Solving World Problems With $100M: MacArthur Foundation Selects Finalists For 100&Change Project

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By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- What would you do if you had $100 million to try to solve one of the big problems in the world? A Chicago foundation has narrowed down its list of candidates to win such a prize.

"They are just six incredible projects," said Cecilia Conrad, Managing Director of the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change Project.  

About 750 organizations originally applied for the $100 million grant and now the six finalists have been picked.

They include Project ECHO, which focuses on health care delivery; Pristine Seas from National Geographic; Community Solutions, which is trying to end homelessness; Report for America, which is trying to address the problem of declining local news coverage in some portions of the United States; the World Mosquito Program, which wants to take on prevention of mosquito-borne diseases; and, the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, which wants to bring oxygen therapy to children worldwide.

"It’s exciting. We’ve been having each of the teams give us a presentation. We fall in love with each one. So we laugh, because after each one, 'Oh, now that’s my favorite, oh no, now that’s my favorite'," Conrad said.

Conrad said so many of the 100 final candidates are worthy of being funded. After a winner is picked next year, she intends to try to find funding for many other projects.

The 2016 winner of the 100&Change was Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee for early childhood intervention in the Syrian refugee region.