Propose your solution to increasing economic opportunity.

Thank you for participating in the Economic Opportunity Challenge. We recommend reading all requirements for this application before you begin. We encourage you to review the Scoring Rubric that will be used to assess all valid applications. Applications must be submitted in English. You must propose a project and budget for $10 million (USD), not less. Portions of your applications may be published online and will be shared with others during the evaluation process. These include, but are not limited to, Organization Name, Proposal Title, One-Sentence Description, Executive Summary, and Video Presentation.

Be sure to review your application as it will appear after it’s been submitted (link at the bottom of the page) and confirm your changes have been saved. When you have completed all of the requirements, a message will be displayed on the screen. At that point, you can submit your final application. Once you have submitted the application, you will no longer be able to make changes.

You must submit your application no later than 5:00 PM Pacific on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

All fields are required unless otherwise noted.


A. Quick Pitch

This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression. Offer a brief and compelling overview of your proposal. Avoid using jargon or language that a layperson may not understand. The information in this section is likely to be made publicly available in a variety of online settings.

Project Title (10 words)
Provide the title of your project. Choose a name for your project which easily identifies your solution and distinguishes it from any other projects.

Project Description (25 words)

Provide a short description for your project in one sentence.

Executive Summary (150 words)

Write a one-paragraph overview of your project that answers the following three questions:

  • What is a brief description of the problem that you are trying to solve?
  • How will you solve it?
  • What are your intended outcomes? How will your solution address the lives of the people you wish to serve, including historically marginalized people within that population?

Your Executive Summary should be a stand-alone statement of the problem and solution. It should not require any other context to clearly explain what you are seeking to accomplish.

B.  Video Presentation

You are required to submit a video that captures your project and why it should be funded. The video is an opportunity to showcase your passion and to pitch your story in a succinct format. We want you to share your vision with the judges in a way that is different from the written proposal format. This DOES NOT need to be a professionally produced video.

In order to complete this part of your application, your team will upload a short digital film using YouTube. Set the Privacy Settings on your video to Public or Unlisted – do not set them to Private.

Your video may be extracted from your submission and made available to the public and other donors. Appeal to a broad audience. Video submissions should follow these guidelines. Failure to do so will render the application ineligible: 

  • A length of no more than 90 seconds.
  • Your pitch must be primarily in English. If it includes segments in another language, those segments should be subtitled in English.
  • Your video must be captioned. See these instructions on how to use You Tube automatic captioning.
  • Your video should not contain identifiable children without parent consent.

Here are general suggestions for delivering a high-quality video pitch:

  • Introduce yourself and your organization(s) and/or team.
  • Describe the problem that you are committed to solving.
  • Explain your solution.
  • Explain what is unique about your solution.
  • Describe how you plan to measure success and achieve meaningful impact.

C. Your Team

Now that you’ve provided a brief overview of your project, focus on the talent and management of your team.

Principal Organization

During registration, you identified the Principal Organization responsible for receiving and taking accountability for any grant funds, as well as providing the direction, control, and supervision for the project. If the Principal Organization has changed, please Edit Registration Form from the Profile menu to update this information.

Principal Organization Website or Social Media Page

What is the URL of the website or social media page of choice for the Principal Organization? If your Principal Organization does not have a website or social media page, then please insert "Not Applicable."

Project Website or Social Media Page

Provide us with a URL to your project website or social media page of choice, if one exists. Having a project website or preferred social media page is not a requirement for the competition and will not impact your eligibility. If you have not created a project website or a social media page, then please write "Not Applicable."

Primary Area of Expertise for the Principal Organization

Please select one from the drop-down list provided.

