Bellevue, Wash. – February 28, 2023 – Today T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation and Ashoka are launching the fifth Changemaker Challenge, a nationwide contest that gives young leaders an opportunity to take their innovative ideas for creating a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future to the next level. Since the first Changemaker Challenge in 2018, over 1,500 applications have been submitted with projects focusing on everything from therapy kits and digital apps to support children on the autism spectrum to repurposing tobacco to create biodegradable food packaging.
Starting today through May 18, visionaries, advocates and social entrepreneurs ages 13 to 18 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico who are passionate about driving digital empowerment, putting equity into action, and mobilizing for a thriving planet can apply to the Changemaker Challenge. Youth innovators will then have the opportunity to receive seed funding to support their bold ideas and an all-expenses paid trip to T-Mobile headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., to participate in the Changemaker Lab experience later this year. T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation have invested over $2.5 million in the program over the last four years and given $414,000 in prize seed funding directly to teams who are making an impact in their communities.
“As T-Mobile is committed to creating a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future, Changemaker Challenge is an investment in this nation’s youth – some of the most innovative, problem solvers out there today – to deliver big ideas to help us achieve it,” said Janice V. Kapner, chief communications and corporate responsibility officer for T-Mobile. “Our goal is to elevate these bright young minds and help turn their ideas and dreams into real solutions that have a positive impact for years to come.”
Here’s how it works:
- Through May 18, youth ages 13 to 18 located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico can enter the Changemaker Challenge via the contest website.
- In July, the 15 finalists will be selected to receive $5,000 each in seed funding—five from each of the three categories: Digital Empowerment, Equity In Action, and Thriving Planet. The finalists will also receive an all-expenses paid trip later in 2023 to T-Mobile's headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., for the Changemaker Lab. At the Lab, the finalists will receive mentorship and guidance from T-Mobile employees, skills training from Ashoka, and other networking opportunities.
- Three finalists, one from each of the categories, will receive an additional $5,000 seed funding (for a total of $10,000 per team), and the time to pitch their projects to T-Mobile senior leaders.
- At the Changemaker Lab, the Grand Prize Winner will be selected and will receive an additional $5,000 in funding (for a total of $15,000), plus additional hands-on support and counsel from their mentors to supercharge their project!
Jacqueline Teague and Amelie Beck, cousins who founded MedTechConnect to provide technical and personal support to ensure senior citizens are informed and have access to healthcare technology, shared, "As T-Mobile changemakers, we were able to grow in our professional development by receiving direct mentorship from a team of T-Mobile experts. They gave us incredible resources and advice and provided generous seed money to help build our website! Above all, attending the T-Mobile Changemaker Lab in Bellevue, Washington, allowed us to make great, lasting connections with other young changemakers from all over the country.”
The Changemaker Challenge is made possible by T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation’s partnership with 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.
“For young people to thrive in a world where change is the only constant, it is critical for them to master changemaking abilities,” said Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka. “Ashoka, the T-Mobile Foundation, and T-Mobile’s Changemaker Challenge is an opportunity for young people to develop this essential power and contribute to a better future for the good of all.”
Individuals and teams with bold, game-changing ideas can visit the contest website to learn everything they need to know about the 2023 Changemaker Challenge.
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. The Foundation advances positive change in our communities by supporting causes that focus on youth development, 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.