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A Year in Review and a Look Forward to 2020

From all of us at MIT Solve, I want to wish you happy holidays as we near the end of 2019.

MIT’s mission is “ serve the nation and the world in the 21st century...bringing...knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges.” Solve plays a role in this mission as a marketplace for social impact innovation: we find the most promising social entrepreneurs around the world and connect them to the resources they need to accelerate their growth.

Before we look ahead to the new year and the next decade, I am delighted to share that in 2019, Solve:

  • Brokered 85 partnerships between Solver teams and Members—providing a range of grants, investments, and resources worth a total of $4.1 million;
  • Selected 32 Solver teams for our 2019 Solver Class out of nearly 1,400 applications from over 100 countries, with over $1.5 million in prize funding thanks to our partners;
  • Hosted 40+ events, including Solve at MIT and Solve Challenge Finals, as well as workshops with Members around the world, from the Arctic Circle to Ethiopia and Australia; and
  • Launched Solve Innovation Future, our philanthropic investment donor-advised fund vehicle during Solve at MIT (read more in our article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review).

Below are two examples of partnerships that Solve brokered in 2019:

Solver OneSky Caregiver Training brings early-childhood education to Vietnam’s factory communities by training local women as professional childcare workers and providing nurturing care for vulnerable children (read about them in Quartz). After being selected as a Solver in September, OneSky received the Innovation for Women Prize from our partner Vodafone Americas Foundation, which will provide grant funding and support to accelerate its work.

We also recognize that impactful partnerships can take time to develop. For example, Code Nation was selected as a Solver in 2017 for its innovative approach to tech education for under-resourced students. And in February 2019, thanks to Solve’s introduction, Code Nation received a $1.5 million grant from Solve Member Strada Education Network, which will help expand its reach beyond New York City and the Bay Area to Chicago.

To date, this means Solve has brokered 150 partnerships and $12 million in funding commitments for social entrepreneurs who are impacting over 16 million lives. We have a portfolio of 130 Solver teams from 36 countries, and 52 percent of them are women-led. They are supported by our community of over 100 Members, prize funders, and partners working to advance Solve’s mission.

Photo courtesy of Solver The Renewal Workshop

So what’s in store for 2020?

  • We will match our 2019 Solver teams and Members to foster meaningful partnerships that accelerate Solver teams’ impact.
  • We will launch our 2020 Global Challenges around Learning, Health, Economic Prosperity, and Sustainability in February 2020, in addition to an MITx online course on business and impact planning to support our applicants and social entrepreneurs.
  • Solve Members will have the opportunity to participate in Challenge Design and Solveathon Workshops across the world, as well as attend Solve at MIT 2020 (May 12-14). This event will convene the 2019 Solver teams and more than 500 prominent global leaders to further catalyze transformational partnerships and advance our 2020 Global Challenges.
  • We will announce our first round of investments in Solver teams from current and past cohorts through Solve Innovation Future. Thanks to our supporters, Solve will raise $30 million in philanthropic donations over time. Returns will be re-invested in future Solver classes, creating a pay-it-forward, renewable philanthropic vehicle.

Solve is, above all, a community of corporations, foundations, investors, governments, and academia committed to finding and supporting social impact innovators, wherever they may be. By joining our community of 100+ Members, you’ll bring this marketplace to life by providing entrepreneurs around the world with the critical funding, expertise, and resources they need to transform the lives of millions.

As we near the end of 2019, I’d like to share an invitation to join our community. Solve membership is $5,500 annually and fully tax-deductible, and 100 percent of Member donations go towards Solver grants and support to help Solver teams implement and scale their work. Reach out to us to learn more.

We will only be successful in solving the world’s biggest challenges if we work together and invest in innovative solutions. Thank you for being part of our community and joining us on this journey.

Alex Amouyel
Executive Director

Photo courtesy of Solver Access Afya

Impact Investing
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