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About the Challenge

The urgency of our efforts to achieve gender equality have increased with recent events exposing deep inequalities in the United States and we remain committed to advancing systemic change.

Pivotal Ventures, Melinda Gates’ investment and incubation company, with additional support from MacKenzie Scott and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, is launching the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, which will award $40 million to help expand women’s power and influence in the United States by 2030.

We must accelerate the pace of progress for more women to be in positions to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives in their homes, workplaces, and communities – because equality can’t wait.

Accelerating Progress for Women in the U.S.

Recent events have exposed deep inequalities in the United States. The injustices Black Americans face every day have forced a spotlight on systemic racism in our country. At the same time, COVID-19 has magnified the structural inequities that hold millions of U.S. women back, adding urgency to the phrase, “Equality can’t wait.”

While there has been a groundswell of awareness, activism, and energy to accelerate change, progress is not moving fast enough. Women in the U.S. are still vastly underrepresented in the places where agendas are set and decisions are made.

Additionally, the gains that have been made do not extend to all women. Women of color, women living in poverty, and LGBTQ women, for example, still face additional barriers to equality, both at home and at work.

The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge will award $40 million to help expand women’s power and influence in the United States by 2030.

Accelerating progress toward gender equality will require many things, especially strategic capital and stakeholder collaboration. Through this competition, we are looking for innovative ideas that will bring additional capital and energy into one or more key areas that can expand women’s power and influence:

  • Dismantling the barriers that hold women back.
  • Fast tracking women in critical sectors.
  • Calling society to action.

Please review these frequently asked questions for more information.

About Pivotal Ventures

Pivotal Ventures is an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates to advance social progress in the United States. We work with organizations and individuals to accelerate momentum where progress has stalled and use philanthropic and investment capital to substantially improve people’s lives.

About the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation 

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (Schusterman) is a global organization that seeks to improve lives, strengthen communities and advance equity. Our philanthropic vision is grounded in a commitment to pursue justice, repair the world and treat all people with dignity and civility. We invest in efforts to improve public education in the United States, strengthen the Jewish people and Israel, and address the needs of marginalized individuals and communities.

Partnership with Lever for Change

The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge is managed by Lever for Change, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation affiliate, whose mission is to unlock significant philanthropic capital and accelerate social change around the world’s biggest challenges. Lever for Change helps philanthropists source high-impact, vetted proposals through customized competitions and the Bold Solutions Network, a searchable online database of the top proposals submitted in those competitions.

Equality Can’t Wait Challenge

We must accelerate progress toward gender equality. The Equality Can't Wait Challenge will award $40 million to help expand women’s power and influence in the United States by 2030. Submissions have closed.