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:
- Ethical gold mining as a pathway to peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- Peace Direct
- Tree-planting drones for restoring mangroves and livelihoods in Myanmar -- BioCarbon Engineering
- Creative skills for peace among youth violent offenders in Cameroon -- Local Youth Corner Cameroon
- Lifting up and empowering families on Chicago's Southside -- LIFT Chicago
- Connecting displaced persons with Arabic language learners around the world – NaTakallam
“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:
- Receive a share of $1 million in seed funding from GHR Foundation
- Join a BridgeBuilder cohort of innovative organizations working to address urgent needs
- Take part in a kick-off workshop, during which they will meet other social innovators and further design and build their approaches with tools and expertise from GHR and OpenIDEO
- Receive ongoing partnership support from GHR, potential connection to other funder networks, and media exposure
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.