Propose a problem and its solution.

Ideas can come from any field or sector.

Welcome to 100&Change. By submitting a complete and valid application, you may be eligible for a $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (MacArthur Foundation). As you consider the benefits of your participation, we hope that you will take time to read this website, which includes detailed descriptions of the way in which each valid application will be scored and by whom.

Take time to understand each stage of the selection process, and read carefully the Rules governing your participation. If the MacArthur Foundation selects your organization as the grant recipient, you will enter into a grant agreement. Therefore, we provide some of the terms from a typical grant agreement for your review, in hopes that you will understand those expectations. We look forward to learning more about you, as well as your grasp of the problem and the solution that you’re ready to deliver. 

Please take time to read all of the application requirements before completing each section. We encourage you to take advantage of the maximum word counts for each question or prompt. However, those reviewing your application are looking for succinct and concise responses. It is important to provide evidence of any assertions made in your application. Applications are due on Monday, October 3, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. Central.


Provide a brief summary description of the problem that you are committed to solving and the solution that you are proposing. Your Executive Summary should be contained in a single paragraph. Focus on delivering a compelling overview so that the Evaluation Panel members assigned to score your application will want to read more. Your Executive Summary, along with other portions of your application, may be extracted and revealed to the public. Therefore, the paragraph should not require any other context to explain clearly the problem and your proposed solution. This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression.


The following information is required to capture a basic understanding of the structure, leadership, and capabilities of your team.

TEAM PURPOSE  (150 words)
Please explain how the problem and your proposed solution align with the primary purpose of your organization or collaboration of two or more organizations. If there is a loose or indirect alignment, please explain why you’ve decided to solve this problem. 

The principal organization and point of contact for receiving and taking accountability for any grant funds may be different from the organization and user name identified during registration. Is the principal organization responsible for receiving and taking accountability for any grant funds different from the registered organization?

☐ Yes ☐ No

If Yes, the following information will display:

Provide the legal name of the principal organization responsible for receiving and taking accountability for any grant funds, as well as providing the direction, control, and supervision for the proposed solution, if awarded. Identify a single point of contact who will assume a key leadership role coordinating dedicated team members and/or affiliated organizations. The point of contact is responsible for answering any questions and must have a working knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of those identified in the application. See also Rules on applications by collaborations or groups of organizations collaboration.

  1. Enter the legal name of the principal organization:
  2. Name the principal organization’s point of contact:
  3. Provide direct contact information for the principal organization’s point of contact:
  4. Select whether the principal organization is registered in the United States or in another country:
    • United States (including its territories)
    • Another country
  5. Acknowledge the legal status of the principal organization:

    If the registrant selects United States, including its territories, then the following options are available:

    • An organization under section 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) or (2) of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) that has received a tax determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”).
    • A private foundation under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC that has received a tax determination letter from the IRS.
    • A for-profit corporation organized under the laws of a State in the United States.
    • A benefit corporation, flexible purpose organization, or similar “hybrid” organization organized under the laws of a State in the United States.
    • A limited liability company or limited partnership organized under the laws of a State in the United States.
    • If none of the above, please identify the nature of your organization. ___________________

    If the registrant selects Another country, then the following options are available:

    • An organization organized under the laws of a foreign jurisdiction which has received a tax determination letter from the IRS or has been determined to be the equivalent of a section 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) or (2) organization by NGO Source or the MacArthur Foundation for which an equivalency determination has not expired.
    • An entity that is recognized under the law of the applicable jurisdiction as a non-governmental organization, an educational organization, a charitable organization, a social welfare organization, a not-for-profit organization, or similar-type entity that is not a for-profit organization or government agency.
    • A for-profit entity organized and in good standing under the laws of the local jurisdiction in which it operates.
    • If none of the above, please identify the nature of your organization. ___________________
  6. Identify the state, federal jurisdiction, or country in which the principal organization is required to be registered and where it operates:

    [If United States, including its territories, was selected, then the following statement will appear.]

    The MacArthur Foundation reserves the right to reject the application of an organization domiciled or subject to the jurisdiction of a State within the United States if, in the MacArthur Foundation’s sole discretion, the laws of the State applicable to the organization may prohibit or limit the MacArthur Foundation from proceeding with this Competition as intended or the consideration or making of any award would impose additional administrative, tax, operational, or legal burdens on the MacArthur Foundation.

    [If Another country was selected, then the following statement will appear.]

