Propose a problem and its solution.

We recommend that you begin by reading all of the requirements for this application before starting. We encourage you to review the Trait Scoring Rubric that will be used to assess all valid applications. Applications, including financial statements, must be submitted in English. You must propose a project and budget for $100 million (USD), not less. Portions of your applications may be published on this website and will be shared with others during the evaluation process.

Be sure to review your application as it will appear after it’s been submitted (link at the bottom of the page) and confirm your changes have been saved. When you have completed all of the requirements, a message will be displayed on the screen. At that point, you can submit your final application. Once you have submitted the application, you will no longer be able to make changes.

You must submit your application no later than Tuesday, 6 August 2019, at 11:00 AM Central time.


This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression. Offer a brief and compelling overview of your proposal. Avoid using jargon or language that a non-expert may not understand. The information in this section is likely to be made publicly available in a variety of online settings.

Project Title (10 words)

Choose a name for your project which easily identifies your solution and distinguishes it from any other projects.

Project Description (25 words)

Provide a short description for your project in one sentence.

Executive Summary (150 words)

Write an overview of your project that answers the following three questions:

Your Executive Summary should be a stand-alone statement of the problem and solution. It should not require any other context to clearly explain what you are seeking to accomplish.


You are required to submit a video that captures your project and why it should be funded. The video is an opportunity to showcase your passion and to pitch your story in a succinct format.  We want you to share your vision with the judges in a way that is different from the written proposal format. This DOES NOT need to be a professionally produced video.

In order to complete this part of your application, your team will upload a short digital film using YouTube.

Set the Privacy Settings on your video to Public or Unlisted – do not set them to Private.

Your video may be extracted from your submission and made available to the public and other donors. Appeal to a broad audience. Video submissions should follow these guidelines will render the application ineligible:

Here are general suggestions for delivering a high-quality video pitch:


Now that you’ve provided a brief overview of your project, focus on the talent and management of your team.

Principal Organization

During the registration process, you identified the Principal Organization responsible for receiving and taking accountability for any grant funds, as well as providing the direction, control, and supervision for the project. If the Principal Organization has changed, please Edit Registration Form from the Profile menu to update this information.

Principal Organization Website or Social Media Page (5 words)

What is the URL of the website or social media page of choice for the Principal Organization? If your Principal Organization does not have a website or social media page, then please insert “Not Applicable.”

Project Website or Social Media Page (5 words)

Provide us with a URL to your project website or social media page of choice, if one exists.  Having a project website or preferred social media page is not a requirement for the competition and will not impact your eligibility. If you have not created a project website or a social media page, then please write “Not Applicable.“

Primary Area of Expertise

Please select the primary area of expertise for the Principal Organization.

Team Collaboration

Does your team consist of two or more organizations?

Memorandum of Understanding

If your team consists of two or more organizations, all of the partners working within a formal collaboration must execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which one organization clearly has control and discretion over the use of the grant funds. Learn more about MOUs by watching this webinar on Common Legal Challenges for applicants. For additional guidance, read the Requirements Regarding Any Proposed Collaboration.

A fully-executed MOU that controls the relationships among the parties must be uploaded. You must upload a PDF file that does not exceed 10MB.

If your team does not consist of two or more organizations, then check “not applicable.”

Case for Partnership (150 words)

If your team consists of two or more organizations and has executed an MOU, present a clear case as to why it is important to collaborate and why you believe this will be an effective collaboration. Have the entities successfully collaborated in the past? What can the two or more organizations accomplish together that they couldn’t accomplish alone? Explain how the partnership is positioned to deliver the solution as an integrated team.

If your team does not consist of two or more organizations, then simply respond by entering “Not Applicable.”

Why Your Team? (250 words)

Explain how your team is uniquely positioned to deliver results and why you are the best choice to solve this problem. Your response can include:

Emphasize that you have the right capabilities, experience, and commitment to execute your project.

Biographies of Key Staff. For each of the top three key staff members, who are responsible for the success of the project, please provide a name (First/Last), affiliation, and a brief biographical statement. The biographical statement should include the title for the key staff member and briefly emphasize the credentials and experiences which are most relevant to the project.

Key Staff #1:

Key Staff #2:

Key Staff #3:


Choosing the right problem to solve is the first step towards developing an effective solution. Show that you understand the nuances of the challenges ahead and that you’ve researched and engaged experts who have informed your strategy.

