[Air-L] Call for proposals: VL Innovators Challenge (#VLInnovators)

Sheryl Grant sherylgrant at gmail.com
Mon Apr 21 11:18:54 PDT 2014

Voto Latino, in Partnership with The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation and Google, Announces the $500,000 VL Innovators Challenge

The tech competition will provide $10,000-$100,000 grants to 10-15
Millennial-led projects that improve the lives of and expand opportunities
for Latinos in the U.S.

Voto Latino <http://www.votolatino.org/>, a nonprofit that empowers Latino
Millennials to create positive change in their communities, in partnership
with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation<http://www.macfound.org/> and
Google, and administered by HASTAC <http://www.hastac.org/>, launched the VL
Innovators Challenge <http://www.vlinnovators.com/>, a tech competition for
Millennials between the ages of 18 and 34. The VL Innovators Challenge seeks
to cultivate a pool of Latino tech talent and find innovative solutions to
problems in the Latino community. The Challenge will award $500,000 in
grants to the 10-15 best projects, and it is part of a year-long
celebration commemorating Voto Latino’s 10-year anniversary.

“The VL Innovators Challenge is an investment in a rising generation of
Latino Millennials who are more than just consumers of technology; they are
creators and they are makers,” said María Teresa Kumar, President and CEO,
Voto Latino. “Study after study shows that Latinos are highly
entrepreneurial, yet our presence is missing in the corridors of Silicon
Valley. Through the VL Innovators Challenge, we hope to not only provide
funding for great ideas but also the access to make these ideas succeed.”

The VL Innovators Challenge is part of the Connected
Learning<http://connectedlearning.tv/> movement,
an educational approach that makes learning relevant to everyone, to real
life and real work, and to the realities of the digital age.

“For nearly a decade, MacArthur has invested in innovations to reimagine a
future in which all young people are able to engage in learning that is
relevant to their lives and prepares them for success in school, the
workplace, and their community,” said Connie Yowell, Director of Education
at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. “Our support for the
VL Innovators Challenge is intended to build upon the creativity and
entrepreneurial spirit of Latino Millennials to develop tools and
strategies to solve some of our country’s most pressing challenges.”

Millennials of all backgrounds are encouraged to submit their best ideas
and enter the competition. Those who are awarded a grant will be provided
with access to the expertise of Silicon Valley veterans like Google to help
see their ideas to fruition.

“The VL Innovators Challenge presents an opportunity to find tech solutions
to problems in the Latino community and to address the educational and
economic disparities that contribute to the low numbers of Latinos in
tech," said Eliana Murillo, Head of Multicultural Marketing, Google. Google
will host winners at its Mountain View Headquarters for a week of learning.

Today, Latinos make up a mere 7 percent of U.S. tech workers and studies
suggest the gap to careers in Silicon Valley begins at an early age. Black
and Latino students are four times less likely to take AP Math and Science
exams than their White and Asian counterparts, and six times less likely to
take the AP Computer Science exam. In 2013, Blacks and Latinos made up only
9 percent of computer science and engineering college graduates.

“Our country suffers from a severe wealth gap, and Latinos are getting left
behind. Not enough Latino Millennials go after the high-paying tech jobs,
where the average salary is $77,000 a year -- $40,000 more than what the
average Latino makes today,” said Wilmer Valderrama, actor and Co-Chair of
Voto Latino’s Artist Coalition. “The VL Innovators Challenge seeks to
address this growing disparity head on.”

Each proposed project submitted for the tech competition must address a
need or challenge in the Latino community and must include a new tech tool
to solve that challenge. Applications may incorporate any technology —
mobile apps, websites, computer apps and programs, social networking
platforms, low-cost handheld devices, etc. — and must address any community
issue, great or small. Applications for the VL Innovators Challenge must be
submitted by September 10, 2014 at <http://www.vlinnovators.com/>
www.VLInnovators.com <http://www.vlinnovators.com/>. Proposed projects will
be made available to the public through the competition’s website and via
social media using #VLInnovators.

The VL Innovators Challenge winners will be selected by a combination of
audience participation, a panel of esteemed judges—comprised of 50
community, elected, and business leaders—and Voto Latino staff. The winners
will be announced at Voto Latino’s 10-year anniversary gala in November.

Sheryl Grant
Director of Social Networking
HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation
Digital Media and Learning Competition
sheryl.grant at duke.edu

Duke University
114 South Buchanan Blvd.
Smith Warehouse
Durham, NC 27708

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