    Organizations domiciled or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign country may be required to certify that the laws of their country do not prohibit or restrict the receipt of the award under this Competition. The MacArthur Foundation reserves the right to reject the application of a foreign organization if, in the MacArthur Foundation’s sole discretion, the laws of the country applicable to the organization would prohibit or limit the MacArthur Foundation from proceeding with this Competition as intended or the consideration or making of any award would impose additional administrative, tax, operational, or legal burdens on the MacArthur Foundation.

  7. Provide the address of the principal organization:
  8. Describe or select the primary area of expertise for the principal organization (the drop down list is meant to be suggestive, not exhaustive or prescriptive):
  9. Describe or select the primary thematic area of the problem that the principal organization (and its partners, if relevant) proposes to solve (the drop down list is meant to be suggestive, not exhaustive or prescriptive): 

TEAM STRUCTURE (200 words)
Please indicate in a narrative format how your team is organized. Explain how your team is managed on a day-to-day basis and by whom. Teams may consist of one or more organizations (refer to the Eligibility Guidelines in the Rules). However, if two or more team member organizations are named, each must offer a specific role to support the proposed solution. A team consisting of more than one organization must describe its structured collaboration with both legal and governing control over the implementation and/or expansion of the solution.

Please upload a document that names each team member and their organizational affiliation, and the names of members of any Board of Directors or Advisory Board for the proposed solution.

Is the team a collaboration between two or more organizations?

☐ Yes ☐ No

If Yes, the following question and prompt will display:

Present a clear case as to why this will be an effective collaboration. Have the organizations successfully collaborated in the past? Explain how the collaboration is positioned to deliver the proposed solution as an integrated team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

It is required that all parties execute a Memorandum of Understanding between/among the parties. The fully executed Memorandum of Understanding or other legal agreement that controls the relationship among the parties must be uploaded. For guidance, please read the Requirements Regarding Any Proposed Collaboration.


Please provide a broad description of the specific problem that your team is committed to solving. Identify who or what is impacted by this problem. Offer an explanation of the current resources that are available to address the problem. Focus on why those resources are insufficient to support meaningful progress toward one or more aspects of a solution. Explain any previous attempts to solve the problem, if there were any, and/or why the problem persists within the current environment. Later, you will be asked to explain in detail your proposed solution; here, focus on defining the problem and setting the stage for your proposed solution.

YOUR SOLUTION (250 words)
Describe your proposed solution in general terms, using layman’s language, and explain how it will make meaningful progress toward a solution to the problem you’ve identified. What will be the direct benefits (outcomes) of this proposed solution? Who are the direct beneficiaries? Explain how and for how long these benefits will be sustained once the solution has been implemented. Why have you chosen this particular solution, and what is the best argument for this approach, as compared to potential alternatives? Focus here on the broad goals that you seek to achieve. Describe any tactical or operational plans that you will employ in the following questions.

Where do you expect the greatest impact of your project is going to take place? You must choose at least one location, and you may select up to four. If you do not see your location, you may enter it in the Other text box.






You have explained generally WHAT your team is offering; now, offer specific details of your proposed solution, describing your technical approach and/or related technology. Explain exactly HOW you will implement the proposed solution and the circumstances under which you will you achieve optimal results.

If your plan or proposed solution involves the creation or use of any technology or other products, ideas, or processes on which copyright will be asserted or patents claimed, or if your proposed solution relies on existing specific technology, products, ideas, or processes on which there are existing claims of copyright or patent rights, please review the Intellectual Property Policy, which describes the treatment of Grant Work Product (as defined therein) funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

In chronological order, identify key milestones in the implementation process and the timing of when they will be reached. Your proposed solution must be implemented over a period of between three and six years. 


Present the results of any external evaluations that your proposed solution has undergone. Reference any literature or scientific consensus to verify that any actions you describe will lead to the outcomes that you predict. Explain the results of any pilot project or cases studies that have been completed using your proposed solution, if applicable.

Please describe the principal risks or threats to the short- and long-term success of the proposed solution and your plans to address them. Include a consideration of whether your solution might trigger a response from policymakers and/or any public officials that might pose a risk. Persuade the judges that your team understands any specific operational or tactical hurdles.

EVALUATION (250 words)
If you are selected as a Semi-Finalist, you will be asked to submit a monitoring, evaluation, and learning plan. For an example, please review the Guidance for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning. For now, briefly describe how you plan to evaluate that your solution will have worked. How will you demonstrate what is working, why, under what conditions, and for whom? 


