Launched in 2014, the Rathmann Challenge engages organizations with forward thinking ideas and a willingness to challenge themselves and their professional colleagues to come up with a better solution. We seek those possessing the creativity, entrepreneurial ethos, and innovative spirit to make a positive difference in the world through their directed passion, new ideas, and energy.

Rathmann Challenge applicants have a proven ability to implement a successful program. They also have an Even Bigger Idea® that, if given the opportunity, could benefit the world. The Rathmann Challenge Top Honoree receives $100,000 for their past outstanding work and the exclusive invitation to apply for an Even Bigger Idea® grant of $200,000. Put them together and $300,000 could turn a vision into reality.

Offered biennially, the Rathmann Challenge rotates through various funding areas: Arts and Culture; Education; Environment; Health; Human Services; International Aid; Public Affairs; Technology; and Science. A Rathmann Challenge applicant must be based in and deliver their programming in the United States.

In 2015, the Rathmann Challenge focused on “Provisions for Personal Necessities in Preparation for Learning” and sought ways to support educators in addressing issues which interfere with PreK-12 students’ abilities to be fully present in the classroom. The applications received were extraordinary and addressed many issues: food, clothing, classroom supplies, shelter, personal care, dental, medical, mental health and legal support (e.g. immigration, juvenile and custodial issues).

Applications closed in mid-February 2015 and the awardees announced in November 2015.

Learn more about the 2015 Rathmann Challenge Awardees at the Rathmann Challenge website.

In 2017, the Rathmann Challenge is focused on "Mitigating Climate Change by Expanding the Use of Compost".

Compost has long been used by some for improved soil productivity, increased water retention, and reduced sensitivity to drought. Research has shown that an application of compost to agricultural lands increases carbon sequestration in soil. Research also has shown that compost can be an effective waste management technique for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We see widespread use of compost as an important tool for recapturing carbon from the atmosphere, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and stabilizing the carbon cycle. For this reason, we sought ideas to significantly expand the use of compost in the United States. The applications received were outstanding and represented the nonprofit, government and academic sectors.

Applications closed in late March 2017 and the awardees announced in November 2017.

Learn more about the 2017 Rathmann Challenge Awardees at the Rathmann Challenge website.

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