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Thank you for participating in the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge.

We recommend reading all requirements for this application before you begin. We encourage you to review the Scoring Rubric that will be used to assess all valid applications. Applications must be submitted in English. Portions of your applications may be published online and will be shared with others during the evaluation process. These include, but are not limited to, Organization Name, Proposal Title, Project Description, Executive Summary, and Video Presentation.

Be sure to review your application as it will appear after it’s been submitted (link at the bottom of the page) and confirm your changes have been saved. When you have completed all of the requirements, a message will be displayed on the screen. At that point, you can submit your final application. Once you have submitted the application, you will no longer be able to make changes.

You must submit your application no later than Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.


This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression. Offer a brief and compelling overview of your proposal. Avoid using jargon, abbreviations, or language that a layperson may not understand. The information in this section is likely to be made publicly available in a variety of online settings.

Project Title (10 words)

Provide the title of your project. Choose a name that easily identifies your solution and distinguishes it from any other project.

Project Description (25 words)

Provide a short description of your project in one sentence.

Executive Summary (150 words)

Write a one-paragraph overview of your project that answers the following two questions:

  • How will your solution contribute to increasing women’s power and influence in the United States?
  • How does your solution connect with some of the challenges we see happening in the U.S. today?
  • What specific outcomes will your project deliver that will demonstrate increased power and influence for women?

Your Executive Summary should be a stand-alone statement of solution and potential impact. It should not require any other context to clearly explain what you are seeking to accomplish.


You are required to submit a video that captures your project and describes why it should be funded. The video is an opportunity to showcase your passion and to pitch your story in a succinct format. We want you to share your vision with the judges in a way that is different from the written proposal format. This DOES NOT need to be a professionally-produced video; video shot on a smartphone is acceptable.

In order to complete this part of your application, your team will upload a short digital film using YouTube.
Set the Privacy Settings on your video to Public or Unlisted – do not set them to Private.

Your video may be extracted from your submission and made available to the public and other donors. Appeal to a broad audience. Video submissions should follow these guidelines or else it will render the application ineligible:

  • A length of no more than 90 seconds.
  • Your pitch must be in English, or if in another language, subtitled in English.
  • Your video must be captioned. See these instructions on how to use You Tube automatic captioning.
  • Your video should not contain any images of identifiable children (under age 18) without express parental consent.

Here are general suggestions for delivering a high-quality video pitch:

  • Introduce yourself and your organization(s) and/or team.
  • Describe the obstacle to women’s power and influence that you are planning to address.
  • Explain your solution.
  • Explain what is unique about your solution.
  • Describe how you would measure the impact of your solution on women’s power and influence.

Now that you’ve provided a brief overview of your project, focus on the talent and management of your team.

Principal Organization

During registration, you identified the Principal Organization responsible for receiving and taking accountability for any grant funds, as well as providing the direction, control, and supervision for the project. If the Principal Organization has changed, please Edit Registration Form from the Profile menu to update this information.

Principal Organization Website or Social Media Page (5 words)

What is the URL of the website or social media page of choice for the Principal Organization? If your Principal Organization does not have a website or social media page, insert “Not Applicable.”

Project Website or Social Media Page (5 words)

Provide us with a URL to your project website or social media page of choice if one exists. Having a project website or preferred social media page is not a requirement for the competition and will not impact your eligibility. If you have not created a project website or a social media page, insert “Not Applicable. “

Primary Area of Expertise for the Principal Organization

Please select the primary area of expertise for the Principal Organization.

Team Collaboration

Does your team consist of two or more organizations?

       o Yes
       o No

Memorandum of Understanding

If your team consists of two or more organizations that are responsible for the Entry and that would receive a portion of funding from the competition, all the partners working within a formal collaboration must execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the Principal Organization clearly has control and discretion over the use of the grant funds. For additional guidance read the Requirements Regarding Any Proposed Collaboration.

A fully-executed MOU that controls the relationships among the parties must be uploaded. You must upload a PDF file that does not exceed 10MB.

If your team does not consist of two or more organizations, then check “Not Applicable.”