Now that you have established the potential effectiveness of your proposed solution, please explain how your team is uniquely positioned to deliver results based on your track record. On what basis of your team’s experience and previous performance should any claims be warranted? Judges are looking for indicators that you have the capacity for executing your plan. Emphasize your knowledge of the core disciplines, practices, and technology required to succeed.

Please describe your organization’s current capacity to undertake the proposed solution. What are the gaps in knowledge or expertise, if any, that you need to address? Do you anticipate changes in personnel, facilities, or organization? What are the strategic relationships, if any, required to bring about the intended results?

Explain any infrastructure, systems, or previously measured successes that have been put into place and/or tested to illustrate that you have the capacity to meet your standards of measured results. Your previous performance is a theme that may be represented in other responses. Here, focus on your team’s capacity to repeat, measure, and/or scale any claims made as Evidence of Effectiveness.

We require information necessary for our judges to understand your financial health and sustainability.

Please provide audited financial reports from the past three years for the principal organization. If your organization does not have them or cannot provide them, please upload a letter from the most senior executive at the principal organization, explaining your inability to provide them.


We are asking you to offer a narrative description of your proposed budget, explaining all of your team’s resource requirements. Later, you will be provided a specific format for indicating projected costs. Take time to consider all three of the next sections, so that they can read coherently as one interrelated explanation.

What is the total cost to implement the solution within the specified duration revealed in your timeline and key milestones? This includes capital expenditures; operational expenditures; and monitoring, evaluation, and learning expenditures. In MacArthur’s experience, monitoring, learning, and evaluation costs will run 5-15% of the total projected costs. Please review the Indirect Cost Policy. If you are selected as a Semi-Finalist, you will be asked to provide a detailed budget. For now, please complete the following table:

If the total projected cost exceeds $100,000,000, explain how you plan to secure the balance of any necessary funds. Once your solution has been implemented, what will be the cost, if any, to sustain the benefits over time? Identify the source of funding for those costs.

The implementation of your solution may require other resources or partnerships, and you are welcome to explain them here. You can offer any contingency planning, based on specific issues raised in other sections of your proposal. This is your opportunity to describe (more completely) outstanding issues that you could not explain in any other sections. 


You are required to submit a video presentation that captures your own pitch for why your solution should be funded. You 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 submissions and made available to the public. Please appeal to a broad audience. Video submissions should follow these guidelines: 

Video submissions that do not follow these guidelines may be removed from the application. Here are some logistical and technical suggestions: 

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

Hone your content:

Do not submit your video pitch if you see room for improvement.


Can you achieve your objectives consistent with the MacArthur Foundation’s policies and applicable law governing the MacArthur Foundation? The following sections of the application are for internal review and will not be made available to the Judges. Your responses to these questions may be reviewed in order to determine if your organization qualifies, based on whether you can satisfy the policies and standards of the MacArthur Foundation and the law applicable to it.

What is the charitable purpose of your solution? Describe how the public or a subset, which is a charitable class, will benefit from your solution. 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.

Will private interests (such as shareholders, for-profit companies, contractors, consultants, or other individuals) benefit more than incidentally from the solution as compared to the public or charitable benefit? If your solution 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. You may refer to our Private Benefit Policy for clarification.

Does your proposed solution involve any efforts to effect policy changes through changes in existing legislation, or the enactment of new legislation, and require lobbying activities with respect to a specific legislative proposal?

☐ Yes ☐ No

If Yes, the following prompt will display:

Explain how the proposed solution involves any lobbying activities. You may refer to our Lobbying Policy for clarification.

Does your proposed solution require any research that would involve human subjects?

☐ Yes ☐ No

If Yes, the following prompt will display:

Describe any specific research that involves human subjects and how it complies with the MacArthur Foundation’s strict policy regarding human subjects research. Please refer to the Human Subjects Research Policy for clarification. Include in your response evidence of specific plans and support mechanisms required to safeguard the rights and welfare of those human subjects.

TEAM STORY (150 words)
Lastly, we want to understand your motives for participating in this Competition. Tell us how your team came to work on this problem and arrived at this solution.

If your organization or collaboration is named as a Semi-Finalist, you will be required to provide additional information during the next stage of the Competition (please refer to the Rules and the Timeline), including but not limited to:

The MacArthur Foundation reserves the right to perform background checks on key individuals associated with the proposed solution, 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.