What is The Audacious Project?
The Audacious Project is an initiative that shows what humanity can accomplish when bold ideas meet visionary, generous supporters. Now in its second year, The Audacious Project invites visionary social entrepreneurs and nonprofits to dream big — and helps to shape those dreams into multi-year plans that are both viable and sustainable. The project then invites its coalition of partners — which includes leading nonprofits and individual donors, along with the public — to pool their resources and work together in service of these ambitious ideas. The goal is to amplify the impact of the world’s change-makers and change-funders, and move forward ideas with the potential to impact lives at thrilling scale. The Audacious Project is housed at TED, the nonprofit dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” It operates with support from The Bridgespan Group, a leading global social impact advisory firm. Additionally, a remarkable group of organizations and individuals have joined with us to make this possible. Please see a full list on our About page.
How does The Audacious Project differ from existing philanthropic endeavors?
The Audacious Project attempts to address a major frustration faced by the world’s change-makers. Without access to venture capital or stock markets, social entrepreneurs have to pitch donors one-by-one, a very inefficient process that can detract from the work itself. The Audacious Project invites change-makers to dream bigger and bolder, and works with them to shape their wildest ideas into viable multi-year plans that are ready for action. The Audacious Project presents these ideas to groups of donors and shares them at the annual TED Conference, inspiring supporters to come together and make them a reality. By removing the barriers associated with funding and exposure, The Audacious Project lets social entrepreneurs take on the world’s biggest and most urgent challenges in the way only they know how.
What has the impact been so far?
The impact from The Audacious Project’s first group of ideas had been thrilling to watch unfold. From the thousands of people in the US at home awaiting trial with their families — instead of in jail cells — because of The Bail Project’s fast roll-out, to the million smallholder farmers making a better living through the One Acre Fund’s increased capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa, people in countries around the world are already feeling the positive ripples. See each project’s Big Idea page for the latest news.
Are there specific issue areas The Audacious Project focuses on?
The big ideas that are part of The Audacious Project vary widely — from global health to ocean exploration to social justice to education. We are currently considering all issue areas, and welcome your thoughts on the pressing problems we should be addressing.
How much has been raised for these ideas?
So far, more than $750 million has been committed to big ideas through The Audacious Project. The amount each grantee receives varies widely, depending on the cost and scope of their plan, as a detailed, multi-year budget is a key part of each project proposal. While the funding numbers for The Audacious Project ideas may initially sound high, each amount is situated within a far greater need. The funding received through The Audacious Project is intended to be catalytic — to help change-makers take concrete, actionable steps at a critical moment and leverage all that comes with greater visibility — but it is in no way all that’s required. That’s why we also seek to build a vibrant support community around each idea with the ingenuity, energy and influence to make these visions a reality over the long-term.
How can I support an Audacious idea?
There are multiple ways to support an idea that intrigues you. You can join a project’s support community by signing up for updates — you’ll receive a regular newsletter that includes action steps you can take to advance the mission. It might sound small, but sharing the idea is actually an incredibly powerful thing to do. Tell your friends, family and colleagues why this issue matters to you, and the potential you see in this solution. On each Big Idea page, you’ll see social media sharing icons. Use them and power the idea forward. And new for our 2019 ideas, you are also able to make donations. Take advantage of our purple ‘donate’ buttons on each Big Idea page, or head to the organization’s website to find out about monthly giving.
Can I donate to these ideas?
Beginning with the 2019 class, you can provide financial support to help almost every project reach its goals. A direct donation option is available on each Big Idea page. We’ve suggested a donation amount that would be impactful — but give what you feel compelled to, whether that’s $5 or $500. The Audacious Project is about generosity, and inspiring each other to come together and give more toward the ideas we want to see in the world.
How can I donate resources to a project leader?
For financial resources, most 2019 Big Idea page includes a “donate” option. For other resources — perhaps access to a tech tool your company has created or office space in a location where a specific project operates — please email email@example.com with a subject line that makes clear the resource you have to offer and the project you would to receive it. We can help facilitate connections when appropriate.
