BELLEVUE, Wash. — July 25, 2023 — T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS), the T-Mobile Foundation and Ashoka today announced the 15 finalists of the 2023 Changemaker Challenge, a nationwide contest that offers youth between the ages of 13 and 18 the opportunity to fast track their innovative solutions for creating a more connected, equitable and sustainable future through networking, mentorship and seed money.
Winning ideas from the 2023 Changemaker Challenge, now it its fifth year, came from teams focused on three project categories: Digital Empowerment, Equity in Action and Thriving Planet. Entries addressed important issues ranging from mental health and AI tools that help children with autism to the protection of honeybees and conversion of CO2 into more oxygen for the planet.
Finalists will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile’s headquarters in Bellevue, Wash. in October for an immersive Changemaker Lab, where they will work with mentors from T-Mobile to develop their presentation skills and business acumen and take advantage of networking opportunities. Each team also receives $5,000 in seed money to fund their projects.
“The T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge continues to be a launching pad for the next generation of leaders who see real opportunities to change our world for the better by challenging the status quo with smart, innovative solutions to issues affecting our global community,” said Janice V. Kapner, chief communications and corporate responsibility officer at T-Mobile.
This year, one project per category has already been named a category winner and will receive an additional $5,000 in seed funding. Each winner will get the opportunity to pitch their projects to T-Mobile senior leaders at the Lab for the chance to win another $5,000 as the grand prize — for a total of $15,000.
The category winners this year include:
- KidsMates (Equity in Action) which supports the wellbeing of children with incarcerated parents by offering them and their caregivers resources and community.
- Go Green Filter (Thriving Planet) which converts the CO2 emissions from cars into oxygen via a filter containing algae, water, and light.
- Lemonerdy University (Digital Empowerment), a peer-to-peer education platform that employs youth as instructors in STEM subjects.
Inspired by America’s youth activism, the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge was created in partnership with the T-Mobile Foundation and Ashoka, an organization with more than 40 years of experience supporting social entrepreneurs and young changemakers as they bring new ideas to systemically address the world's biggest challenges and build a world where we all realize our power to create change.
"These young people have powerful initiatives for making change in their communities, from new ideas to safeguard biodiversity to shaping more equitable societies, and they truly exemplify what we mean when we talk about changemaking abilities, from empathy and leadership to teamwork," said Tia Johnston Brown, executive director for Ashoka Youth Years U.S. "This year’s T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge cohort shows how novel ideas to conventional ways of thinking have the potential to unleash big changes in the world."
2023 T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge Finalists
For more details about each finalist project, check out the 2023 T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge Lookbook.
Equity in Action – Top Category Winner
KidsMates (Boca Raton, FL)
Supports the wellbeing of children with incarcerated parents by offering them and their caregivers resources and community. This is helping create better spaces for bonding between incarcerated parents and their children while raising awareness about this under-discussed issue.
Thriving Planet – Top Category Winner
Go Green Filter (Kennett Square, PA)
An invention that converts the CO2 emissions from cars into oxygen via a filter containing algae, water, and light.
Digital Empowerment – Top Category Winner
Lemonerdy University (Chicago, IL)
A peer-to-peer education platform that employs youth as instructors in STEM subjects.
Equity in Action
WeGo! Hawaii (Honolulu, HI)
WeGo! Hawaii helps young women discover and pursue their passions through leadership workshops and spaces for community-building and empowerment.
RestVest (Wilton, CT)
RestVest is a weighted vest that employs deep pressure therapy to calm the nervous system and help the wearer with stress and anxiety, aiding rising populations of youth struggling with mental health conditions.
SIREN (San Jose, CA)
SIREN is a gunshot detector and communicator that’s designed to transmit information about an active shooter situation in real time.
Magical Motors (Phoenix, AZ)
Magical Motors re-engineers rideable toy cars to be hand-controlled for children with developmental disabilities, offering new possibilities for movement and self-expression.
Seeds of Hope (Aurora, IL)
Seeds of Hope is building and stocking seed libraries in spaces like schools and libraries, placing the power of re-establishing plant species native to Illinois back in the hands of community members.
Save Our Bees! (Orlando, FL)
Save Our Bees! has invented an organic treatment for small hive beetles, a pest that plagues honeybee hives.
SunShutters (Sugar Land, TX)
SunShutters is a solar-powered car shade system that helps drivers control the interior temperature of their vehicles in a sustainable way.
Refillie (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Refillie reduces laundry detergent waste by promoting a locally sourced alternative, accessible by a card-activated dispenser in student dorms.
CapyChat (Mercer Island, WA)
CapyChat is an AI-powered communication tool that helps children with autism express themselves.
Space City Tech (Houston, TX)
Space City Tech offers free community science programs to marginalized communities in the Houston area, promoting inclusivity and diversity in STEM.
MyPy Coding (McLean, VA)
MyPy Coding’s team of over 100 tutors offers free, virtual, one-on-one coding lessons to second through eighth graders.
Duckie (Carlsbad, CA)
Duckie will be a Chromebook extension that helps students with ADHD with their time management, productivity, and organization skills.
For more information about the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, visit t-mobile.com/changemaker.
T-Mobile US, Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) is America’s supercharged Un-carrier, delivering an advanced 4G LTE and transformative nationwide 5G network that will offer reliable connectivity for all. T-Mobile’s customers benefit from its unmatched combination of value and quality, unwavering obsession with offering them the best possible service experience and undisputable drive for disruption that creates competition and innovation in wireless and beyond. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint. For more information please visit: https://www.t-mobile.com.
About T-Mobile Foundation
The T-Mobile Foundation is committed to changing the world for good by uplifting the causes T-Mobile employees care about most, and by providing opportunities for T-Mobile employees to engage in causes that benefit the communities where they live and work. The T-Mobile Foundation, created and funded by T-Mobile US, Inc., is recognized by the IRS as a Section 501(c)(3) private foundation.
Ashoka is the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs—individuals with new ideas to systemically address the world’s biggest challenges and the entrepreneurial skill to transform those ideas into national, regional and global social impact. Over 40 years, Ashoka has supported nearly 4,000 social entrepreneurs in more than 90 countries with solutions addressing society’s most pressing issues. Ashoka’s vision is a world in which Everyone is a Changemaker—a society that responds quickly and effectively to challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem.