Philanthropic Challenge on Economy & Finance

Have an Idea to Jumpstart the Economy?

Earn up to $40,000 for your next project. Apply by April 9th!

The economy and finance programming at the 2015 Annual Meeting will culminate in an exciting final session, the inaugural Philanthropic Challenge on Economy and Finance. By drawing new ideas in an open process, the Challenge will support creativity, openness, and innovation in philanthropy. It will provide an opportunity for foundation and nonprofit leaders to learn from each other, facilitating peer-to-peer learning. Many nonprofits and grantmakers have ideas for improving the economy, and this Challenge will help turn those ideas into reality.

About the Contest:

We are inviting applicants to share how they want to build their economies at a local or national level. A group of judges from around the field will select three finalists from the initial submissions. Those finalists will receive one on one coaching on pitching their ideas. This coaching will be provided by the Entrepreneurs Foundation of New Hampshire, an initiative of the NH Charitable Foundation which has several years of experience supporting entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality. These three finalists will be invited to present their ideas to funders at the Council's Annual Meeting. 

For one hour at the Council’s conference, philanthropic entrepreneurs will present their ideas for jumpstarting the economy to their peers. A panel of some of the most innovative leaders in the charitable sector will ask them questions about the project’s feasibility and efficacy. During this session, the panel will help applicants refine their ideas. At the end of the hour, the audience will select the proposal that they believe will have the most positive impact on the economy. The presenter whose idea receives the most votes will receive $40,000 to help turn his or her idea into reality. The runner-up will receive $10,000.


  • Whoever receives the highest number of votes from the audience will receive a $40,000 award for their 501(c)3 organization.
  • One runner-up will receive $10,000 for their organization.

Eligibility & Type of Submission

The Philanthropic Challenge on Economy and Finance is open to any 501(c)3 with a good idea. The online application is short (just 2 pages) and must be submitted by April 9th. Finalists are highly encouraged to present their proposal in person at the 2015 Annual Meeting to the panel of experts. Finalists, however, may also choose to submit a video in lieu of an in-person presentation. 

The scale of today’s economic and financial challenges is vast, so applicants should feel free to submit any ideas that they think will help create sustainable growth. We want you to be creative, so we won’t be restrictive!


Proposals will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Expertise – Reflects subject matter expertise and evidence-based practice; leverages existing resources; has a clear understanding of existing landscape
  • Replicability – Will inform the field and increase the body of knowledge for economy and finance grant making
  • Measurable Progress – Clearly explains how progress might be measured, along with milestones
  • Feasibility – Directed toward achievable goals, that are commensurate with proposed resources and timeline
  • Collaboration – Demonstrate interest in partnering with others to increase efficacy
  • Sustainability – Has a long-term impact that is self-generating

Official Contest Rules

Please review the official contest guideline rules before submitting a project idea.


Applications close April 9, 2015 at 11:59pm EST.

For any questions, please contact Natasha Ahmed.

Apply Now! >>

The Philanthropic Challenge is a Joint Project Supported By: