Launched in June 2016, the competition will award one multiyear grant of $100 million to a project with the potential to deliver real progress toward solving a critical problem affecting people, a place, or the entire planet. Selected from eight semi-finalists announced in February, the finalists are Catholic Relief Services, which will work to transform the care of children in orphanages by promoting deinstitutionalization and a transition to a family-based system; HarvestPlus, which hopes to eliminate so-called hidden hunger — diets lacking vitamins and minerals that can lead to blindness, stunting, cognitive impairment, disease, and death — by fortifying staple crops in Africa such as corn, cassava, and wheat; Rice University's Rice 360° Institute for Global Health, which aims to boost newborn survival rates in Africa with low-cost neonatal-care solutions and technologies adapted to low-resource settings; and Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee, which will provide educational and early childhood development content designed to address the "toxic stress" experienced by children displaced by conflict and persecution in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
Finalists will answer questions from the public in a weekly online series starting on September 29 and present their proposals during a live-streamed event on December 11, before the MacArthur board names a single recipient to receive $100 million over up to six years. More than nineteen hundred proposals were submitted to the competition, of which eight hundred and one passed an initial administrative review and were evaluated by a panel of judges who each rated them based on four criteria — meaningfulness, verifiability, durability, and feasibility. The foundation's board then selected the semi-finalists and finalists. Information about the next round of 100&Change awards will be made available in late 2018.
"These solutions address diverse and pressing challenges," said MacArthur Foundation president Julia Stasch. "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. 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."