In collaboration with open innovation platform OpenIDEO, Minneapolis-based GHR Foundation has launched its third annual BridgeBuilder™, awarding $1 million to the best ideas that address urgent global issues in radically new ways.
This year’s challenge focus, People on the Move, will invite social innovators and individuals with experience of displacement to come together to address challenges faced by migrants, refugees, and displaced people as well as host communities. The challenge will be a collaborative process that aims to identify promising ideas that promote meaningful engagement, greater social cohesion and sustainable, community-led change.
Submissions are open from July 2nd-August 17th, with Top Ideas announced in mid-November following a refinement process using human-centered design. Top Ideas will each receive a share of $1 million in seed funding from GHR Foundation and will join a cohort of innovative organisations working to address urgent needs.
This year, BridgeBuilder launches in response to the more than 70.8 million men, women and children who are currently forcibly displaced worldwide. With more people on the move today than in the past 70 years, and with women and children disproportionately impacted, the 2019 Challenge invites social innovators and currently or previously displaced persons to design approaches that enable individuals to create a life of meaning, filled with hope and dignity, and to support host communities in being their most welcoming.
Entrants are requested to consider the following question:
How might we, as people on the move and neighbours, build bridges to a shared future of stability and promise?
In 2018, BridgeBuilder gathered 690 collaborative, principles-based, community-rooted, people-centered solutions, all building bridges in unique, innovative ways. These were narrowed down to five Top Ideas, which convened in Rome for a design-build workshop with GHR and OpenIDEO.
The 2018 Top Ideas include:
Amy Goldman, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of GHR Foundation, said, “The opportunity for meaningful engagement with people on the move is immense, and BridgeBuilder seeks to harness the hospitality and solidarity that lies within each of the 7 billion humans on our planet. GHR is proud to launch this third BridgeBuilder, which builds on each of our previous challenges that have sought new approaches to solve pressing global issues at the intersections of peace, prosperity, and planet.”
Jason Rissman, managing director of OpenIDEO, added, "We’ve been so inspired by the global response to BridgeBuilder the past two years. The creativity infused in the ideas has been outstanding, as has been the impact of these bold innovators on their respective communities. I look forward to welcoming the next generation of BridgeBuilders in the third challenge and continuing to grow this important movement."
To participate in this year’s Challenge, please visit: GHRfoundation.org/BridgeBuilder
Entries open July 2nd and close August 17th 2019.
Notes to Editors
During the Ideas Phase, BridgeBuilder calls on the global community to share approaches that bring people together to address urgent challenges faced by people on the move. The proposals do not need to be perfect or fully polished—in fact, early entry in the Ideas phase will allow teams to iterate and improve an idea through community engagement. Throughout this Phase, participants are encouraged to include voices of people with experience of displacement in their communities to design ideas and provide feedback.
Currently and previously displaced people will help select a shortlist of submitted ideas to move into the Expert Feedback Phase, where teams will have the opportunity to be matched with experts with lived experience and from various fields to gather feedback and additional insights. After expert feedback, the Improve Phase gives each team three weeks to apply the expert feedback to their proposal, finalize and resubmit it along with a project budget.
Top Ideas will be announced in mid-November and receive seed funding and post-Challenge support from GHR, as well as connection opportunities with other BridgeBuilders and OpenIDEO.
Selected top ideas will:
Ideas are invited from individuals and teams currently or previously experiencing displacement as well as registered nonprofit, civil society, community-based, and for-profit organizations working anywhere in the world.
GHR Foundation and OpenIDEO Launch Third BridgeBuilder™ to Identify Radical Ideas to Help Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People
"Working at full capacity, BioCarbon’s drones, flying in six-strong autonomous swarms, can plant 400,000 trees in a day, according to BioCarbon’s co-founder Irina Fedorenko.
In 2017, an old contact from Fedorenko’s time as an activist in Russia approached her, and together they secured a $240,000 grant from the GHR Foundation, a US philanthropic organisation, to set up trials in Ayeyarwady Region. “I knew that it was going to be tough,” Fedorenko says. “Environmental restoration is always a question of governance and management. It’s never a question of technology. We were ready for that.”
A 2017 BridgeBuilder Top Idea, language learning startup NaTakallam has forged a unique way to build bridges in a bordered world. Leveraging technology and their native tongue, NaTakallam connects refugees to remote work opportunities in the language sector, providing them economic empowerment, honing their marketable skills, and fostering global friendships.
NaTakallam began, first and foremost, with addressing the problem of being a displaced person without a job and/or a sense of purpose. Whether being barred from legal access to the local workforce, unable to find work due to a dearth of opportunities, or struggling because of cultural or language barriers, refugees and displaced individuals are at great risk of falling into depression, poverty, and desperation.
