'Big idea challenge' offers rewards for innovative solutions

Part crowd-sourcing, part-buzz-generating and all focused on civic progress and innovation, the Greater Cincinnati's Foundation's freshly launched "The Big Idea Challenge" guarantees funding for big ideas with community support and the potential for high impact.

Envisioned as a way to engage the broader community in problem-solving and program development, the Challenge offers a public platform for anyone with an idea that could make the city a more vibrant and healthy place. Online submissions answering the question, "What's your Big Idea for a more prosperous Greater Cincinnati?" will be accepted from June 3 through July 29. In August, the field will be narrowed to 21 finalists; in September, public voting will determine the winners in each of seven categories.

"This is a groundbreaking way for one of the largest funders in our region to connect with the entire community," says Elizabeth Edwards, CEO of Metro Innovation and founder of Cincinnati Innovates. Her web platform, CrowdSpark, which hosts the Challenge. She's also part of the Big Idea Brain Trust, local thought-leaders who helped shape and refine the project with Greater Cincinnati Foundation leaders.

GCF is looking for ideas that will impact Cincinnati in one or more of seven categories:
• Strong Communities
• Cultural Vibrancy
• Job Creation
• Environmental Stewardship
• Educational Success
• Health & Wellness
• Economic Opportunity

The application process is streamlined — applicants, aged 18 and up, need only submit their contact information, a title, a 140-character description (great for Twitter) and a 2,000-character detailed description. Applicants whose ideas are chosen as winners will receive cash prizes; then, GCF will award $5,000 grants to area non-profits with the capacity to implement the winning "Big Ideas." One overall "Big Idea" will add a $50,000 grant to a complementary non-profit's coffers to "kickstart" the implementation of the idea.

By Elissa Yancey
Follow Elissa on Twitter

Signup for Email Alerts