Collaboration Among Organizations

Does your team consist of two or more organizations with an executed MOU? (Select one)

o Team consists of two or more organizations but there is not an executed MOU
o Team consists of two or more organizations and has an executed MOU
o Team does not consist of two or more organizations

Why Your Team (250 words)

Explain how your team is uniquely positioned to deliver results and why you are the best choice to solve this problem. Emphasize why you believe you have the right capabilities, experience, and commitment to execute your project. If your team consists of two or more organizations, present a clear case as to why it is important to collaborate: what can your organizations accomplish together that they couldn’t accomplish alone? Your response may include, but is not limited to:

  • How your solution aligns with the primary purpose of your organization(s) or, if there is loose or indirect alignment, explain why you have decided to solve this problem.
  • Your team's previous performance or relevant experience that highlights your ability to deliver results.
  • Description of the largest project you've overseen (financially and/or in terms of team members involved and/or beneficiaries served).
  • Description of what draws the leader or the group to this project on a personal level. What are your team’s core values?
  • If a collaboration, why you believe this will be an effective collaboration. Have the entities successfully collaborated in the past? Explain how the partnership is positioned to deliver the solution as an integrated team.
  • Description of how your team composition reflects the targeted beneficiaries you aim to reach.
Biographies of Key Staff

For each of the top three managers responsible for success of the project, please provide a name (First/Last) and a brief biographical statement. The biographical statement should include the title for the manager and emphasize those credentials and experiences which are most relevant to the project.

Key Staff #1:

Key Staff #2:

Key Staff #3:

D. The Challenge

Demonstrate your understanding of the problem that you want to solve.  

Challenge Statement (250 words)

Describe the specific barriers to economic opportunity that your intervention will address, using non-expert language (do not cite papers or studies). Share the most specific articulation of those issues and, if appropriate, connect it to any larger social concerns or systems. As part of your description address:

  • Who is impacted by the identified barriers?
  • Why does the problem exist?
  • What are the most influential ways to effect the necessary change, and where are the leverage points where the smallest change can have the biggest impact?

Focus on setting the stage for your solution (versus describing how you intend to solve it).

E. Your Solution

Take a deep dive into explaining how you intend to solve the problem.

Solution Overview (250 words)

Using non-expert language (do not cite papers or studies), address the following questions:

  • Describe who will benefit from your intervention and the benefits or outcomes of your intervention.
  • How does your intervention meaningfully remove or remediate the identified barriers to economic opportunity so as to change the trajectory of economic opportunity within a targeted geographic location or population?
  • Describe the impact your solution will have on the chosen problem over the grant period (up to five years). Will it have broad impact on a large population or geography, or will it have deep and intense impact on a small population or geography?
  • If your approach improves upon existing methods/practices, highlight any unique features and other information demonstrating creativity and innovation in your approach and proposed solution.
Priority Populations

Select your priority population(s) as the primary target beneficiaries for your solution. You must select at least one priority population as your primary target beneficiaries, and you are welcome to provide up to three.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (200 words)

Explain how you will ensure, or have ensured, that your solution will be inclusive. For example, how will it include or engage the community in which your project will take place (or has taken place) and also include historically marginalized populations, including persons with disabilities, religious or ethnic minorities, people of color, native/indigenous peoples, women, and gender identity and sexual orientation minorities. Provide additional details on how you will provide opportunities and reasonable accommodations for those populations to either engage with and/or benefit from your solution, including as staff, advisors, partners, et al.

We will use primary subject area, locations of current work, and key words to tag your project in a searchable database, making it possible for other funders to identify projects they might find interesting to support.

Primary Subject Area

Select the primary subject area of the solution that you and your team are proposing.

Location of Current Work

Where are you currently implementing your solution? Select up to five locations that apply. If you are not currently implementing your project, you may not be eligible to apply. Please see the RULES for this competition.   

Location of Future Work

Where do you plan to implement your solution if awarded this grant? Select up to five locations that apply. These locations may or may not be the same as the locations where you are currently implementing your solution.

Key Words (5 words)

Provide a list of five key words or phrases that can best be used to describe your project. Choose key words that capture the essence of your project and its intended outcomes. The key words should be different from the “primary subject area.” The key words will be used to tag applications to help match projects to potential donors.

F. Projected Impact

This section provides the opportunity for you to provide evidence that supports your solution.

Evidence of Effectiveness (250 words)

Share an example of where your proposed solution has previously been implemented. Describe the local conditions that the intervention measurably improved and how. Present any internal or formal academic evidence you may have, including any results from complementary or previous work. If necessary, you may cite academic literature or papers. Use brackets and numbers to indicate relevant citations [#], which you can later clarify in a separate Bibliography section. The purpose of providing citations throughout the application is to affirm that any claims have been investigated and/or verified by a credible source or authority. 

