$1 Million Prize

A new competition aims to give substantial aid to design-based agencies that are improving cities

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(Courtesy  Unreasonable Media / Vimeo)
(Courtesy Unreasonable Media / Vimeo)

The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with the Unreasonable Institute, has unveiled a $1 million competition that seeks design-based agencies and entrepreneurs who are tackling the diverse challenges facing cities today. According to its organizers, Future Cities Accelerator hopes to address “everything from crime to inequality, to pollution, and aging infrastructure” with the objective of providing a “solution that will impact at least 1 million people and provide lasting change.”

The Rockefeller Foundation has developed a strong pedigree in resiliency, as notably seen with their 100 Resilient Cities initiative. For this competition, both “building greater resilience” and creating “more inclusive economies” will play a central role. In April this year, they joined forces with Unreasonable Institute, an organization that provides mentoring and funds for start-ups. As its name suggests, the accelerator is looking for “early-stage” organizations (for-profit or non-profit) to boost and improve.

(Courtesy Unreasonable Media / VImeo)

(Courtesy Unreasonable Media / Vimeo)

The registration process—which closes on September 25, 2016—will ask organizations questions about their revenue, spending, stakeholders, and ambitions. The process also requires that entrants supply a short video detailing who they are and what they want to achieve.

From this, a select group will be chosen for interviews and site visits. Once complete, ten winners will be announced. The winners will each receive $100,000 funding and a nine-month program of mentoring and technological support. In addition to this, the ten chosen organizations will participate in a six week online course starting in January 2017. Later, in March, they will take part in a “five-day in-person bootcamp” in Denver, Colorado (all expenses paid). In October, the organizations will be flown to San Francisco, California, where they’ll present at and participate in the Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) conference, a gathering of thousands of funders and entrepreneurs in the impact sector.

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