If your team consists of two or more organizations, please list them using the legal name of each partner. Please also provide a primary contact person, address, and legal entity status for each partner organization in your team. If your team does not consist of two or more partners, please enter “Not Applicable.”

Why Your Team (250 words)

Describe your team’s leadership, its members, and its collaborators or partners. If relevant, include details about how and why the collaboration was formed, and the differentiated roles for each partner organization. Explain how your team is uniquely positioned to deliver results and why you are the best choice to solve this problem. Emphasize that you have the right capabilities, experience, and commitment to execute your project.

Biographies of Key Staff

For each of the top three managers responsible for the success of the project, please provide a name (First/Last), the name of the organization the manager is affiliated with, and a brief biographical statement of up to 100 words. The biographical statement should include the title of the manager and emphasize those credentials and experiences which are most relevant to the project.


This section provides the opportunity for you to more fully explain the specific elements of women’s power and influence you are attempting to tackle with your idea.

WPI Indicators

We define women’s power and influence (WPI) as being in a position to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives in their homes, workplaces, and communities. In order to measure progress concretely on WPI, we have outlined these indicators. Please select one or more of the following indicators you are aiming to address:

  • Wages and wealth: narrowing the gap between earnings and wealth for women in comparison to men
  • Unpaid care: improving the division of caregiving and other household responsibilities done by women in comparison to men
  • Share of leadership roles: increasing the percentage of women in senior roles across the public, private, and social sectors
  • Content creation: increasing the percentage of intellectual and cultural content created by women
  • Public perceptions: increasing the percentage of the public who feel women should have more power and influence

Strategic Approaches

We have identified three strategic approaches that we believe are critical to accelerate progress on women’s power and influence. Please indicate which of the following your solution is aiming to tackle. You may select more than one.

  • Dismantling the barriers that hold women back. We need to remove the barriers that affect women most, by challenging biased narratives, addressing racial inequity, ending sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and helping women balance their career, home, and families.
  • Fast tracking women in critical sectors. Our research shows that there are essential sectors that have an outsized impact on society. By creating entry points and consistent support for women to advance within industries such as 1) public office, 2) tech, 3) academia, 4) media and entertainment, 5) finance, and 6) entrepreneurship, we can take important steps to expand women’s power and influence.
  • Calling society to action. We must change outdated systems, institutions, and beliefs by enlisting society to take action. By arming key stakeholders – including CEOs, community leaders, consumers, and employees – with resources and data around the issues, we can influence and exert greater pressure from every angle.
  • Other. You may identify an idea that utilizes another strategic approach to advance WPI, so long as the idea has a clearly defined way of impacting one or more of the key indicators noted above. If you select Other, please describe your specific approach in the following narrative section.

Strategic Approach Narrative (150 words)

Describe how your work will align with the strategy or strategies you selected above.


This section provides you the opportunity to describe your solution in detail.

Solution Overview (250 words);

Describe what your solution is or does, and how it meaningfully contributes to accelerating women’s power and influence.

  • Describe who will benefit from your intervention and the benefits or outcomes of your intervention.
  • How does your solution meaningfully contribute to women’s power and influence?
  • How will you know that you are making progress?
  • Describe the impact that your solution will have on women’s power and influence over a five-year grant period. Will it have broad impact on a large population or geography, or will it have deep and intense impact on a small population or geography?

Theory of Change (150 words)

Describe the logic of how your solution will lead to the desired outcome. Your Theory of Change should read as a narrative explanation of both the projected and desired outcomes. Emphasize the methodologies that you intend to employ and how they create a causal link to your shorter-term, intermediate, and longer-term goals. As you develop your response, consider this Practical Guide for Creating a Theory of Change.

COVID-19 Impact (150 words)

Although the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge is neither a response to COVID-19 nor a funding mechanism for COVID-19 relief, we recognize that assumptions about the post-pandemic world will shape your proposal. How do you see implementation of your project being impacted by the potential future state of the economy, civic life, socioeconomic policies or other?

Solution Stage

Select one of the following that best describes your solution stage:

       o Start-Up/early-stage organization or new partnership with a new idea or approach
       o Existing organization / partnership with a new idea or approach
       o Existing organization or existing partnership with a proven idea that is ready to scale.

