MacArthur Foundation launches $100 million competition

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Julia Stasch is president of the MacArthur Foundation. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

What would you do with $100 million?

The Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation wants to know. The organization on Thursday launched a competition “to help solve a critical problem affecting people, places or the planet.”

The foundation is casting a wide net, saying it will accept applications from across the globe. The winning applicant gets a $100 million grant.

The proposals must be “meaningful, verifiable, durable and feasible.”

“Solving society’s most pressing problems isn’t easy, but we believe it can be done,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch in a statement. “Potential solutions may go unnoticed or under resourced and are waiting to be brought to scale. Every three years, we plan to award $100 million to help make one of these solutions a reality.

“Through ‘100 & Change,’ we want to inspire, encourage, and support other people’s ideas, here in our hometown Chicago, across the nation and around the world, about how to address major challenges and enable real progress toward a solution.”

Non-profits and for-profits can apply, but not individuals or government agencies, according to the foundation.

To be considered, applicants must first register on the foundation’s website [www.macfound.org] by Sept. 2. Semi-finalists will be announced in December. MacArthur’s board of directors will then select finalists in summer 2017. The winner will be announced some time in fall 2017.

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