Challenge Format

There will be two categories for the competition: public and private institutions. From the applicant pool, three finalists per category will be invited to participate in-person on Challenge Day (for a total of six finalists).

Each category will have one first place winner; each first place winner will receive a $30,000 prize.

Challenge Day attendees will select the “Audience Choice” winner, who will receive an additional prize of $10,000. 

Given the tremendous engagement from community colleges from a specific region, a separate, regional competition will be held for community colleges in that area to compete for the $30,000 community college prize. More details about how the community college prize will be selected will be announced at the 2016 Challenge Day on April 12th.

The finalist participants will receive support between the time of the finalist announcement and the Challenge Day, including conference calls and 1:1 guidance.

On Challenge Day, each finalist will be have the opportunity to make a 5 minute pitch to the judges, and answer approximately 10 minutes of questions from the judges. Judges will have seen the application submissions in advance.

Media outlets will be invited to cover the Challenge Day, and we anticipate that the three winning teams per category will have an opportunity for public-facing interviews. Additionally, funders beyond the announced prize money will be invited to attend the competition and may choose to follow up with pitches they found interesting (regardless of whether or not they won). Finally, there will be time for all participants and attendees to network with each other which has the potential to lead to partnership opportunities outside the prizes.

Challenge Judges and Hosts

John Bridgeland - CEO of Civic Enterprises, Former Director White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush, Member White House Council for Community Solutions under President Obama, and Co-Chair Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute

Bill Basl - AmeriCorps Director, Corporation for National & Community Service

Shirley Sagawa - President and CEO, Service Year Alliance

Dr. Andrew Seligsohn - President of Campus Compact

Holly Zanville - Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation

Challenge Requirements and Preferences

These are requirements for selection as finalists to participate in Challenge judging round:   

  • Program plan must include the creation of service year positions integrated into the learning experience of your institution

  • Program must offer course credit to undergraduate students or graduate students

  • Meets the Service Year Exchange Certification Criteria: minimum of 20 hours/week of service; at least 9 months in duration; inclusion of a living stipend; reliable supervisory oversight of students doing service work (see application page for further details). Challenge finalists will need to verify in greater detail that program meets criteria if selected

  • Describe an ongoing, perpetuated service year model (not a one-time event) that is funded by the institution or otherwise supported beyond the initial seed money from the Challenge

  • Demonstrate executive and/or administration support

  • Describe a program that could be adapted as a model for use at other higher education institutions

These are additional preferences that will be considered in judging plans:

  • Intend to launch program by Fall 2017

  • At least five service year positions created for the school year

  • Partnerships models (i.e. high school and college together, consortium of higher education institutions, higher education institution working in partnership with a nonprofit or public agency) encouraged

Note: Even if your submission is not selected as a finalist or winner, your program model outlined in the Application may be published and shared as an example for other higher education institutions and potential funders to review.

Challenge Timeline

Challenge Day Schedule (tentative - exact times may change)