Innovation (150 words)

Share how your approach will more efficiently and/or more effectively lead to the intended outcomes for your target beneficiaries, and how it differs from, improves upon, and/or bolsters existing methods/practices. Highlight any unique features and any other information demonstrating creativity and innovation in your approach and proposed solution.

Priority Populations

Select the priority population(s) that are expected to be the primary beneficiaries for your solution. You must select at least one priority population, and you are welcome to provide up to three.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (250 words)

Compelling proposals will fully demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Not only do we expect teams to be thoughtful about working with a range of beneficiaries, but we also expect teams to think carefully about how to actively plan for and include the most marginalized and/or vulnerable from within those populations in solutions design, program planning, and ongoing work. Explain how you will ensure, or have ensured, that the design and implementation of your solution authentically embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion and considers the intersectionality of being a woman as well as a member of populations such as persons with disabilities, religious or ethnic minorities, Black, Latinx, and Native American people, and the LGBTQ community. Please share additional details on how you will provide opportunities and reasonable accommodations for those populations to either engage with and/or benefit from your solution, including as staff, advisors, partners, et al.


We will use primary subject area, locations of current work, and key words to tag your project in a searchable database, making it possible for other funders to identify projects they might find interesting to support.

Primary Subject Area

Select the primary subject area of the solution that you and your team are proposing.

Key Words and Phrases

Provide a list of up to 5 key words or phrases that can best be used to describe your project (e.g. Social-enterprise, vocation, internship, training). Choose key words that capture the essence of your project and its intended outcomes. The key words should be different from the selected “primary subject area.”

Location of Current Work

Where are you currently implementing your solution? Select up to five locations that apply. If your work is national or regional, please select locations that best represent the work your organization does. If you are not currently implementing your project, you may select NOT APPLICABLE.

Location of Future Work

Where do you plan to implement your solution if awarded this grant? Select up to five locations that apply. These locations may or may not be the same as the locations where you are currently implementing your solution.


This section provides the opportunity for you to provide evidence that supports your solution.

Evidence of Effectiveness (250 words)

What evidence do you have or why do you believe that the solution you propose will work? Present any internal evidence (e.g., impact results from pilot programs, case studies from beneficiaries, evidence from analogous or similar approaches in other contexts) or formal academic evidence if it exists, including any results from complementary or previous work. If necessary, you may cite academic literature or papers. Use brackets and numbers to indicate relevant citations [#], which you can later clarify in a separate Bibliography section. The purpose of providing citations throughout the application is to affirm that any claims have been investigated and/or verified by a credible source or authority, and to attribute academic works appropriately.

Scaling and Impact (250 words)

Describe your plan for scaling your solution and its benefits. Scale may mean expanding to new populations or geographies, or it may mean how you intend to amplify your impact more deeply in one geography or population or context. If appropriate, explain whether and how you will need to tailor and adapt your solution for scaling and/or amplifying impact. What is the evidence, or why do you believe your results can be replicated? As you prepare your response, read MSI's Scaling-Up: Tools & Techniques for Practitioners and Scaling-Up: Management Framework for Practitioners

Timeline and Milestones (250 words)

What is your expected timeline for project completion and what outcomes or milestones will you track to know if you are successful and when will they be tracked?

Measurement of Results (250 words)

How do you plan to measure the effectiveness of your proposed project against the key metrics you have chosen above? What interim indicators will you be measuring that will indicate you are making progress towards the macro indicators you have defined?

Obstacle Assessment and Risk Mitigation (150 words)

How will you ensure your initiative is feasible and will work? Describe any obstacles to the success of the initiative, as well as any unintended consequences, and your plan to address those obstacles. Discuss your experience and capacity to manage technical or logistical obstacles.

Bibliography (250 words)

If you included citations [#s] in the Evidence of Effectiveness section of your application, provide your bibliography with a corresponding bracketed number [#] for each citation and attribution of the relevant author(s). If you did not insert citations, offer a list of resources that may be used to validate general claims made in your application. Please link to any articles that may be accessed online, even if behind a paywall. We recognize there are many standards for writing a bibliography, and we do not enforce any particular format. It is your responsibility to make those citations easy-to-understand, complete and accurate. If not applicable, please insert “Not Applicable.”