While the organization began by focusing on Arabic speaking refugees, over the past three years NaTakallam has expanded its offerings to include Spanish, Persian, Arabic and French. NaTakallam recruits, trains and hires refugees as Conversation Partners (CPs), and then connects them with students around the world for language practice. They offer a range of learning options, including one-on-one tutoring, guest speaker sessions, integrated K-12 curricula, university programs and translation services in 9+ languages. Providing students the chance to learn a new language while building a relationship with someone whose life is very different than their own, NaTakallam expands much more than just their user’s linguistic repertoire.
As NaTakallam continues to evolve and develop new programs, expanding its ability to provide displaced persons with access to income and a sense of purpose, they play a key role in fostering empathy, dialogue and intercultural understanding worldwide. With the introduction of their new community session programs, NaTakallam is now expanding its reach to include workplaces and community spaces.
GHR Foundation was fortunate enough to host a lunchtime community session event with NaTakallam at the close of their grantmaking, where staff and special guests got to hear from two CPs, who shared their stories and described their experiences working with NaTakallam. Both CPs expressed a profound sense of gratitude for the chance to share their language skills while connecting with a diverse range of people, allowing for friendships to form even across great distance.
To learn more and sign up for a special opportunity to commit to bringing Refugee Voices to your community at : https://tiny.cc/supportrefugees.
From Inside Philanthropy:
"Looking at the extraordinarily diverse group of ideas that came out on top in last year’s challenge, one thing is clear: Bridgebuilder is making progress toward reaching organizations from around the world. It’s encouraging to see a funder live up to its talk of diversity, and then go the extra mile by translating its materials into multiple languages.
While it’s not easy to keep track of the all grant competitions going on these days, Bridgebuilder is definitely one worth keeping an eye on..."
With 690 ideas from participants in nearly every country, the Ideas phase of the 2018 BridgeBuilder Challenge has come to a close! We called on our global community to submit ideas addressing urgent global challenges at the intersection of peace, prosperity and planet in radically new ways, and were blown away by the creativity, dedication and collaboration of everyone involved! Participants will no longer be able to alter ideas until the Beneficiary Feedback stage begins on June 21. You can, however, continue to review the ideas, comment on your favorites, make connections between organizations and participate in the Challenge community.
We believe new and existing ideas become better through collaboration, transparent feedback and iteration. Participants of the BridgeBuilder Challenge are encouraged to build on each others' concepts, collaborate, share insights and combine ideas to reach innovative new places. Throughout the various phases of the Challenge, we encourage everyone to continue engaging and pushing each other forward.
The Review phase has now begun, during which GHR and OpenIDEO are reviewing submissions based on our evaluation criteria. We encourage you to use this phase to leave and respond to comments, feedback or insights that may fuel idea development.
After the Review phase will be the Beneficiary Feedback phase, during which we’ll ask participants to get feedback from their communities, consider their end users and apply these learnings to their proposal. Though only shortlisted ideas will be required to complete this step, we encourage the entire BridgeBuilder community to continue through the refinement process—even if your idea is not selected, collecting and applying beneficiary feedback will improve your idea.
Shortlisted ideas will have the opportunity during the Expert Feedback phase to be matched with experts who will provide feedback and additional insights, helping inform the evaluation of their proposal. Last, during the Improve phase, each shortlisted idea will have two weeks to apply feedback to their proposal. We encourage all participants to incorporate constructive feedback from the BridgeBuilder community to make your idea the best it can be.
View the ideas and participate in the BridgeBuilder community!
GHR and OpenIDEO Launch Second BridgeBuilder Challenge to Identify Radical Ideas Addressing Complex Global Issues
The annual $1 million open innovation Challenge seeks community-rooted approaches that design and ‘build bridges’ between peace, prosperity and planet.
In collaboration with open innovation platform OpenIDEO, GHR Foundation is inviting social innovators to come together to address urgent global challenges at the intersections of peace, prosperity and planet in radically new ways. The second annual BridgeBuilder Challenge is a five-month collaborative process that aims to identify promising ideas that promote meaningful engagement, greater social cohesion, and sustainable, community-led change. The top iterative ideas will each receive a share of $1 million and benefit from ongoing collaboration among the cohort and GHR’s global development experts.
The first BridgeBuilder Challenge in 2017 collected more than 650 ideas from social innovators in 185 countries, all building bridges in unique, innovative ways. These were narrowed down to five Top Ideas, which convened in Rome for a design-build workshop with GHR and OpenIDEO. These wide-ranging approaches are already resulting in meaningful change, with project scopes between 12 and 36 months.
The 2017 Top Ideas include:
“The challenges our world faces today are complex and interwoven,” said Amy Goldman, chief executive officer and chair of GHR. "BridgeBuilder is teaching us a lot about how communities far and wide are designing innovative solutions, and the power of building bridges to create lasting change. Through this second Challenge as well as the work of our current cohort, we hope to continue ‘bridging’ between people and communities to support and unleash the promise of locally-rooted ideas and assets.”
