MacArthur Foundation narrows down finalists for $100M philanthropy grant

The MacArthur Foundation on Tuesday announced the four finalists for its colossal new philanthropy grant, 100&Change, a global competition that will award $100 million in funding for the winning cause. 

Sponsored by the same foundation renowned for the MacArthur "genius" grants, 100&Change has promised $100 million over up to six years to a group that comes up with the "best idea to improve humanity."

The four finalists are: Catholic Relief Services; HarvestPlus; Rice 360° Institute for Global Health (Rice University); and Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee.

"The proposals are creative, ambitious, and driven by a passion to make the world a better place for millions of people," MacArthur President Julia Stasch said in a statement on the group's website.

Here is a look at the finalists:

Catholic Relief Service proposed changing the way society cares for orphans. According to the MacArthur Foundation, the group will work with governments, community leaders, and orphanage staff in seven developing countries to identify the best family-based option for each child, provide families with parenting skills and services, and help policymakers craft better policies that support family-based care.

Catholic Relief Services | 100&Change Semi-Finalist by macfound on YouTube

HarvestPlus proposed "biofortification," a process of enriching foods through conventional plant breeding to relieve global hunger in 17 priority countries in Africa.

HarvestPlus | 100&Change Semi-Finalist by macfound on YouTube

Rice 360° Institute for Global Health (Rice University) proposed a three-part strategy to improve newborn survival in Africa, which has the highest neonatal mortality rate in the world.

Rice University | 100&Change Semi-Finalist by macfound on YouTube

The Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee proposed a program called Sesame Seeds to work with Syrian refugee children to "help heal the scars of war and cultivate the full potential of an entire generation."

Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee | 100&Change Semi-Finalist by macfound on YouTube

For the next round of the competition, the foundation says it will host a weekly online discussion beginning Sept. 29. The four groups will then present their final proposals on Dec. 11 in an event that will be live-streamed. The MacArthur Board of Directors will then announce the single recipient of the grant.