BridgeBuilder™ 2019 Challenge: People on the Move

How might we as people on the move and neighbors build bridges to a shared future of stability and promise?

In partnership with
Learn more about the vision, purpose and goals of our third BridgeBuilder Challenge
Who can participate?

Ideas are invited from individuals and teams currently or previously experiencing displacement and registered nonprofit, civil society, community-based, and for-profit organizations working anywhere in the world. Learn More +

the opportunity:
  • Receive a share of $1 million in seed funding from GHR Foundation.
  • Join a BridgeBuilder cohort of innovative organizations working to address urgent needs.

Learn More +

What's Happening Now
  • Our Ideas Submission Phase has now closed! We will announce our Shortlisted proposals on Monday Sept 9th.

Background

BridgeBuilder invests in building and repairing unique bridges between people, organizations, issues, and beliefs to promote meaningful engagement and sustainable, community-led change. Over the past two years, the Challenge has sourced hundreds of radical new approaches to solve pressing global issues at the intersections of peace, prosperity, and planet. In our 2019 Challenge, BridgeBuilder now seeks ideas that address the urgent and emergent needs of a global population directly impacted by a lack of peace, prosperity, and sound environmental conditions—people on the move.


Challenge Journey

1. Ideas

Jul 2, 2019

Aug 17, 2019

2. Review

Aug 18, 2019

Sep 8, 2019

3. Improve

Sep 9, 2019

Oct 14, 2019

4. Final Evaluation

Oct 15, 2019

Nov 14, 2019

5. Top Ideas

Nov 15, 2019

Dec 15, 2019

Current Phase
1. Ideas
The Ideation Phase is about coming up with real solutions.

The Ideation phase is more than just a call for proposals. At OpenIDEO, we believe that new and existing ideas become better through collaboration, transparent feedback, and iteration. Participants are encouraged to build off of others' concepts, collaboratively share insights, and combine ideas to reach innovative new places.

What's Happening

Share your ideas to answer the Challenge question for a chance at a share of $1M, due by August 17, 2019 at 5pm PST.

Get Involved

Stay tuned for our webinar announcement calendar.

Key Dates

Starts on July 2nd. Ends on August 17, 2019.

SHARE ideas
2. Review
During the Review Phase, GHR and OpenIDEO review all submissions based on our evaluation criteria.

For three weeks, the GHR and OpenIDEO Evaluation Team reviewed all published proposals. Proposals on the platform were locked during this review period, though we encouraged the community to leave and respond to comments, feedback or insights that fueled idea development.  

What's Happening

All submitted ideas were reviewed by the GHR Foundation and IDEO teams, alongside individuals with lived experience.

Get Involved

The community could leave and respond to comments, feedback or insights on the platform.

Key Dates

Our 40 shortlisted proposals were announced on September 9.

review closed
3. Improve
The Improve Phase allows shortlisted teams to leverage feedback to improve and finalize their idea.

During the Improve Phase, each shortlisted idea has been paired with experts and mentors with lived experience, and have the chance to use this feedback to evolve their proposal before October 14.

We encourage shortlisted ideas to:

  • Connect with and review feedback from mentors and experts, and apply to your proposal.
  • Incorporate constructive feedback from community (on platform).
  • Gather any additional beneficiary feedback and apply to your proposal.
What's Happening

Shortlisted teams will have 5 weeks to connect with mentors and experts, then apply feedback and learnings to their final proposals.

Get Involved

Support and learn from shortlisted teams as they finalize updates and learnings in their proposals on the platform.

Key Dates

Started on September 9. Ends on October 14, 2018.

see our shortlist
4. Final Evaluation
During our Final Evaluation Phase, all shortlisted ideas will be reviewed.

During our final evaluation period, shortlisted ideas will be reviewed by GHR Foundation, expert evaluators, individuals with lived experience and the OpenIDEO Challenge team. This will be a period of deeper diligence and evaluation, 

What's Happening

All ideas will be reviewed by the Challenge team, GHR Foundation and additional evaluators.

Get Involved

Stay tuned for Top Ideas announcement in mid-November.

Key Dates

Starts on October 15, 2019. Ends on November 14, 2019.

coming soon
5. Top Ideas
Top Ideas Announced!

