting on September 29. They will then present their proposals during a live-streamed event on December 11, before the MacArthur Board of Directors names a single recipient to receive $100 million over up to six years. Information about the next round of 100&Change awards will be made available in late 2018.

“These teams were selected based on the strength of their partnerships, the viability and credibility of their solution, and their ability to sustain the project’s benefit over time,” said Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur’s Managing Director who leads 100&Change. “They are all worthy of funding, and we will help all of them attract the support their critical work requires, even if they do not receive our award.”

100&Change is a distinctive competition that invited proposals promising real progress toward solving a critical problem of our time in any field or any location. There was robust participation: 7,069 competition registrants submitted 1,904 proposals. Of those, 801 passed an initial administrative review and were evaluated by a panel of judges who each provided ratings on four criteria: meaningfulness, verifiability, durability, and feasibility. MacArthur’s Board of Directors then selected eight semi-finalists and today’s finalists.

Each semi-finalist worked with an expert team to address questions about its technical and organizational capacity. The semi-finalists were also required to address issues of inclusion, including a special focus on persons with disabilities, and gender equity and to show authentic engagement with communities of interest, including potential beneficiaries, those who might suffer harm, other funders, and competitors. Teams then submitted revised proposals informed by their additional research and project development.

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 from the judges. Key issues in the competition are discussed in a blog on MacArthur’s website. A searchable database of all the proposals is available online, and the top 200 scoring proposals are identified.

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Media contacts
MacArthur Foundation
Andy Solomon, asolomon@macfound.org
Kristen Mack, kmack@macfound.org

Sesame Workshop
Hallie Ruvin
(212) 875-6344
Hallie.ruvin@sesame.org

The International Rescue Committee
Flavia Draganus
(347) 556-5973
communications@rescue.org

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