Humphrey School News—September 7, 2016

Professor Samuel Myers, Jr., to Help Select Winner of $100 Million Award to Solve a Critical Social Problem

New 100&Change competition hosted by MacArthur Foundation

Humphrey School of Public Affairs Professor Samuel Myers, Jr., will help judge a new competition to award $100 million to a single proposal designed to help solve a critical problem affecting people, places, or the planet. The competition, called 100&Change and hosted by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is open to organizations working in any field, anywhere in the world.

“This is a groundbreaking competition, and it is a tremendous honor to be selected as a judge,” said Myers, who directs the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice at the Humphrey School. “What sets this competition apart, aside from the very large award, is the level of transparency in the process. The names of judges are public, our evaluation methodology will be available to the public, and we will share our specific analysis of submissions with each applicant.”

As a judge for 100&Change, Myers will evaluate valid proposals randomly assigned to him according to a strict set of criteria designed to favor proposals that maximize measurable impact in their chosen areas. More information about the judges and their evaluation methodology will be shared publicly via the competition website,

Professor Myers specializes in the impacts of social policies on low-income communities. He is a pioneer in the use of applied econometric techniques to examine such issues as racial disparities in crime, illegal discrimination in credit markets, and the impacts of welfare on family stability, among others. He is a national authority on the methodology of conducting disparity studies and has served as an expert witness in groundbreaking federal cases.

“Dr. Myers is renowned for his own research and work in addressing some of society’s most critical social problems, so it seems fitting that the MacArthur Foundation has tapped him for this,” said Humphrey School Dean Eric Schwartz. “With his expertise he will make an invaluable contribution to helping identify real, viable solutions to complex problems.”

The MacArthur Foundation has announced that it will make a $100 million grant through 100&Change every three years. It will accept applications from across the United States and around the world. Nonprofit and for-profit organizations can apply, subject to eligibility rules.

“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 leading the competition. “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.”

The judging process includes several stages. Proposals will be accepted through October 3, 2016 and semi-finalists will be announced in December. After receiving assistance from an expert team to identify and address questions about technical and organizational capacity required to implement each proposed solution, semi-finalists will be required to show significant, authentic engagement with affected communities. Next summer, MacArthur’s board of directors will select finalists, who will present their solutions during a live event in the fall of 2017. The wining $100 million grant recipient will be announced late next year. 



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