Stay tuned for the announcement of Top Ideas. All Top Ideas will receive a share of $1 million in seed funding from the GHR Foundation, join a BridgeBuilder cohort of innovative organizations working to address urgent needs, and take part in a kickoff workshop.

What's Happening

Selected grantees are announced and awarded.

Key Date

Top Ideas were announced on November 15, 2019.

coming soon
The Challenge

How might we as people on the move and neighbors build bridges to a shared future of stability and promise?

Read The Full Brief

The Opportunity

Today, more than 70.8 million men, women and children are forcibly displaced worldwide. This new reality is global and growing. The opportunity for meaningful engagement is immense, and BridgeBuilder seeks to harness the hospitality and solidarity that lies within each of the seven billion humans on the planet.


Creating and adjusting to a new life is difficult, yet the journey is filled with possibility for a future. Those who have left home—too often labeled a refugee, migrant, or simply displaced—bring with them the gifts of their lives, resilience and imagination to new neighbors. We are these neighbors: the cities, faith communities, families, and new friends that have potential to accompany people experiencing displacement along their journey, from places of first refuge to newly adopted homes.


Whatever our differences, we are more connected than ever before. Our world is interdependent and we are experiencing this moment together. Solidarity must exist on a global scale, and BridgeBuilder calls upon all of us to see the promise of our neighbors anew—whether we are passing through, recently arrived in, or are an established member of a receiving community. 


With more people on the move today than in the past 70 years, and with women and children disproportionately impacted, diverse stakeholders must go beyond providing just a safety net for basic needs. There is immense opportunity to design approaches that enable individuals to create a life of meaning, filled with hope and dignity, and to support host communities in being their most welcoming.


How might we, as people on the move and neighbors, build bridges to a shared future of stability and promise?



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Opportunity Areas

Opportunity Areas are specific calls to action that guide the BridgeBuilder community. They serve as provocations that are intentionally aligned with our Challenge topic and are ripe for innovation.


  • The Full Human Journey: While narratives often focus on the moment of border transition or label individuals as simply “displaced,” a person’s true experience is more complex and nuanced than this. Diverse touch points along a journey might include leaving a country of origin, being on the move and crossing borders, arriving and settling in a destination country, or returning home. How can we design for these various stages of movement, and the complexity of decisions required to respond to the full human journey?
  • Beyond Survival to Potential: Ensuring each person has access to food, shelter, and water is necessary, but not sufficient. BridgeBuilder encourages innovators to go beyond these basic needs, to empower the entire human experience. With access to joy, hope, dignity and a platform for opportunity, those experiencing displacement can develop their full potential and invigorate the communities they are joining. How can the aptitude, strength and creativity of people on the move be fully realized for the benefit of all?
  • Equipping Diverse Communities: As people on the move navigate new spaces, they encounter many kinds of communities. Most host communities share a spirit of hospitality with newcomers, but may not feel fully empowered or supported to capably welcome new community members — or go beyond providing just the basic resources. How can transitional or receiving communities be engaged and equipped to foster their potential for hospitality and solidarity?
  • Other: Please Tell Us Why! Want to suggest ideas outside of our framework? Tell us how other ideas might achieve the impact we’re discussing, and how your approach works.
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BridgeBuilder Principles

A different kind of solution requires a new way of working, both within communities of focus and with each other. BridgeBuilder Principles should guide ideas to be designed not for but with communities of focus, just as they will guide the selection process.


Engagement Principles 

  • Meet people where they are. Geographically, socially, emotionally, culturally, and otherwise.
  • Build relationships. Build trusting relationships characterized by respect and compassion.
  • Listen deeply. Listen with humility. Treat peoples’ stories with dignity and respect. Recognize and honor lived experience as expertise.
  • Collaboratively learn and adapt. Respond to changing contexts and emergent learning through reflection, co-creation, and co-implementation with individuals, partners and communities.
  • Address Urgent Needs. Build and repair bridges between people, issues, and beliefs that promote meaningful engagement and greater social cohesion. 


Design Principles

  • Root Solutions in Community. Deeply root solutions in the context, cultures, knowledge, wisdom, needs, and aspirations of partner communities.
  • Promote Equitable and Just Systems.  Shift power structures, altering narratives, and moving the world in a more equitable and just direction. 
  • Promote and Protect Human Dignity. Go beyond meeting basic needs. Help people meet the needs of joy, hope, and dignity.

