Changing the National Conversation About Poverty, Economic Mobility – Nov 13

Posted by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on September 24, 2019

Gates Foundation Issues Grand Challenge Call for Changing the National Conversation About Poverty, Economic Mobility

Over the past few years, the team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been traveling to communities across the U.S. to meet with people where they live to learn about economic mobility and opportunity from their perspectives. Among the things they learned is that there are no silver-bullet solutions for communities suffering the effects of deindustrialization, that there is no easy fix for structural racism, and that there is a huge gap between longstanding assumptions about poverty and the reality of millions of Americans’ lives.

With those lessons in mind, the foundation, through its Grand Challenges program, has issued a call for ideas designed to support individuals and organizations interested in contributing to the long-term work of correcting mistaken assumptions and improving understanding of poverty through the actual stories of those that experience poverty.

The goal of the challenge is to elevate diverse voices that can help broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness and actionable understanding. To that end, grants of $100,000 will be awarded in support of creative, scalable ideas that generate awareness of the structural and historic barriers to economic mobility; communicate that poverty is not just something that happens to other people; and change the predominant misconceptions about poverty in a way that creates the conditions for effective programs and policies to be adopted by the public and private sectors.

Priority will be given to proposals that highlight barriers to economic mobility as well as the impact of biases, intersectionality, and ideas around deservingness related to race, gender, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, physical and mental health, ability, and geography; the voices of individuals experiencing poverty; and ideas for distributing these perspectives.

A few of the many types of concepts the foundation will consider include but are not limited to lessons learned from past or present poverty-alleviation programs, both successes and failures; a range of voices that highlights the causes and consequences of poverty and identifies key windows of opportunity for the most effective change; technology, digital platform, or social network ideas with demonstrated value in enhancing dissemination in support of positive social change.

The foundation will not consider funding for projects centered entirely around donations made by individuals; projects focused on emergency relief or crisis response; academic research without a clear objective to solve a public understanding problem; initiatives limited to specific organizations; and/or projects that earmark foundation funds for lobbying activity (e.g., attempts to influence legislation or legislative action) or efforts to influence political campaigns for public office.

For more information, including rules and guidelines, evaluation criteria, and an FAQ, see the Grand Challenges website.

Deadline: November 13, 2019

Learn more and apply:

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