Other Considerations (150 words)

This is your final opportunity to raise any other considerations. Here, you may emphasize or expand upon a previous point or provide new information, as necessary.


Indicate and describe the financial resources required to successfully implement your project.

Total Projected Costs

Share the total cost to implement your team’s project (in US dollars); this can include costs beyond the total amount of the grant.

Budget Narrative (250 words)

Offer a general overview for how your team would use the $10 million (USD) grant, including the projected needs by category. You may include any explanations of existing resources you have already secured. Please explain what portion of the budget, if any, is expected to be spent on capacity building (a perfectly acceptable use of funds) to ensure effective execution on the project. Please also specify what portion of the budget is expected to be spent on measurement and evaluation of results.


Provide specific line items from the budget narrative (above) for your work. To help us understand your priorities, please provide a detailed budget for how the $10 million (USD) grant would be spent. Please make sure that any funds identified in this table reflect and clarify your general explanations provided in the budget narrative above. Budget should follow these guidelines or risk ineligibility:

  • Your budget must total to $10 million (USD).
  • Your budget must allocate no more than $1 million (USD) to a contingency fund or budget buffer.
  • Your budget must allocate funds to support Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning activities. Typically costs for these activities require anywhere from 5-20% of the total projected total costs.
  • Your budget should make clear what portion is expected to be allocated to indicate costs. Familiarize yourself with the Indirect Cost Policy and represent how you intend to address any indirect cost categories.
  • Your budget must afford reasonable accommodations to make your project accessible to people with disabilities, as implementors, participants, and beneficiaries. Estimates frequently used for an inclusive (i.e. non-disability-specific) project are 1-3% of administrative costs and 5-7% of program costs. Review this Guidance on Budgeting for Inclusion for more context.


Total Resource Requirements (100 words)

If your total projected costs exceed $10 million (USD), explain how you have secured (or plan to secure) the balance of any necessary funds and provide an overview of how those funds will be used.

If your total projected costs do not exceed $10 million (USD), insert “Not Applicable.”


In this section, please provide additional information about the Principal Organization. 

Employer Identification Number (EIN) (5 words)

Enter your Employer Identification Number.

Annual Operating Budget

What is the annual operating budget in United States Dollars (USD) of the Principal Organization?

  • Less than $1 Million
  • $1.0 to 5 Million
  • $5.1 to 10 Million
  • $10.1 to 25 Million
  • $25.1 to 50 Million
  • $50.1 to 100 Million
  • $100.1 to 500 Million
  • $500.1 Million to $1 Billion
  • $1 Billion +

Number of Employees

How many full-time employees does the Principal Organization employ?

  • Less than 10 Full-time Employees
  • 10 to 25 Full-time Employees
  • 26 to 50 Full-time Employees
  • 51 to 100 Full-time Employees
  • 101 to 300 Full-time Employees
  • 301 to 500 Full-time Employees
  • 501 to 1,000 Full-time Employees
  • 1,000+ Full-time Employees

If your team is invited to participate in any future phases of this competition, you may be required to provide additional information (refer to the RULES and Timeline), including but not limited to:

  • Additional information about your organization
  • Two years of audited financial statements, if available, or comprehensive unaudited financial statements
  • Articles of Incorporation, Charter, or similar documentation, and information about your equity holders (if applicable).
  • A more comprehensive Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan for the project.
  • Additional information about charitable purpose and compliance with private benefit rules.
  • Confirmation that award funds will not be used for lobbying.
  • Existing policies, if any, addressing conflicts of interest, whistleblower, internal controls, anti-money laundering, intellectual property, human subjects research, code of conduct, ethics, gifts, and any similar policies governing the organization.

Lever for Change and/or Pivotal Ventures reserves the right to perform additional due diligence and background checks on key individuals associated with the project, and the refusal by the key individuals to provide necessary authorizations for a background check may result in the rejection of an application for further consideration. Background information and the results of any background checks will be kept confidential.

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.