The MacArthur Foundation 100&Change initiative inspires organizations to step upThe MacArthur Foundation 100&Change initiative inspires organizations to step up

When the MacArthur Foundation announced its launch of the 100&Change competition, their intent was to encourage organizations to step up and bring their world-changing ideas to action.

“Through 100&Change, we want to inspire, encourage, and support other people’s ideas, here in our hometown Chicago, across the nation and around the world, about how to address major challenges and enable real progress toward a solution,” said the Foundation’s President Julia Stasch.

Their goal was met with over 7,000 applicants and nearly 2,000 proposals. Recently, the semifinalists were just announced and now only eight competitors remain.

Of those semifinalists the MacArthur Foundation picked, there are a select few organizations looking to address healthcare issues.

Here is a brief rundown of each one:

360˚ Institute for Global Health
The 360˚ Institute for Global Health from Rice University focus on the need for better care of newborns in third world countries, where basic health care is scarce.

Their goal is to reduce the high percentage of preterm deaths of infants and provide them with accessible care for complications of labor and delivery, infections, conditions—such as jaundice—and making sure infants can breathe properly.

Rice plans to develop a set of Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies (NEST) as high quality and effective as those in better equipped and highly resourced settings.

Additionally, Rice presented the MacArthur Foundation with their goal to establish an educational template to shape the next generation of healthcare providers and entrepreneurs.

Through this initiative, Rice will prevent 85 percent of neonatal deaths in Malawi.

The Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) wants to offer people around the world proper and essential eye care.Himalayan Cataract Project
The Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) wants to offer people around the world proper and essential eye care.

Nearly 40 million people around the world suffer from blindness. While that number is devastating, it’s deeply sobering to learn that over 90 percent of those people live in developing countries.

With an already established system in Nepal, costing only $25 a person, HCP is now restoring sight to 200 people daily.

The MacArthur Foundation was presented with their initiative to develop and deliver sustainable eye care.

By providing low-cost laser eye surgery to patients in Nepal, Ethiopia, and Ghana, HCP can create a system to efficiently train healthcare providers through a “train the trainer” template that can be ultimately used worldwide.

Human Diagnosis Project
The Human Diagnosis Project (HDP) aims to reach the 29 million uninsured Americans by providing a new platform for accessible healthcare.

While the uninsured rely on the safety-net of 1,300 public hospitals, community health centers, and free clinics there remains a huge gap. A reported 91 percent of safety-net clinics are unable to provide specialty care to their uninsured patients.

HDP presented the MacArthur Foundation the idea of creating an alliance of academic institutions, physician societies, and licensing boards called Specialty Care, aimed at closing the gap of specialty care for the nation’s uninsured and underinsured.

HDP will accept 100,000 volunteers with a promise of awarding credit toward their degree, licensing, and/or maintenance of certification. Patients, meanwhile, receive their needed specialty care free of cost.

The program would run for five years, and collect data and build profiles that could serve for educative purposes long after the program’s end date.

The Carter Center is bringing to light a devastating condition plaguing approximately 32.7 million people worldwide.The Carter Center
The Carter Center is bringing to light a devastating condition plaguing approximately 32.7 million people worldwide.

River blindness spreads through the bite of a black fly. In Nigeria, roughly 50 million people within their 400,000 communities are either infected with this disease or at risk of the infection.

The MacArthur Foundation was presented with their plan to completely eradicate this condition from Nigeria through treatment with Mectizan. The makers of this drug have donated it, and now all that is left is to establish a consistent delivery of it to Nigeria.

Along with this, the Carter Center will train community volunteers to administer the drug with proper dosage and to provide health education to local families and neighbors.

Next Steps
Clearly, the MacArthur Foundation has quite some consideration to do. After only reviewing half of the semifinalists hoping to win the grant it’s already shaping up to be a tough decision to make. Regardless of whether these organizations win or lose, the foundation hopes this competition has an effect that goes beyond the prize.

“We believe that 100&Change can have a ripple effect beyond what a single $100 million grant enables,” said Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur’s Managing Director.

Clearly, the MacArthur Foundation has quite some consideration to do. “Setting audacious goals is inspiring. Clear evidence of impact can encourage other funders to invest in solvable problems more broadly, and applicants who do not receive the $100 million grant will still receive valuable feedback on and attention to their ideas,” she added.