a group of children in a library

We are proud to announce that the Internet Archive is one of eight groups named semi-finalists in 100&Change, a global competition for a single $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The competition seeks bold solutions to critical problems of our time.

MacArthur Foundations’ 100&Change Competition

In June of 2016, the MacArthur Foundation offered the world a challenge:

Solving society’s biggest problems isn’t easy, but it can be done.

With that belief, the MacArthur Foundation launched 100&Change, a competition offering a $100 million grant to a single proposal to make real progress toward solving a critical problem of our time. Applicants could focus on any critical issue, from climate change to deadly disease. By September, 7,069 competition registrants submitted 1,904 proposals. Of those, 801 passed an initial administrative review and were evaluated by a panel of expert judges who each provided ratings on four criteria: meaningfulness, verifiability, durability, and feasibility.

With so many effective thinkers applying to 100&Change, it always felt as if our chances were one in a hundred—and indeed that turned out to be true. MacArthur’s Board of Directors made the final selection, whittling down 800 applicants to just eight semifinalists. To be one of these eight semifinalists is a tremendous honor. Since February 2017, we have been refining our proposal, establishing partnerships and listening to stakeholders. In the Fall of 2017, the MacArthur Board will select a smaller number of finalists, who will present their ideas in person in December. By year’s end, one group will receive the $100 million award and begin a process to spark transformational change.

Why do we want to democratize knowledge?

For 20 years, the Internet Archive has been preserving the books, web pages, television, audio and software of humankind, making them freely available to 2-3 million patrons every day. We are known as creators of the Wayback Machine, the world’s largest public archive of 300 billion web pages. With 160 staffers worldwide, the Internet Archive runs one of the world’s 300 most popular websites, Archive.org. And since 2011, we have operated OpenLibrary.org, successfully piloting a service that digitizes hardcopies and provides temporary digital access to them in the same way libraries have always lent books. As a digital library, the Internet Archive respects readers’ privacy and dignity, never tracking their reading habits or selling their personal data.

Now we want to help transform every US library into digital libraries. Together, we can fill those digital shelves with more diverse books that represent the readers we serve. We can make millions of books in many languages available to the blind and people with print disabled around the globe. It’s part of our mission: Universal Access to Knowledge. That’s why we call this project Open Libraries.