Launched in April, the initiative is aimed at identifying and supporting successful community-driven approaches to expanding economic opportunity for low-income individuals and communities in the United States. Based on four main criteria — impact, the potential for scale, community based/informed-ness, and leadership — twenty organizations were selected from more than eighteen hundred applicants to advance to the final round in a process that included peer review by five other applicants. By the end of the year, up to ten winners will be announced and receive grants of $1 million, as well as technical assistance.
The finalists include Benefits Data Trust (Philadelphia), Coalfield Development Corporation (Wayne, Virginia), Fideicomiso de la Tierra del Caño Martín Peña (San Juan, Puerto Rico), South Carolina Community Loan Fund (Charleston), and the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund (San Antonio).
"We believe in an America where all people can earn enough to support their families, achieve financial security, and provide their children with better opportunities for the future — and we believe that community organizations often hold the key to making that dream possible," said Rockefeller Foundation president Rajiv J. Shah. "The Communities Thrive Challenge demonstrated tremendous excitement and energy from local organizations across the U.S. who want to share lessons and strategies with a broader audience. We are enthusiastic to connect with these organizations and help them reach as many people as possible with their ideas."
"I’m inspired by the energy, optimism, and impact of these community-driven approaches from all across the country," said CZI co-founder Priscilla Chan. "We are thrilled to be learning from the creativity and experience of local leaders who are working tirelessly to improve the lives of working people and their families."