from Julien Devereux, ManKind Project USA Chairman
Here is a bold accomplishment for the ManKind Project USA to celebrate as we approach the new year. I am proud and grateful to have been a part of this endeavor, and count it as one of the highlights of my Chairmanship.
100&Change is a MacArthur Foundation competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that will make measurable progress toward solving a significant problem. 100&Change will select a bold proposal that promises real progress toward solving a critical problem of our time. And it will award a $100 million grant to help make that solution a reality.
MKP USA made a decision to apply for this grant and submitted our proposal on September 30, 2016.
The heart of our proposal is the ManKind Project is here to transform masculinity and transform society, by doing what we have been doing for over 30 years. With the help of this grant, we would be able to robustly fund what we do, professionally evaluate what we have been doing, revise and refine what works, and replicate it on a much larger scale. This is the short version of our proposal.
Last week we received notice that our proposal had passed the Administrative Review. An update was posted by The MacArthur Foundation on their website that gave us a breakdown of why 1104 proposals were eliminated. Ours, one of 800, is still eligible as a semi-finalist, finalist and winner of the $100 million.
From the MacArthur update:
“In the end, we had 800 valid applications, and those rejected tended to fall into a number of categories or have similar problems, the top five of which were:
· Too small in scale (463). We received a surprising number of proposals for projects with budgets well below $100 million. The aspiration of 100&Change is to address problems and support solutions that are radically different in scale, scope, and complexity than what foundations typically fund. We are looking for $100 million projects.
· Too early in project timeline (121). Although we emphasized in our call that we sought projects with a strong base of existing evidence, we received many blue sky research and development proposals or for proposals to run pilot studies. For these, strong evidence that the proposed solution will address the identified problem was lacking, often because projects were at an early stage in their development or evolution.
· Weak evidence of effectiveness (92). Others were not R&D projects as such, but offered no strong evidence that proposed solutions will address the problem identified. We expected to see one or more of the following types of evidence cited in applications: data or findings from external evaluation of a pilot project or experimental study, citations to peer-reviewed research indicated a strong scientific consensus, a strong logic model, and documentation of a detailed pathway from the proposed actions to specific outcomes.
· Problems with financials (89). The application required three years of audited financial statements in English or a letter of explanation signed by the chief financial officer of the lead applicant. For some applications, the financials were inaccessible, not in English, or unaudited with no explanation provided.
· Private benefit (66). 100&Change funds must be used solely for charitable purposes and not result in more than incidental private benefit to other people, organizations, or entity that is a necessary byproduct of the accomplishment of the charitable purpose. From the information in the application, it appears that the private benefit is more than incidental.”
As Chair of MKP USA, I want to specifically thank Joseph Losi and Denise Rhiner for calling our attention to the grant and helping us prepare and evaluate it. Joseph Losi has just accepted Jon Levitt’s invitation to the be the Grants Team Lead going forward a we hope to work with them again in the future. Jon Levitt, Lead Link of Organizational Development for supporting the team, Alex Morrison who helped research, write and lead the team in spite of moving to a new home and job, Dave Roelant and Jim Hollohan who participated in several rounds of strategy, writing, and editing, and Boysen Hodgson who did much of the final draft writing, was our spokesperson, and who scripted and art directed our 90 second video. Thanks to the video team at Potluck Productions: Chris Thomas & Dan Damman for their excellent vision and production work. Special thanks to Ashanti Branch who also served as our spokesperson with such a beautiful and succinct message.
I see what we wrote into this grant as our bigger story and what we have to offer the world. The exercise of thinking it through, saying it out loud, and sharing it as a written document with the world, is an evolutionary step.
The next time I stand in the circle on Sunday morning and face out into the world, my heart has a deeper knowing of the profound gifts we have to share with the world.
I hope you share my hope and gratitude.
MKP USA Chairman