Lever for Change Bold Solutions Network FAQ

What is the purpose of the Bold Solutions Network?

The Bold Solutions Network is a vital component of Lever for Change’s mission to accelerate social change and help philanthropists overcome the challenges that often prevent them from achieving their philanthropic ambitions.

Research shows that while many philanthropists aspire to make “big bets” for social change, they often struggle to find, evaluate, and fund high-impact philanthropic opportunities, in part because they do not have the expertise or dedicated staff these efforts require. This challenge leaves non-profits and other changemakers under-resourced and unable to scale their programs. Lever for Change’s Bold Solutions Network is designed to fill these gaps and aims to unlock significant philanthropic capital by connecting philanthropists with rigorously vetted, highly-rated proposals that emerge from the competitions it manages. For participating organizations, the Bold Solutions Network offers ongoing learning and networking opportunities to strengthen the impact of their work, raise their visibility, and increase their potential to secure additional funding.

What is the Bold Solutions Network website?

The Bold Solutions Network website is a searchable online collection of summaries of highly-rated, rigorously evaluated proposals - “bold solutions” - that emerge from open competitions managed by Lever for Change. Each profile page is compiled from the competition application and includes a project overview, a 90-second video explaining the proposed work, and a link to the organization’s website. Included applicants have also created a 2-page factsheet summarizing their submitted proposal.

What values underlie the Lever for Change approach?

Lever for Change centers its work on the core values of transparency, openness, equity, and inclusivity. We ensure these values are represented throughout our activities and within each customized competition by sourcing applicants and judges from diverse networks and building community engagement into competition design from the beginning. Lever for Change is also committed to providing value to each competition participant. We do this by providing applicants with detailed information about the competition, such as the timeline, evaluation criteria and scoring rubric, and the names and biographies of judges. We also ensure that all eligible applicants receive feedback on their proposals during each competition cycle with additional technical support provided to all finalists within a competition. To learn more about Lever for Change’s process, please view our Competition Process page detailing the stages of proposal review, feedback, and diligence.

What values underlie the Bold Solutions Network?

We value the work that organizations put into proposal writing and the feedback that they receive from expert reviewers during the competition process. We do not want these efforts to be considered “sunk costs.” Instead, we seek to leverage these efforts by using feedback to strengthen projects through the provision of ongoing learning opportunities, pro bono services, and networking opportunities. Our mission is to help build a pipeline of organizations ready to accelerate social change and to match those organizations with philanthropists ready to achieve their ambitions.

How do Lever for Change and the Bold Solutions Network help philanthropists who want to give to social change causes?

Lever for Change, a MacArthur Foundation affiliate, aims to unlock significant philanthropic capital and accelerate social change around the world’s biggest challenges. Lever for Change helps philanthropists find and fund vetted, high-impact philanthropic opportunities either through the design and management of customized competitions with a minimum award size of US $10 million, or by identifying philanthropic opportunities from the Bold Solutions Network website, a searchable database which contains the top, vetted proposals from all of the competitions we run.

The Bold Solutions Network website allows interested donors to search for projects in their interest area(s) on their own, or with the support of Lever for Change, which can help them refine their philanthropic interests and find highly-rated organizations which address those issues. Lever for Change creates curated lists of proposals from the publicly-available proposal summaries based on donors’ philanthropic goals. We also broker connections to included organizations and advise on structuring grants. Donors who are interested in sponsoring a custom competition and/or providing significant financial support to Bold Solutions Network proposals should contact Dana Rice, Vice President of Philanthropy.

How does Lever for Change support Bold Solutions Network members?

Lever for Change aspires to support Bold Solutions Network members in three ways:

  1. matchmaking with potential funders,
  2. providing learning and technical support opportunities, and
  3. offering networking opportunities to help raise the visibility of member organizations.

Lever for Change plans to provide opportunities for Bold Solutions Network members to connect with philanthropists looking to increase their giving to social impact. We do this by actively promoting Bold Solutions Network members within the Lever for Change donor network.

Bold Solutions Network members will be eligible to access learning and technical support opportunities in the form of webinars, pro bono services, coaching, workshops, cohort support and peer networking. The focus of these opportunities is to continue to help strengthen members' project design and plans, as well as to increase the impact of their work. A rotating list of opportunities can be found here. Lever for Change will coordinate communications for these opportunities with the proposal's main point of contact.

Has Lever for Change been successful at attracting additional funding for top applicants in competitions it manages?

Lever for Change was created following the success of 100&Change, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s breakthrough $100 million competition, to address a significant social challenge anywhere in the world. In addition to the $100 million award recipient and the three $15 million awards provided to finalists, MacArthur, Lever for Change, and the organizations were able to leverage an additional $419 million from additional donors in support of top 100&Change applicants. This experience inspired the creation of the Bold Solutions Network to continue to connect philanthropists with the top solutions from competitions managed by Lever for Change. Lever for Change encourages participating organizations to actively leverage the learning and networking opportunities offered as part of the Bold Solutions Network in order to attract additional funding.

How can I best access the proposals on this site?

Each proposal profile page on the Bold Solutions Network website contains a project overview, a 90-second video, a 2-page factsheet, and a link to the organization’s website to learn more about the organization’s work. Visitors can sort by subject, location, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), or beneficiary population to view top proposal summaries in their interest area. To sort proposals based on your interests, start with the search box on the home page or the “Explore Solutions”menu item in the upper right-hand corner of each page.

Can I get more details regarding a proposal that looks promising? Are you willing to share the results of the diligence conducted?

Lever for Change is willing to share select due diligence materials or conduct deeper due diligence activities for donors who are serious about making a significant investment in a Bold Solution Network proposal. For more information, please contact Dana Rice, VP Philanthropy.

How are proposals selected to be in the Bold Solutions Network?

Proposals in the Bold Solutions Network are chosen from the top-ranked applications submitted to open competitions managed by Lever for Change. Each Lever for Change competition has unique criteria and eligibility requirements which are made publicly available after the launch of each competition. You can read more about our current and upcoming competitions on Lever for Change’s Explore Competitions webpage.

The number of top proposals selected for inclusion varies with each competition. Each proposal has been reviewed by administrative staff, by individuals with broad expertise, subject experts, and in most competitions, by peers as well. Only top-performing applicants of Lever for Change competitions are eligible to be featured in the Bold Solutions Network.

How can I get my project featured on the Bold Solutions Network and gain the benefits of participation?

In order to be featured on the Bold Solutions Network, you must apply to a Lever for Change competition and be selected as a top applicant. Sign up for updates on upcoming competitions.

Does Lever for Change endorse the proposals included in the Bold Solutions Network database?

The Bold Solutions Network includes proposals that received top ratings in competitions managed by Lever for Change. However, inclusion in the Bold Solutions Network does not represent an endorsement of an applicant or their proposal by either the MacArthur Foundation or Lever for Change.

Our project has evolved since we submitted our application. Can we update the information on the Bold Solutions Network website?

We are able to make some updates to your organizational listing, including contact information, but unfortunately, we cannot make any updates to your proposal narrative. Please send specific update requests to your organizational listing to info@leverforchange.org.

What if I don’t want my project featured on the Bold Solutions Network website?

Please contact us at info@leverforchange.org if you would like to have your proposal removed from the Bold Solutions Network.