Problem Statement (250 words)

Describe the specific challenges that your solution will address, using non-expert language (do not cite papers or studies). If appropriate, connect it to any larger social concerns or systems. As part of your description address:

Focus on setting the stage for your solution (versus describing how you intend to solve it).

Demand to Address the Problem (150 words)

Describe the current demand for solving the problem among stakeholders (target beneficiaries, local leaders, government agencies). Is the chosen problem recognized as urgent among stakeholders in the locations where you are planning to scale your solution?


This section provides the opportunity for you to more fully explain how you to intend to solve the problem.

Solution Overview (250 words)

Using non-expert language, address the following questions:

Technical Process Description (200 words)

If your solution requires a technical, scientific, medical, or engineering process, then provide an explanation of your solution. Describe how it involves a technical, scientific, medical, or engineering process. Use this space to offer more detail for your specific technical approach that was not suitable for a non-expert audience. If necessary, you may cite academic literature or papers in this section by placing a bracketed number [#] next to each citation that you will later reference in your Bibliography.

If your solution does not require a technical, scientific, medical, or engineering process, please enter “Not Applicable.”

Priority Populations

Select your priority population(s) as the primary target beneficiaries for your solution. While not all projects directly serve human populations, applicants should be able to identify a target population that will benefit from the project (including advocacy or environmental projects where human populations may be indirect beneficiaries). You must select at least one priority population as your primary target beneficiaries (from a provided list), and you are welcome to provide up to three.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (250 words)

Compelling proposals will fully demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 100&Change values organizations that think critically about how to be more inclusive across their teams and projects. Not only do we expect that teams will be thoughtful about how to work with a range of beneficiaries, but we also expect teams to think carefully about how to actively plan for and include the most marginalized and/or vulnerable from within those populations in solutions design, program planning, and ongoing work. 

  1. Explain how you will ensure, or have ensured, that the design and implementation of your solution authentically embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion across all aspects, including persons with disabilities, religious or ethnic minorities, people of color, native/Indigenous peoples, women, gender identity and sexual orientation.
  2. How will you provide opportunities and reasonable accommodations for historically marginalized populations, including religious or ethnic minorities, people of color, native and Indigenous people, sexual orientation, gender identity, and women to actively participate and/or benefit from your solution, including as staff, advisors, partners, consultants, etc.

Opportunities and Accommodations (150 words)

How will you provide opportunities and reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities to actively participate and/or benefit from your solution, including as staff, advisors, partners, consultants, etc.?

Theory of Change (250 words)

Describe the logic of how your solution will lead to the desired outcome. Your Theory of Change should read as a narrative explanation of both the projected and desired outcomes. Emphasize the methodologies that you intend to employ and how they create a causal link to your shorter-term, intermediate, and longer-term goals. As you develop your response, consider this Practical Guide for Creating a Theory of Change.

Barrier Assessment and Risk Mitigation (150 words)

Describe any barriers to the short and long-term success of the project and your plans to mitigate them. Barriers can include problems inhibiting solution scalability, political or public policy concerns, or any other potential operational or tactical hurdles that may hinder your solution’s success. What are the most threatening barriers? How are you prepared to address them?

Primary Subject Area

Select the primary subject area of the solution that you and your team are proposing (list provided).

Location of Current Solution

Where are you currently implementing your solution? Provide up to five locations.

Location of Future Work

Where are you planning to implement your solution, if you are awarded a MacArthur 100&Change grant? Provide up to five locations.

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are considered by many donors when looking to support both domestic and international work. Select one or more of the SDGs that aligns with your solution. To learn more about each SDGs and/or to understand better where your work fits into the SDG framework you can read more here.

Solution Stage

Select the stage of development that best represents your solution. Use the Organizational Readiness Tool to better understand your ability to be competitive.

Key Words (5 words)

Provide a list of five key words that can best be used to describe your project. Choose key words that capture the essence of your project and its intended outcomes. Separate each key word with a comma.


This section provides the opportunity for you to provide evidence that supports your solution.

Evidence of Effectiveness (250 words)

What evidence do you have, or why do you believe that the solution you propose will work? Present any internal evidence or formal academic evidence. You may cite academic literature or papers in this section by placing a bracketed number [#] next to each citation that you will later reference in your Bibliography

Type of Evidence

What kind of data do you collect and/or will you collect to measure success? Which best describe the kind of evidence you currently have or will have to show that your solution works? Select all that apply.

