Winning Programs Can Receive Up to $2 Million to Improve Access and Opportunity for Chicago’s Youth
Chicago Beyond Managing Director Liz Dozier was joined by Chance the Rapper to announce Chicago Beyond’s second annual Go Innovate Challenge. The challenge is designed to find and invest in innovative programs, ideas or approaches that disrupt chronic challenges facing young Chicagoans. To participate, interested organizations simply need to submit a 90-second video that describes their work.
“Chicago’s young people possess tremendous potential and deserve every opportunity to thrive and succeed,” said Liz Dozier, Managing Director of Chicago Beyond. “We’re looking for nonprofits who are working to unleash that potential and we’re making it easy for any organization to apply. You don’t need sleek production. All you need is a camera phone and a great concept.”
“Our responsibility to Chicago’s kids is not over when school is out,” said Chance. “It’s more important than ever to find programs making a real difference in the lives of young Chicagoans. Our city can’t let the status quo continue, and Chicago Beyond’s investments in these life-changing programs will help break the cycles that keep kids from realizing their potential.”
Formed in 2016, Chicago Beyond is a venture philanthropy fund that was created to transform the lives of young people by focusing on two critical issues — youth safety and educational attainment. The Go Innovate Challenge is part of Chicago Beyond’s effort to build a diverse portfolio of partners — from established organizations with proven results to early-stage ideas and programs.
Winners of Chicago Beyond’s Innovation Challenge could each receive up to a $2 million investment and will work closely with Chicago Beyond to learn from and grow their program, idea or approach. Last year’s winners include The Dovetail Project, Storycatchers Theatre and Genesys Works Chicago. These three nonprofits received investments that totaled nearly $3 million, which has helped them expand their capacity, test the effectiveness of their program and ultimately impact more young people.
The invitation is open to organizations inside and outside Chicago if the program, idea or approach can be implemented in Chicago. The deadline for submission is 11:59PM CT on July 7.
Interested in applying for this year’s challenge? In order to be considered, an applicant must:
- Have been in existence (or be working with a nonprofit organization that has been in existence) for at least three years
- Provide a new approach or way of solving a complex issue facing Chicago’s youth
- Work with young people between the ages of 13 to 25 years old
- Be willing to work with Chicago Beyond and a research partner to learn from and grow their work
- Produce audited financial reports for the last three years (only if invited to the Formal Review Process)
- Note: Chicago Beyond will not invest in individuals, benefits, annual campaigns, private schools or private research
The most promising applicants will be asked to respond to a request for information about their program or initiative. Following a formal review process, Chicago Beyond will select finalists and award winners. Depending on the award winners’ specific needs, Chicago Beyond will work closely with them to determine a tailored investment plan that could include consultative services and/or enlist a research partner to conduct in-depth study and evaluation.
“Chicago Beyond has been an incredible partner in our effort to reach more court involved youth by enhancing and expanding our programming,” said Meade Palidofsky, founder and Artistic Director of Storycatchers Theatre. “Their investment and partnership has allowed us to expand to a year-round employment program, and has also given us the capacity to refine and evaluate our model based on real data gleaned by connecting us with Urban Labs. We are confident that Chicago Beyond’s investment will move us closer to our long-term goal of growing Storycatchers into a statewide program.”
Chicago Beyond is supported by a consortium of private investors, each with a unique connection to Chicago. For more information about the programs Chicago Beyond is supporting, in addition to application details for the Go Innovate Challenge, please visit ChicagoBeyond.org.