Whether working to advance peace, ensure prosperity, or protect our planet, successful BridgeBuilders design and build approaches that incorporate multiple perspectives, keeping pace with the speed at which the global community is moving and evolving.
“The response to our inaugural BridgeBuilder Challenge was amazing,” said Jason Rissman, managing director of OpenIDEO, of the 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge. “The collaborative, transparent nature of last year’s Challenge inspired social innovators from nearly every country to offer insights and connections that brought value to submitted ideas, even if they weren't ultimately selected as Top Ideas. It’s exciting to consider the world-changing potential of our community of BridgeBuilders in this second Challenge.”
OpenIDEO Challenge Process: During the Ideas phase, GHR and OpenIDEO will call on the global community to share ideas that address urgent challenges at the intersections of peace, prosperity and planet in radical new ways. The ideas do not need to be perfect or fully polished—GHR encourages entry early in the Ideas phase to allow for community engagement and iteration to improve ideas. GHR will then select a shortlist of submitted ideas to move into the Beneficiary Feedback phase. During Beneficiary Feedback, contributors will test ideas in their communities and apply feedback to their project idea.
During the Expert Feedback phase, shortlisted ideas will have the opportunity to interact virtually with experts from various fields to gather feedback and additional insights. After expert feedback is the Improve Phase, during which each idea will have two three weeks to apply the expert feedback to their project idea. After these phases, GHR will review the shortlist, evaluate the ideas and announce the Top Ideas—a cohort representing promising approaches that best reflect the spirit of BridgeBuilder.
Selected top ideas will:
Eligibility: Submissions are welcome from registered nonprofit, civil society, community-based and for-profit organizations working anywhere in the world. Ideas must touch on two or more of the topic areas (peace, prosperity and planet). Ideas should strive to create unique encounters between people, issues and beliefs that promote meaningful engagement, greater social cohesion and sustainable, community-led change. Ideas must center on action and tangible results in their communities of focus rather than research, convenings, policy development or advocacy. Last, BridgeBuilder is seeking ideas with timelines up to 36 months and budget requests of less than US$500,000.
The first annual BridgeBuilder Challenge blew past our expectations, drawing in more than 650 participants and delivering five amazing Top Ideas. This year's BridgeBuilder Challenge is set to begin on May 1, 2018. After that date, participants will be able to create and refine their idea using OpenIDEO's open innovation platform. We encourage participants to enter the Challenge as soon as possible—the more time you have to use the platform, the more you can benefit from the feedback and connections the community has to offer.
The 2017 Top Ideas are already implementing their projects and have been drawing attention. The March print issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy includes a feature article on the BridgeBuilder Challenge, titled Foundation Uses Radical Transparency in Grant Making. "I wanted to open up our windows and get some fresh air into our own thinking and learning at the foundation," said GHR CEO Amy Goldman for the Chronicle. "Seeing all of these ideas has really been an opportunity to do that." Read the full story (PDF).
If you're interested in what it's like to be a BridgeBuilder Top Idea, check out the new video below, which features the 2017 cohort's experience as they convened in Rome this fall.
Learn more about the BridgeBuilder Challenge here.
When GHR Foundation decided to commit $3 million over three years to social innovators bridging the gaps between “peace, prosperity, and planet in radically new ways,” the team determined that a traditional RFP process would not allow it to move as quickly, nor seek out as many perspectives, as it needed. So the organization partnered with the open innovation platform OpenIDEO, which grew out of the Silicon Valley-based firm known for its work in human-centered design, a process that is all about designing with and not for the end user.
“We’ve been involved in global work for a long time, but with the invitation-only approach of deep partnership and long-term goals, we were wondering, ‘What are we missing that is out there?’” Amy Rauenhorst Goldman, CEO of GHR Foundation, told Devex...
From Catholic News Service:
While tourists walking around the lobby of Rome’s Crowne Plaza Hotel eagerly discussed their vacation plans, young men and women from around the world were nestled in a nearby conference room, engaged in a different kind of conversation.
Five winners of the 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge gathered in Rome Oct. 2-4 along with members of the GHR Foundation, a philanthropic association founded by a Catholic couple from Minnesota, to share their winning ideas...
From Thompson Reuters Foundation News:
"Fast-dwindling mangroves in Myanmar's low-lying Ayeyarwady Delta, ravaged by decades of deforestation and conversion of land for agriculture and aquaculture, could find an unlikely saviour - drones.
Mangroves protect coastlines in the face of storms and rising sea levels, absorb carbon from the atmosphere, and boost fish stocks, experts say.
Yet Myanmar has lost more than 1 million hectares (about 2.5 million acres) of mangroves..."