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (250 words)

As you develop your responses, review our Guidance for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for context. The MacArthur Foundation values monitoring, evaluation, and learning activities that are capable of flexing as the context may change and as the work evolves, yet sufficiently rigorous to document and measure results, learn from them, course correct, and adapt, as necessary.

Briefly describe what you expect to learn over the course of implementing your solution and how you plan to learn it. This is the first step toward developing a more comprehensive Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning plan. Your response should address:

Planning for Scale and Amplifying Impact (250 words)

Describe your plan for scaling your solution and its benefits. Scale may mean expanding to new populations or geographies, or it may mean how you intend to amplify your impact more deeply in one geography or population or context. If appropriate, explain whether and how you will need to tailor and adapt your solution for scaling and/or amplifying impact. What is the evidence, or why do you believe your results can be replicated? As you prepare your response, read Scaling-Up: Tools & Techniques for Practitioners and Scaling-Up: Management Framework for Practitioners. 

Durability of Impact (150 words)

Describe the durability of your solution. Does your solution expect to solve the problem in five years or create a pathway to solving the problem over a longer time horizon?

Bibliography (250 words)

If you included citations [#s] in the Technical Explanation section above and/or in the Evidence of Effectiveness section above, provide your bibliography here with a corresponding bracketed number [#] for each citation. If you did not use citations, offer a list of resources that may be used to validate general claims made in your application. Please link to any articles that may be accessed online, even if behind a paywall.


Explain your project plans and the related costs to implement your solution.

Project Phases

Divide your project into three phases over a five-year grant period. For each of your three phases, provide a name, the total duration in months, and a brief description. As part of your description, explain the milestones that you intend to measure and any key activities critical to reaching those milestones to know if you are successful or on track to be successful during the prescribed duration. This could be a plan for achieving full impact, if your solution can be completed in a five-year grant period, or this could be a plan to show your interim results toward achieving longer-term impact over more than five years. Your description of each phase will be used later to compare any details for achieving milestones against the financial details of your project.




Total Resource Requirements (100 words)

Will the total projected costs exceed $100 million (USD)? Your budget must be a minimum of $100 million to be considered. If your total projected costs exceed $100 million (USD), then explain how you have secured (or plan to secure) the balance of any necessary funds.

If your total projected costs do not exceed $100 million (USD), then simply enter “Does not require more than $100 million.”

Other Funders

Has this project received support from any other funders?

If your project has received support from any other funders, then provide the following information for up to three of the top other funders. For each funder, provide the legal name of the entity responsible for funding your project. Provide the period of funding (in months to date) for the funding. Last, provide the amount of funding within the prescribed period.

If your project has not received any support from other funders, then please enter “not applicable” in the first box for Funder #1.



FUNDER #3:   

Budget Narrative (250 words)

Offer a broad and narrative description of your budget needs for the $100 million (USD) grant. As you draft this narrative, map your costs against each of your three (3) defined phases. Here are general guidelines for writing your Budget Narrative:

As you link descriptions of your budget needs to the three phases that you have previously described, a reviewer should be able to read your description of the phases and key results and understand how your budget relates to the milestones that you are planning to achieve.

Detailed Budget

Based on the three phases that you have described, provide a detailed breakdown of total costs for each phase. Cost categories for each phase should include, but not be limited to, descriptions that you’ve already explained in more detail as part of your Budget Narrative. You are encouraged also to include any more detailed cost categories that support a more thorough description of your total costs. Use this opportunity to reflect and clarify any general explanations provided in your Budget Narrative and elsewhere in your application. As you describe each line item for each phase, avoid terms that are ambiguous or vague (e.g., miscellaneous). Instead, offer descriptions of costs which directly correlated to your previous explanations of the project. A reader should be able to review your detailed budget and understand how the pieces fit together. All budgets must total $100 million (USD) for proposals to be eligible.




NOTE: Your total costs must equal $100 million (USD).


Financial Sustainability (150 words)

How do you plan to operate and sustain the impact of your project over time? If your plan requires additional resources in the future, above and beyond the $100 million (USD) budget, to be sustainable, describe the most likely pathway for securing any additional and ongoing support. If you believe your plan will NOT require additional financial resources to be sustainable, explain why.  

