Press Release: Orbis among Top 100 Proposals for MacArthur $100 Million Grant

February 2020

Orbis and partners in the Vision 4 Africa consortium among high-scoring 100&Change applications featured in Bold Solutions Network.

New York, NY, February 19, 2020 — The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today unveiled that Orbis International and its partners in the Vision 4 Africa consortium received one of the highest scores, designated as the Top 100, for its proposal in the 100&Change competition. The winner of the competition receives a single $100 million grant to help solve one of the world's most critical social challenges.

Vision 4 Africa joins the forces of four leading global eye health organizations – Orbis, as well as CBM, Sightsavers and the Fred Hollows Foundation – to scale up eye health systems. An estimated 20 million people across Africa are blind or visually impaired, but 75 percent of cases are preventable or treatable. Additionally, the problem is growing worse, with global blindness and visual impairment predicted to triple by 2050.

Vision 4 Africa’s proposal for the 100&Change competition is a plan to address these challenges by building strong eye care systems that provide critical services and meet future needs. The consortium’s solutions center on training eye health workers at every level, addressing surgical backlogs and building robust referral pathways, and engaging governments to make long-term investments in eye care.

The Top 100 represent the top 21 percent of competition submissions. The proposals were rigorously vetted, undergoing MacArthur’s initial administrative review, a Peer-to-Peer review, an evaluation by an external panel of judges, and a technical review by specialists whose expertise was matched to the project.

Each proposal was evaluated using four criteria: impactful, evidence-based, feasible, and durable. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists from these high-scoring proposals this spring.

“We and our partners in the Vision 4 Africa consortium are so proud to have been named in the Top 100 for the prestigious 100&Change competition,” said Bob Ranck, President & CEO of Orbis International. “Drawing on our more than 240 years of combined experience, we are committed to developing sustainable solutions that will ensure millions of Africans get the quality eye care they deserve.”

MacArthur seeks to generate increased recognition, exposure, and support for the high-impact ideas designated as the Top 100,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change and MacArthur Managing Director, 100&Change.

“Based on our experience in the first round of 100&Change, we know the competition will produce multiple compelling and fundable ideas. We are committed to matching philanthropists with powerful solutions and problem solvers to accelerate social change.”

Since the inaugural competition, other funders and philanthropists have committed an additional $419 million to date to support bold solutions by 100&Change applicants. Building on the success of 100&Change, MacArthur created Lever for Change to unlock significant philanthropic capital by helping donors find and fund vetted, high-impact opportunities through the design and management of customized competitions. In addition to 100&Change, Lever for Change is managing the Chicago Prize, the Economic Opportunity Challenge, and the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award.

Bold Solutions Network Launches

The Bold Solutions Network launched today, featuring the Vision 4 Africa consortium as one of the Top 100 from 100&Change. The searchable online collection of submissions contains a project overview, 90-second video, and two-page factsheet for each proposal. Visitors can sort by subject, location, Sustainable Development Goal, or beneficiary population to view proposals based on area of interest.

The Bold Solutions Network will showcase the highest-rated proposals that emerge from the competitions Lever for Change manages. Proposals in the Bold Solutions Network undergo extensive evaluation and due diligence to ensure each solution promises real and measurable progress to accelerate social change.

The Bold Solutions Network was designed to provide an innovative approach to identifying the most effective, enduring solutions aligned with donors’ philanthropic goals and to help top applicants gain visibility and funding from a wide array of funders. Organizations that are part of the network will have continued access to a variety of technical support and learning opportunities focused on strengthening their proposals and increasing the impact of their work.

More About 100&Change

100&Change is a distinctive competition that is open to organizations and collaborations working in any field, anywhere in the world. Proposals must identify a problem and offer a solution that promises significant and durable change.

The second round of the competition had a promising start: 3,690 competition registrants submitted 755 proposals. Of those, 475 passed an initial administrative review. 100&Change was designed to be fair, open, and transparent. The identity of the judges and the methodology used to assess initial proposals are public. Applicants received comments and feedback from the peers, judges, and technical reviewers. Key issues in the competition are discussed in a blog on MacArthur's website.

In the inaugural round of 100&Change, Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee were awarded $100 million to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Syrian response region and to challenge the global system of humanitarian aid to focus more on building a foundation for future success for millions of young children.

About Orbis International

Orbis is a leading global non-governmental organization that has been a pioneer in the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness for nearly four decades. Orbis transforms lives by delivering the skills, resources and knowledge needed to deliver accessible quality eye care. Working in collaboration with local partners, including hospitals, universities, government agencies and ministries of health, Orbis provides hands-on ophthalmology training, strengthens healthcare infrastructure and advocates for the prioritization of eye health on public health agendas. Orbis operates the world's only Flying Eye Hospital, a fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft, and an award-winning telemedicine platform, Cybersight. To learn more, please visit orbis.org.

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Kristin Taylor
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