Equality fund backed by Melinda French Gates, MacKenzie Scott selects four $10 million winners

This article first appeared in Bizwomen. Read the original there.

The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, a competition backed by Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott that’s centered on funding projects that further gender equality in the United States, has announced four groups that will be awarded a total of $40 million.

The competition, which was created to accelerate the pace of progress toward gender equality in America, was hosted by Pivotal Ventures, French Gates’ investment and incubation company, with additional support from Mackenzie Scott and Dan Jewett as well as the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. It was managed by Lever for Change.

The four $10 million awardees are:

  • Building Women’s Equality through Strengthening the Care Infrastructure, a cross-movement coalition of organizations working to transform attitudes around caregiving as unpaid work and to establish a publicly supported care infrastructure
  • Ada Developers Academy’s Changing the Face of Tech, which will expand their immersive training and internship program to create career pathways for women and gender expansive people in software development careers
  • Girls Inc.’s Project Accelerate, which will supports young women through college and career entry
  • The Future is Indigenous Womxn, a project to support and scale businesses owned by Native women

Two additional finalists were awarded $4 million each in supplemental funding:

  • FreeFrom’s A Call to Action: Holding Society Accountable for Intimate Partner Violence, which supports creating an ecosystem of long-term services and public policies to support survivors of intimate partner violence
  • Ignites’s Training Next Gen Women to Flex Their Political Power, which will dramatically scale its impact-driven programs to train young women to flex their political power as voters, activists, policymakers, commissioners, and candidates.

Each of 10 finalists received $100,000 in planning grants and worked closely with a dynamic group of technical experts to strengthen, revise, and re-submit their proposed solutions.

In addition to the four $10 million and two $4 million awardees, the other four groups selected as finalists were:

  • Building Power Among Grassroots Social Justice Feminist Leaders: Family Values @ Work, which offers leadership development programs that help caregivers
  • Equality Starts Here: Advancing Black Women’s Rights in the South: The Equality Starts Here Collective, comprising of Oxfam America, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Black Women’s Roundtable, Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, and A Better Balance, will work to increase the power and influence of Black women in the South using advocacy, rights training, policy reform, and research
  • Last Mile Education Fund: Investing in Degree Attainment for Technical Women: Last Mile facilitates degree attainment for low-income women in high-demand sectors of technology and engineering, increasing both women’s earning power and contributions to technology innovation.
  • The 19th*: News That Represents: The 19th*, which works to transform the media landscape by giving marginalized women and LGBTQ+ people the news and community they need to equally participate in our democracy.

The challenge received more than 550 proposals, which were evaluated over three months by peers and an expert panel Evaluations were based on four criteria: whether the proposals were transformative, innovative, equitable, and feasible.