Other Resource Requirements (100 words)

This is your opportunity to describe your need for any non-financial resources, to achieve the goals articulated in you plan.


The following information is required to ensure your compliance with specific legal conditions, which are further explained in the RULES.

Charitable Purpose (150 words)

What is the charitable purpose of your project? Describe how the public or a subset, which is a charitable class, will benefit from your project. A charitable class must generally be an indefinite number of individuals who are the subject of the charitable purpose and not a limited number of specified individuals. For example, the class can be needy persons within a disadvantaged community but not a specified person in the community, even if the person is disadvantaged. There can be a comparatively small number of individuals, if the individuals are not identified and the class is open ended. Learn more about Charitable Purpose by watching this webinar on Common Legal Challenges for applicants.

Private Benefit (150 words)

Will private interests (such as shareholders, for-profit companies, contractors, consultants, or other individuals) benefit more than incidentally from the project as compared to the public or charitable benefit?

If your project will trigger any private benefit to one or more individuals, provide an explanation of how the public benefit cannot be achieved without necessarily benefiting those individuals and to what degree any private benefit compares to public benefit. It is insufficient to say that benefits gained will be due to all of humanity benefitting. Learn more about private benefits by watching this webinar on Common Legal Challenges for applicants and by reading our Private Benefit Rules.

If your project will not benefit any private interests, provide an explanation of your response. 

Lobbying Activities (150 words)

Does your project involve any efforts to effect public policy through changes in existing legislation or the enactment of new legislation, and does your project require lobbying activities with respect to a specific legislative proposal? Refer to our Lobbying Policy for clarification.

If your project does involve any lobbying activities, then explain how the project involves any lobbying activities (as defined in the Lobbying Policy).  

If your project does not involve any lobbying activities, then simple enter “Not Applicable.”

Human Subjects Research

Should your application be selected as a Finalist, you will be asked to describe any specific research that involves human subjects. You will be asked to Include in your response evidence of specific plans and the support mechanisms required to safeguard the rights and welfare of those human subjects. Refer to our Human Subjects Research Policy for clarification.

Does your project require any research that would involve human subjects?

Intellectual Property

Should your application be selected as a Finalist, you will be asked describe how you intend to treat such intellectual property to comply with the RULES. If your project relies on existing specific technology, products, ideas, or processes on which there are existing claims of copyright or patent right, review our Intellectual Property Policy, which describes the treatment of Grant Work Product (as defined therein) funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Does your project involve the creation or use of any technology or other products, ideas, or processes on which copyright will be asserted or patents claimed?


In this section, we ask you to provide some additional information about the Principal Organization. Before answering, use the Organizational Readiness Tool to understand your ability to be competitive according to the size of your annual operating budget.

Identification Number for Principal Organization

The Principal Organization must be incorporated in an appropriate jurisdiction. Typically, an identifying number is provided upon incorporation. Select the Country and Identification Type of number that the Principal Organization has been provided.

Identification Number for Principal Organization

Based on your selection above, enter the associated identification number for the Principal Organization. Any identification number that you provide will be used to link your application to other key data that is publicly available for the associated organization.

If you selected OTHER and your Country does not provide an Identification Type of number, then enter “Not Applicable.”

Annual Operating Budget

What is the annual operating budget in United States Dollars (USD) of the Principal Organization?

Number of Employees

How many full-time employees does the Principal Organization employ?

Audited Financial Records

We require information necessary to understand the financial health of the Principal Organization. Upload audited financial reports from the past three (3) years for the Principal Organization.

NOTE: Audited financials must be in English, including all columns, rows, and footnotes.

Financial Records will not be shared during the Peer-to-Peer review process. However, financial information is important to assessing your financial health and potential to receive a $100 million (USD) grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Financial records may be shared with the following persons: MacArthur staff and directors, financial, technical and other experts assisting MacArthur with the assessment of applications, persons assisting with administrative reviews, and other consultants retained by MacArthur in connection with the competition. 

You may submit the three years of audited financial records in any standard format. You must upload a single PDF file that does not exceed 10MB.  


If your team is invited to participate in any future phases of this competition, you may be required to provide additional information (refer to the RULES and Timeline), including but not limited to:

The MacArthur Foundation reserves the right to perform background checks on key individuals associated with the project, and the refusal by the key individuals to provide necessary authorizations will be a reason to reject any application for further consideration. Background information and the results of any background checks will be kept confidential.