Additional $10M Award for Organizations to Win Through the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge
A woman holds her young daughter who leapt into her mother's arms

Additional $10M Award for Organizations to Win Through the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge

Today, Pivotal Ventures announced an additional $10 million for the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, thanks to support from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The Challenge will now award at least three grants of a minimum of $10 million, with an additional $10 million to be allocated among finalists and determined at the award decision stage, bringing the total to $40 million for bold solutions to advance gender equality in the United States.

In June, Pivotal Ventures, Melinda Gates’ investment and incubation company, with additional support from MacKenzie Scott, launched the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, a competition to fund the organizations or coalitions of organizations with the most compelling ideas to help expand women’s power and influence in the United States by 2030. The Challenge is being managed by Lever for Change.

“A century after women won the right to vote, we are still fighting for equal rights, for autonomy over our bodies, for economic opportunity and for political power,” said Stacy Schusterman, Chair, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “Gender and racial inequities have long persisted in the U.S.—and the pandemic has only further exposed and exacerbated them. I am proud to join Melinda Gates and MacKenzie Scott in the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge and to support innovative new approaches for making progress faster and for lifting up new voices and ideas, particularly voices of women of color.”

“At this defining moment for America, we must mobilize bold ideas and bright minds on behalf of equality,” said Melinda Gates. “If we want to make progress for women, especially women of color, we need to invest real resources in the advocates and solutions that will drive change. I’m grateful to the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation for joining the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, so we can increase its impact and support additional projects to help move us toward a more equitable future.”

The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge is open to U.S.-based nonprofit organizations or coalitions of organizations with big, bold ideas to help accelerate the progress for women in the United States by expanding their power and influence. This means we want more women, especially women of color, in positions to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives in their homes, workplaces, and communities.

Applicants must register for the Challenge by September 1, and complete their applications by September 22 at 5pm PT.

Tips on Completing the Application

The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge is designed to be an open, fair, and transparent process. Here are a few ways to get the most from the application process.
  1. Applicants can check the Challenge website to join or watch informational webinars with Lever For Change to get questions answered on technical and process issues, eligibility, programmatic response, and more or email questions@equalitycantwaitchallenge.org, directly.
  2. Take advantage of the resources and tools available on the equalitycantwaitchallenge.org. For instance, applicants can utilize the organizational readiness tool to determine in six simple questions whether their project is eligible or checkout the scoring rubric to see how their proposal adequately hits on each category the Challenge addresses.
  3. For the video portion of the application, focus on strong content, not strong production value. The video component of the application provides a new format for applicants to tell their story and make their case in a crisp, compelling way. Lever for Change provides additional information about applicant videos here, including examples and directions for closed captioning. Closed captioning is required to ensure the videos are accessible for all reviewers.
  4. Finally, applicants can explore the following low-cost or no-cost resources to help with writing the proposal and copy edits.

    • Catchafire matches skilled volunteers with nonprofits that need help completing short-term projects. Projects could include help with copy-editing, reviewing proposal content, and editing videos. Organizations pay a monthly membership fee, but qualified nonprofits can access the membership for free.
    • Taproot is a similar volunteer-matching service for nonprofits. Organizations can post projects or request virtual one-on-one brainstorming sessions with experts, completely free of charge. Taproot also provides a resource list of pro bono legal services, data firms, and more.
    • Candid Learning offers free webinars on proposal writing, examples of successful proposals and budgets, and a Collaboration Hub that features vetted descriptions of collaborations and lessons learned.

At any point applicants are welcome to send questions about the application or any aspect of the process to questions@equalitycantwaitchallenge.org. The team at Lever for Change will respond within three days to any inquiry.

For more on the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, visit www.equalitycantwaitchallenge.org.