We are looking for ideas to transform Puerto Rico


Do you have a good idea that can help transform a community affected by Hurricane Maria?

Share it in the Puerto Rico Big Ideas Challenge, a contest launched by Banco Popular Foundation in partnership with the Hispanic Federation, an organization committed to the recovery and reconstruction efforts in Puerto Rico.

Nonprofit organizations can present their innovative ideas of social impact and compete for donations of up to $ 1.5 million. The donations will be distributed among those who win the first, second and third place.

In addition, another $ 100,000 are available for two additional ideas with sufficient criteria to merit an allocation of funds.

The purpose of the Puerto Rico Big Ideas Challenge is to create projects that transform the communities affected by Hurricane María, in areas such as: economic development, educational innovation, technology, alternative sources of energy, health services, social mobility, housing and the environment, among others.

“I firmly believe in the initiative and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Puerto Rican people. With this project we are looking for nonprofit organizations that have innovative proposals. We want to promote ideas that provide concrete solutions to face the great challenges we are experiencing. We hope to receive projects that allow us to start reinventing ourselves as a country,” explained Richard L. Carrión, president of the Board of Directors of the Banco Popular Foundation.

“As a result of our missions in different communities around the island, we realized that we need to give back hope and resources to the organizations to co-create new options for the communities,” said Beatriz Polhamus, executive director of the Banco Popular Foundation.

The Big Ideas Challenge is part of our Embracing Puerto Rico campaign, focused on helping in the recovery work after the hurricanes. The campaign began with a $1 million contribution from Popular and has managed to raise $ 6.1 million, from corporate donors and individuals.

“We believe that true social change begins with the internalization that we are part of the systems we seek to change. In most cases, collaboration tends to be reactionary to address an urgent need. Reacting is not necessarily negative and is often necessary, but we want to change the model for the future from reacting to co-creating,” said Polhamus.

This competition is unprecedented in Puerto Rico, due to the limited reach to nonprofit organizations to participate in these type of challenges, the lack of funding to carry them out, and the constant changes in public policy.


The process to select winning ideas

Only original proposals are accepted and they must come from alliances of three or more parties, led by a non-profit organization. Then, three finalist teams will be selected, and will receive up to $150,000 each to test the implementation plan presented with their idea.

After six months, the progress of the execution of the ideas will be measured and a first place will be selected, which will receive up to $450,000. The second place idea will receive up to $300,000 and the third place up to $200,000.

In addition to the monetary awards, the winners will benefit from a personalized program of training and advice.

Those interested in participating must complete the official application for the contest on or before June 29 of this year.

To learn more about the Puerto Rico Big Ideas Challenge, visit: fundacionbancopopular.org/bigideas.