These Power Players Just Joined Forces to Cultivate Next-Gen Change Makers

Say what you will about the millennial generation, no one can ignore the fact that it is an 80 million-plus strong group of young people that, according to Jean Case, has “...defined itself as a generation of change makers.”

But for all that is the millennial generation, they’re still relatively young and could learn a little bit about channeling their social entrepreneurial spirits in order to make a real collective difference in the world. In order to do that, the Case Foundation and Forbes, along with a host of other partners, have announced the Forbes Under 30 $1 million Change the World Competition. We’re not so sure about how millennials will feel about that ‘long tail’ title, but the $1 million up for grabs is sure to pique their interests.

The event is described as “the largest-ever competition for young social entrepreneurs, funding those disruptive and scalable ideas that address global challenges,” and is calling on anyone under 30 to submit an idea with the potential to catalyze global change.

Keep in mind, young bucks, that although the competition is open to both for-profit and nonprofit outfits, this is not a business plan competition. The judging panel here wants to see ideas from organizations that are already operational—a requirement that makes it more difficult for promising start-ups, but not impossible.

Challenge submissions are not limited to any one subject, discipline, or pressing global problem. It only requires that submissions be “scalable and disruptive.” This is encouraging on the one hand, but a bit overwhelming on the other. To narrow the field here, it helps to look at what the challenge’s NGO backers are into: 

  • Case Foundation is big on fostering global entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation to solve the world’s most pressing social challenges.
  • Pratt Foundation is an Australia-based NGO that works internationally to improve social justice partnerships. Its top funding priorities include sustainability, mental health, WASH, food security, education, and family welfare.
  • Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, which specifically focuses its grantmaking attentions on young people and their development as leaders, as well as improving public education in the U.S. and strengthening the global Jewish community and Israel. 
  • Keywell Foundation, which is a newer foundation focused on backing social entrepreneurs.

All submissions will be reviewed and assessed by the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, but the final judgements will be made by representatives selected from each partner organization. Five semi-finalists will receive a $100,000 award and the overall winner will receive an additional $400,000 check. Interested parties should get on the ball soon. Even though the contest was just announced, winners will be chosen from late August to early September.