2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge Winner: LIFT-Chicago

By LIFT on August 16, 2017

Categories: Financial Strength, News, Our Work


How might we address urgent global challenges at the intersections of peace, prosperity, and planet in radically new ways?

Answering that question was a task LIFT-Chicago took on as a competitor in The BridgeBuilder Challenge. The inaugural competition launched by the GHR Foundation and OpenIDEO gives global organizations the chance to be considered for a share of $1 million by submitting an idea that can impact the entire world. Luckily, the idea proposed by the LIFT-Chicago team resonated and we are thrilled to announce LIFT-Chicago as a winner of the BridgeBuilder Challenge! Their idea to launch a community ambassador program and further the mission to lift up families in Chicago’s South Side was chosen among four other winners and a total of 660 submissions from over 185 countries. Take a look at the full list of the BridgeBuilder Challenge winners:

Peace Direct: This organization works with local organizations worldwide to stop violence and build sustainable peace. Their initiative, based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will support war affected people in Eastern DR Congo to produce more environmentally friendly & ethical gold as a way of consolidating peace, protecting the environment and generating sustainable income.

BioCarbon Engineering: Bridging together innovative technology and big data, this organization’s winning idea is to use drones to rapidly regrow forests of vulnerable Myanmar coastlines. Their aim is to save lives with increasing fish stock and reducing the impact of climate change.

Local Youth Corner Cameroon: This youth-led NGO is focused on promoting youth empowerment and peace. Their idea is to prevent and counter youth involvement in violent extremism through peacebuilding and empowering violent offenders with leadership, vocational and entrepreneurial skills.

LIFT-Chicago: At LIFT, empowering families begins by implementing a two-generation system. While coaches work with parents to build strong foundations for improving family outcomes, early childhood education partners lift up children by providing opportunities to learn and grow. LIFT-Chicago’s winning idea is to implement a Community Ambassador program to engage parents in their communities and impact family stability.

NaTakallam: NaTakallam meaning “we speak” in Arabic, gathers Arabic learners and refugees for online language practice. Their winning idea connects displaced individuals (primarily Syrians) with Arabic learners for online language practice, giving the former access to an income while fostering intercultural understanding.

The BridgeBuilder Challenge is a unique competition experience allowing ideas to be submitted and considered publically. Through a multi-phase process consisting of idea proposal, feedback and improvement, participants engage with others, offer insight to their ideas and even make connections that can move their ideas further along. According to GHR Foundation CEO Amy Goldman “Our hope is that this challenge helps organizations around the world develop new ideas, learn from diverse perspectives and solve problems together.”

By leveraging the power of technology, data, community and sustainability the winners of this year’s BridgeBuilder Challenge illustrate the spectrum of inequality across the globe and provide innovative solutions to addressing those issues. In addition to being awarded a share of $1 million with four other winning ideas, LIFT-Chicago will also receive ongoing mentorship and support to continue empowering Chicago families. While they will continue to implement the ongoing career and financial coaching programs, launching the Community Ambassador program will give LIFT-Chicago families the opportunity to match with community organizing groups and build upon their family stability to create peaceful, prosperous communities.

To see more of LIFT-Chicago’s BridgeBuilder Challenge idea, visit the OpenIDEO website.