Applying to 100&Change

We did it! We submitted an application to the historic MacArthur Foundation 100&Change competition. A huge thank you to all our advisors for your feedback, encouragement and great suggestions!

chat Posted Oct 14, 2016 by Rezwan | Category : Strategies Formalizing
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In case you haven’t heard of it, 100&Change is a MacArthur Foundation competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single project to solve a significant problem from any field or sector. They are offering this historic prize to “support solutions that are radically different in scale, scope and complexity.”

We are excited and energized by this competition and feel that this is the perfect opportunity for Footprint to Wings to take the climate change game to a new level. Our mission is to turn the “Race to Zero Carbon” into a national pastime, and this is no small feat! We could definitely use the boost of 100&change to kick it into overdrive.

So we applied! Excerpts from our application below. 

One requirement for the application was a 90 second video. Check it out! Please Like and Share. It will help advance the mission, and we truly appreciate it!

Then check out our more detailed video, Turning the “Race to Zero Carbon” into a national pastime.

Also, check out all the other amazing videos and applications to 100&Change. There are some great ideas out there!

What’s next?

The application has now moved into the Administrative Review process. If it is considered invalid, we will receive a message by the end of November letting us know. We may be considered invalid based on our lack of capacity. We’re tiny! How is our tiny organization going to turn the race to zero carbon into a national pastime? We have made a case for consideration in the application. That being said, you have the power to help us grow. Contribute to make it happen. Time, money, sharing, comments, many ways to get involved.

If not disqualified, our submission will be reviewed by the evaluation panel judges. After the review process is completed, we will receive comments and scores. They expect to announce the Semi-Finalists in mid-December. They are scoring the application on four key traits

Please feel free to comment on our application. This is just a beginning. This exercise has been valuable for putting our proposal in a logical sequence and seeing where we are strong and where we have gaps.

With or without MacArthur, we want to turn the race to zero carbon into a national pastime. If we are chosen as a semi-finalist, we need to submit a more detailed proposal. And if not, we need to develop it and make it happen in other ways and with other philanthropists. This means YOU! Everyone who contributes is a philanthropist, investing in the success of this race! 

Thank you to everyone who has, and will, pitch in. Thank you for your help, action and insight and for being a part of this adventure!

To zero carbon and beyond,
Rezwan Razani

Application Excerpts:

Executive Summary:

We are Footprint to Wings, a nonprofit organization turning the “Race to Zero Carbon” into a national pastime. Climate catastrophe is upon us. To avoid it, the human race needs to immediately and completely decarbonize the economy. Unfortunately, few know what that means, and most are too overwhelmed to even think about it. Those who do think about it don’t get far given the lack of clarity on how to “decarbonize an economy.” And so “Team Earth” is playing out the clock with token and incremental moves while “Team Doom” dances in our end zone. This won’t do. We need to switch course. We need to cut through our collective apathy and confusion, to win sustainability. To that end, we’ve created a football-inspired decarbonization framework. We’re launching and tracking the “Race to Zero Carbon” in America. We’re coaching Coaches, Players and States, play by play, to zero carbon glory.

Problem definition:

We find ourselves on a marvelous planet, floating in the emptiness of space. Seven billion people, going on ten. Now, scientists inform us that emissions from burning fossil fuels and other practices are unleashing catastrophic climate change; that all of our dreams are at risk; that it won’t be enough to stop our present emissions (get to “zero carbon”), we need to remove the excess we’ve already added to the atmosphere (go beyond zero). We need to pull together and decarbonize the entire global economy, NOW.

Faced with this crisis, does humanity roll up its sleeves and systematically tackle solutions? No. Most of us, paralyzed by fear, confusion, entitlement, guilt or denial, avoid thinking about it at all.

Those who do think about it are not free of dissonance. Take a typical sustainability summit. The keynote speaker itemizes cascading tipping points and restates the need to immediately get to zero carbon and beyond. Everyone nods. Then the summit blithely continues with the framework around “80% by 2050”, to be achieved in small increments. Attendees admit that even this compromised goal is unlikely to be achieved. Focused on increments, few have a vision of how to get all the way to zero.

Caught between doom and a fragmented framework, vague and conflicting solutions, mixed messages about the timeline, the goal, and our ability to achieve it, people shut off. We need everyone switched on. We need clarity, inspiration and a framework that unleashes everyone’s innate ability to beat this crisis.

Our proposed Solution:

Our solution to this crisis is to launch, formalize and track the “Race to be the First Net Zero Carbon State.” The parameters are: The first US State to achieve a net zero carbon economy, with the best quality of life, wins. At present, New York is in the lead with about 8 metric tons per person-year. Wyoming is last with 112.

Prizes add kick to the race, but the real power comes from our comprehensive game design. We have developed a detailed framework for delineating, coaching, officiating and scoring this contest. In the face of climate doom, our framework gives people the space and guidance to systematically process their options (and emotions); to dive into the nitty-gritty; to collaboratively discover, analyze and execute their preferred solutions; to debate, decide and do.

Some say “games” trivialize. But the problem is people are overwhelmed and anesthetized. When Bill McKibben calls for a “War on Climate Change,” inertia deepens the trenches. Despair, denial double down. We need to deploy strategic levity.

A “game” is “an activity, governed by rules and metrics, ending in a definite result.” We expect this game to to blast away apathy and confusion; to activate the enthusiasm and talent of a critical mass of citizens; to turn decarbonization into a national pastime; and to rapidly get our country to switch to a zero carbon economy, once and for all. Finally, we hope this process kicks off a global race.


Turning the Race to Zero Carbon into a national pastime
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