Today, six out of ten Americans will experience financial insecurity in their lifetimes1. While saving money can be a challenge for a variety of reasons, the inability to build a strong financial foundation is often a symptom of a greater, systemic problem. Now, BNY Mellon and Ashoka are launching a collaborative effort aimed at addressing the root causes of financial inequality through innovation—the Unlocking ¢hange Challenge.
Unlocking ¢hange: Innovations for Financial Wellbeing, Resilience and Freedom is a nation-wide competition to seek and support leading social entrepreneurs and innovators across the United States. Individuals can submit their ventures to the challenge until June 13, 2018 for review and peer feedback. The entries most likely to receive awards from BNY Mellon and Ashoka will be original, ground-breaking ideas, demonstrate impact in expanding financial wellbeing to underserved communities and have sustainable models that mobilize resources such as funding, financing, teams, partnerships or support networks.
“Our company is driven by innovation and our approach to philanthropy is no different,” said Daisey Holmes, BNY Mellon Managing Director of Global Philanthropy. “To catalyze social innovation, BNY Mellon lends its resources to accelerate solutions that address some of our society's greatest needs."
BNY Mellon and Ashoka know that transforming society requires a holistic understanding of financial wellbeing—one that includes employment, education, health, human behavior, social currency, gender and race, among other factors. Innovators embedded in communities across the United States, with ideas big and small, have compelling, community-driven solutions that ensure financial wellbeing at an individual, community and societal level. With access to funding, support and networks, these solutions can be scaled to create even broader impact across the country.
"Financial wellbeing is critical to unlocking the potential of emerging changemakers across the country," said Diana Wells, President of Ashoka. "We are grateful for the partnership with BNY Mellon and look forward to seeing the innovations this competition inspires."
Solutions are needed now more than ever. According to the US Census Bureau’s 2013 report, there are over 10 million American families with a full-time worker still living in poverty. And according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, racial disparities in the accumulation of wealth are a persistent, increasing problem2.
If you have an idea we want to hear from you. Submit your venture by June 13, 2018 for a chance to scale your impact and help others to create strong financial futures.
If you want to nominate a financial wellbeing innovator, please email Marc Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Unlocking ¢hange Challenge, a collaboration between BNY Mellon and Ashoka, will support the most promising social entrepreneurs and their ventures with funding, a collaborative digital platform to connect with peers and feedback from a team of BNY Mellon and Ashoka thought leaders. Explore the full suite of Unlocking ¢hange Challenge awards. Champions of the challenge will be announced to the public on September 29, 2018.
Follow along and join the conversation online with #unlockingchange and #financialwellbeing.
Though BNY Mellon employees may participate by nominating and coaching social innovators, they are not eligible to enter the contest. See the full list of contest rules for details.
1 The Financial Clinic, https://thefinancialclinic.org/
2 The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, September 27, 2017, https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/recent-trends-in-wealth-holding-by-race-and-ethnicity-evidence-from-the-survey-of-consumer-finances-20170927.htm