Ability to Scale (250 words)

What is the evidence or why do you believe your results can be replicated or scaled to the specific contexts in which you seek to work? How might your solution serve as a model for other communities throughout the country? If appropriate, explain whether and how you will need to tailor and adapt your solution for scaling and/or amplifying impact. As you prepare your response, read MSI's Scaling-Up: Tools & Techniques for Practitioners and Scaling-Up: Management Framework for Practitioners.

Timeline, Milestones & Measurement of Results (250 words)

What is your expected timeline for project completion and what outcomes will you track to know if you are successful or on track to be successful?

Barrier Assessment & Risk Mitigation (150 words)

Describe the most threatening barriers to the short- and long-term success of the project, as well as any potential unintended consequences, and your plans to mitigate them. Barriers can include problems inhibiting solution scalability, political or public policy concerns, or any other potential operational or tactical hurdles that may hinder your solution’s success.

Bibliography (optional, 250 words)

If you included citations [#s] in the Evidence of Effectiveness section of your application, provide your bibliography with a corresponding bracketed number [#] for each citation. In addition, if you made general claims in your application that inform your work, list resources that may be used to validate them. Please link to any articles that may be accessed online, even if behind a paywall. We recognize there are many standards for writing a bibliography, and we do not enforce any particular format. It is your responsibility to make those citations easy to understand. If not applicable, please write "Not Applicable."

Other Considerations (150 words)

This is your final opportunity to raise any other considerations. Here, you may emphasize or expand upon a previous point or provide new information, as necessary. If not applicable, please write "Not Applicable."

G. Resource Requirements

Indicate and describe the financial resources required to successfully implement your team’s project.

Budget Narrative (200 words)

Offer a general overview for how your team would use the $10 million grant, including the projected needs by category. You may include any explanations of existing resources you have already secured. Please explain what portion of the budget, if any, is expected to be spent on capacity building (a perfectly acceptable use of funds) to ensure effective execution on the project. Please also specify what portion of the budget is expected to be spent on measurement and evaluation of results.


Provide specific line items from your team’s budget narrative (above) for your work. To help us understand your team’s priorities, please provide a detailed budget for how your team would spend the $10 million grant. Please make sure that any funds identified in this table reflect and clarify your team’s general explanations provided in your team’s budget narrative above. 

H. Administrative Information

In this section, please provide some additional information about the Principal Organization. Before answering, use the Organizational Readiness Tool to understand your ability to be competitive.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Enter your 501(c)(3) tax ID number.

Annual Operating Budget

What is the annual operating budget of the Principal Organization? Only organizations with budgets exceeding $1 million for the most recent fiscal year are eligible to apply. Please select one and see our RULES for more information.

  • $1 to 5 Million
  • >$5 to 10 Million
  • >$10 to 25 Million
  • >$25 to 50 Million
  • >$50 to 100 Million
  • >$100 to 500 Million
  • >$500 Million to $1 Billion
  • >$1 Billion

Number of Employees

How many full-time employees does the Principal Organization employ? Please select one.

  • Up to 10 Full-time Employees
  • >10 to 25 Full-time Employees
  • >25 to 50 Full-time Employees
  • >50 to 100 Full-time Employees
  • >100 to 300 Full-time Employees
  • >300 to 500 Full-time Employees
  • >500 to 1,000 Full-time Employees
  • >1,000 Full-time Employees

I. Additional Information To Be Provided

If your team is invited to participate in any future phases of this competition, you may be required to provide additional information (refer to the RULES and Timeline), including but not limited to:

  • A Tax Determination Letter
  • Audited Financial Statements
  • Articles of Incorporation, Charter, or similar documentation.
  • A more comprehensive Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan for the project.
  • Existing policies, if any, addressing conflicts of interest, whistleblower, internal controls, anti-money laundering, intellectual property, human subjects research, code of conduct, ethics, gifts, and any similar policies governing the organization

The Economic Opportunity Challenge reserves the right to perform background checks on key individuals associated with the project, and the refusal by key individuals to provide necessary authorizations will give reason to reject any application for further consideration. Background information and results of any background checks will be kept confidential.

Join the Economic Opportunity Challenge and share your game-changing solution today.

Submissions have closed.