How can I find volunteer opportunities with a grantee organization?
Sign up for the organization’s newsletter on their Big Idea page by entering your email address and clicking “Get Updates.” These project champion newsletters will include opportunities to contribute to the project and advance their mission.
How can I follow the progress of these projects?
We provide updates on each Big Ideas page. But if a project intrigues you, we also recommend following them on social media. Each of our projects has fascinating feeds on Facebook and Twitter, and often Instagram and LinkedIn, that will keep you in the know on a daily basis.
What kind of ideas will be considered for The Audacious Project?
The Audacious Project looks for timely ideas that are that magic combination of deeply inspiring and convincingly credible. That means ensuring your idea balances the ability to change the way people look at an issue, with a deliverable plan that will make that vision come to life. The emotional appeal and personal connection should be met with a logical approach and a track record of your teams' relevant successes. For a complete list of our criteria, visit our Apply page.
Who can apply?
Individuals, ages 18 and up, may apply on behalf of themselves, a nonprofit, NGO, institution or collaboration between multiple entities. Before applying, we encourage you to read the criteria found on our Apply page.
How do I apply?
Given the volume of powerful ideas we received after the launch of The Audacious Project in 2018, we are shifting to a rolling process for identifying and vetting organizations in 2019. We will revisit some of the most promising ideas in our existing pool to see how they are progressing, while also searching for new ideas too. If your organization meets the criteria and you believe you have an idea that’s a fit for The Audacious Project, we encourage you to complete a brief survey. You can find that survey, and learn more about what to expect with this process, on our Apply page.
Can I nominate someone else?
We only accept applications from the organizations and individuals to whom the bold idea belongs. However, you are welcome to send us your suggestions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to steer your nominee to our Apply page.
Can the same organization submit multiple idea?
Yes, organizations may submit more than one application. Each of these applications must represent a different idea and be guided by a different project leader.
Can two or more organizations collaborate on a single idea?
Yes, absolutely — one of our most powerful ideas in 2018 came from two separate, yet mutually supportive organizations: Last Mile Health and Living Goods. We encourage teaming up with like-minded organizations for increased impact.
Will I be able to make adjustments to the survey after I have submitted it?
At this time, our system does not allow for changes. Please review your form before clicking the submit button.
In which languages do you accept ideas?
Applications may be completed in any language for which online translations are easily accessible. However, should the idea advance, conversations with project leaders will need to be conducted in English. Additionally, the TED Talks delivered by grantees will also need to be given in English.
How are grantees selected?
All applications are reviewed by staff at TED and our partner organization The Bridgespan Group. The most promising applications are chosen as semi-finalists and undergo extensive research and vetting by our teams. Semi-finalists then participate in an ideation workshop to further refine their ideas. After reviewing their revised proposals, and with input from donors, grantees are chosen and unveiled at the TED Conference.
When are grantees announced?
The grantees’ initiatives are unveiled at the annual TED Conference. Come join us as these ideas are revealed — this session is live-streamed to the world for free on the AudaciousProject.org homepage.
Is there a budget range that Audacious ideas need to fall within? Are there any restrictions?
There are no restrictions on the project funding requests. Funding varies widely, depending on the needs, requirements and possibility of each project. Each budget must be realistic and align with the project activities and proposed timeline.
Who are the funders?
Financial commitments come from both the public and a pool of well-resourced donors. A list of our philanthropic partners who have provided resources, can be found on our About page.
Does TED provide funding for the projects?
While The Audacious Project is housed at TED, TED itself does not provide funding for grantees. TED’s role is one of curation, ideation and community development. Some of our collaborative philanthropic partners — including the Skoll Foundation, Virgin Unite, ELMA Philanthropies, and many more — pool their resources to provide long-term financial support.
I have a question that wasn’t addressed here. What should I do?
Send an email to email@example.com! We are happy to answer your questions.