Bold Ideas for Philanthropists to Drive Social Change
Our selection of entries from the MacArthur Foundation's 100&Change
When 100&Change was first launched, most of the attention was focused on the competition as a way to select a single recipient of a $100 million grant. But working with the MacArthur Foundation, we posed another question: How could such a rich collection of philanthropic solutions be useful beyond selecting a single $100 million prize winner?
This guide is our answer. In it, you’ll find the best ideas from the 1,904 proposed solutions submitted to 100&Change. MacArthur assembled a list of its Top 200 and from there chose eight semifinalists. But rather than leave the remaining 192 on the cutting room floor, MacArthur turned to CHIP. As the only university-based center with a singular focus on how philanthropy can achieve greater social impact, our team regularly analyzes opportunities in a wide range of causes. For this work, we initially analyzed each of the 192 applications to understand the social impact goal – i.e., what is the meaningful, positive change the applicant seeks to create? We considered the problem the organization was trying to solve, who would be impacted by the solution, and how their lives would improve.
Eighty-one applications stood out for the clarity of their social impact goal and the logic of their proposed solution. From this list, a panel of CHIP senior staff, analysts, fellows, and experienced funders—with expertise ranging from community development to public health, education to impact investing—identified 11 projects that it felt had the greatest potential for impact. These 11 are our ‘Best Bets’ suggestions for you.
We hope this guide prompts you to think big about the ways you can contribute to a better and more just world. While every donor may not have $100 million to invest in social change, many of the opportunities highlighted here are ripe for smaller investments by individuals, or consortia of funders who can pool resources to address some of today’s most critical issues.
Founding Executive Director, Center for High Impact Philanthropy