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The Prize

Selected Top Ideas will:

  • Receive a share of $1 million in seed funding from GHR Foundation.
  • Join a BridgeBuilder cohort of innovative organizations working to address urgent needs.
  • Take part in a kick-off workshop, during which they will meet other social innovators and further design and build their approaches with tools and expertise from GHR Foundation and OpenIDEO.
  • Receive partnership support from GHR Foundation, potential connection to other funder networks, and media exposure.

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Submission Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria

Ideas are invited from individuals and teams currently or previously experiencing displacement as well as registered nonprofit, civil society, community-based, and for-profit organizations working anywhere in the world. If you are an individual or team without a registered organization, you are encouraged to post your idea early so the community management team can work to identify potential partners within the BridgeBuilder community.


  • Actionable and tangible: Idea must be actionable and build tangible results in the community of focus, rather than research, convenings, policy development, or advocacy.
  • Within scope: Idea must be implemented within a 36-month timeline and within a budget up to US $200,000.
  • Representative: Idea must show evidence that the voice and perspective of a person currently or previously experiencing displacement is part of the ideation, process, and project.

Learn more about our evaluation criteria for submission here.

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Additional Resources


Please review this list of Additional Resources to help you get started, or find downloadable versions at the bottom of this page.

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Leveraging Lived Experience: Our Design Approach

BridgeBuilder is prioritizing the voices, perspectives and ideas of people on the move. Diverse stakeholders who have lived experience, or have dedicated their careers to the topic of migration have provided feedback on program design. Throughout the Challenge, BridgeBuilder is committed to proactively seeking and removing barriers for the participation of people on the move through regional outreach leaders and localized community managers. When it’s time to select finalists and winners, currently or previously displaced individuals will play a key role as experts in analysis and review. When teams are matched with experts in the Refinement Phase, people on the move will advise and share feedback with shortlisted ideas.


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Our Challenge Process

During the Ideas Phase, BridgeBuilder calls on the global community to share approaches that bring people together to address urgent challenges faced by people on the move. The proposals do not need to be perfect or fully polished—in fact, early entry in the Ideas phase will allow you to iterate and improve your idea through community engagement. Throughout this Phase, participants are encouraged to include voices of people with experience of displacement in their communities to design ideas and provide feedback.


Currently and previously displaced people will help select a shortlist of submitted ideas to move into the Expert Feedback Phase, where teams will have the opportunity to be matched with experts with lived experience and from various fields to gather feedback and additional insights. After expert feedback, the Improve Phase gives each team three weeks to apply the expert feedback to their proposal, finalize and resubmit it along with a project budget.


Top Ideas will be announced in early November and receive seed funding and post-Challenge support from GHR, as well as connection opportunities with other BridgeBuilders and OpenIDEO.


Throughout this Challenge, BridgeBuilder is prioritizing the voices, perspectives and ideas of people on the move. Diverse stakeholders who have lived experience, or have dedicated their careers to the topic of migration have provided feedback on program design. BridgeBuilder is committed to proactively seeking the participation of people on the move and removing barriers through regional outreach leaders and localized community managers. When it’s time to select a shortlist and Top Ideas, individuals who have experienced displacement will play a key role as experts in analysis and review.

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The Sponsor

The BridgeBuilder sponsor, GHR Foundation, accelerates bold and better approaches that create conditions for the most vulnerable people to thrive. For 50-plus years, GHR has been pioneering design-build philanthropy as it collaborates with community experts to design and build opportunities and favorable environments for change to take hold. The Foundation sees BridgeBuilder as a powerful movement for good—a unifier and lever for social change, and a driver for bridging between people, networks, issues, and resources.

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Translated Resources

To make BridgeBuilder inclusive and accessible to the global community, the Challenge brief, evaluation criteria and worksheets have been translated into multiple languages below. Proposals submitted in languages other than English will be machine translated (i.e. Google Translate) during the Ideas Phase with human translation available in later Challenge phases. 

Note: all translated resources will be available for download within the first week of the Challenge, by July 9th, 2019.

Challenge Brief



Evaluation Criteria


Community Research Toolkit


How to Submit an Idea 1 Pager


What to Do After Submission 1 Pager


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View Submitted Ideas
View Submitted Ideas
Challenge Team:

Alex Nana-Sinkam

Program Lead

Ashley Tillman

Community Manager

Isaac Jumba

Community Fellow

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