2019 DreamUp Wisconsin Challenge: Student Challenge Call for Initial Proposals – Due: 11/11/2019 12:00 P.M. (CDT)

Student Challenge


DUE: Noon (Central Time), November 11, 2019
Download full RFP in PDF format

The Alliance for the American Dream Challenge

The Alliance for the American Dream initiative, funded by Schmidt Futures, seeks to improve economic opportunities for more Americans and increase the country’s competitiveness by building and supporting a stronger, more inclusive middle class. The initiative in Dane County is called DreamUp Wisconsin and is being led by the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The challenge for DreamUp Wisconsin is to develop proposals to increase the net income of 10,000 Dane County households by 10% by the end of 2022. Proposals may include ideas to decrease cost of living and/or increase financial resources. Schmidt Futures has committed to providing additional support for at least one team from the University of Wisconsin with the ultimate opportunity to compete for a larger pool of capital funding (up to $1 million) in Summer 2020.

Student Proposal Guidelines

DreamUp Wisconsin welcomes proposals from students with the potential to increase the net income of Dane County households, thereby increasing access to and providing support within the middle class.

Initial proposals must:

  • Include a tangible method to increase income and/or reduce cost of living;
  • Use technological innovation;
  • Draw from and benefit a diverse set of people and communities;
  • Reduce racial, ethnic, and/or geographic disparities;
  • Be interdisciplinary/multi-sector;
  • Be evidence-based; and
  • Demonstrate sustainability beyond Schmidt Futures’ investment; and

Proposals must demonstrate the potential to be implemented at scale by the end of 2022. Pilot programs or studies will not be considered. Learn more about Schmidt Futures and other initiatives they fund at https://schmidtfutures.com/.

Competition Timeline

The DreamUp Leadership Team will choose at least one initial student proposal to support with up to $5,000 and additional in-kind resources (e.g., connecting with university and community expertise) to develop ideas into full proposals due in January 2020. Awards are contingent upon completion of a full proposal.

By January 31, 2020, the Community-University Review Committee will choose three full proposals to be advanced to the national semi-final level, to be reviewed by Schmidt Futures. Schmidt Futures has committed to providing additional support for at least one team from the University of Wisconsin in 2020.

By February 2020, the review committee will choose three proposals to support with an additional $20,000 prize to further develop the proposal and in-person pitch. The top three teams will pitch to a Schmidt Futures-designated screening committee at the end of March 2020 (may require travel).

In April 2020, at least one, and up to two, team(s) selected by the Schmidt Futures screening committee will receive an additional $20,000 of prize monies and further in-kind support from DreamUp WI and Schmidt Futures to prepare final materials for presenting to Schmidt Futures.

The top team(s) will pitch their proposal to Schmidt Futures leadership in June 2020 to compete for implementation funding of up to $1 million (may require travel).

Initial Student Proposal Requirements

At this initial stage of the student challenge, DreamUp Wisconsin welcomes unsolicited proposals at all levels of development. In other words, not all proposal elements noted above and detailed below must be in place to be considered. Rather, at this time, we seek to identify the strongest student ideas with the potential to increase the net income of Dane County households, thereby increasing access to and support within the middle class.

Proposals at this stage should identify what additional resources would be needed to advance to a full, viable proposal that will meet the full scope of the challenge (a community-university partnership that will increase income by 10% for 10,000 Dane County households by the end of 2022). After reviewing initial proposals, the DreamUp Wisconsin leadership team is available to help identify and facilitate partnerships, as well as link together teams with more modest proposals that potentially can be packaged together to achieve the larger goal.

Evaluation of Initial Student Proposals

Proposals that meet required criteria will be reviewed by the DreamUp Leadership Team using the following evaluation criteria, which are described in further detail in the Proposal-Writing Guidelines below (100 points possible):

  • Meets the DreamUp challenge (30 points)
  • Decreases racial, ethnic, or geographic inequities (20 points)
  • Includes innovation in concept and technology (15 points)
  • Incorporates an implementation plan and demonstrates capacity (15 points)
  • Provides supporting evidence (10 points)
  • Establishes sustainability (10 points)

Submission Directions

Proposals (one document) formatted according to the following specifications must be uploaded by November 11, 2019, at noon Central Time to the online DreamUp Wisconsin Full Proposal Form:

  • Use 11-point font size, Times New Roman, one-inch margins on all sides of each page;
  • Include page numbers at center-bottom of each page;
  • Limit narrative to no more than 5 single-spaced pages total;
  • Include citations as endnotes at the end of the narrative (does not count toward 5-page limit); and
  • Count supporting graphics, tables, pictures, etc., as included within the 5-page narrative unless otherwise specified in the Proposal-Writing Guidelines below.
  • Text beyond these limits and links to further information and/or videos will not be considered.

Questions can be directed to dreamupalliance@wisc.edu.

Student Proposal-Writing Guidelines

  1. Meets the DreamUp WI Challenge (30 points)
    1. Underlying problem
      1. What is the underlying problem (e.g., what is preventing households from having 10 percent higher net income)? How do you know this is a challenge?
      2. Describe the size, demographic, income, and geographic characteristics of the population experiencing this problem and how the population fits the Alliance for the American Dream/DreamUp WI goal to expand and/or strengthen the middle class.
    2. Proposed solution
      1. What is your idea to meet the DreamUp WI challenge?
      2. How will your idea solve the problem(s) described in section 1.1 (i.e., what is the underlying theory of change; and what are specific strategies and how will they impact intended outcomes, and at what magnitude)?
  2. Decreases Racial, Ethnic, or Geographic Inequities (20 points)
    1. How will your idea work to reduce racial, ethnic, and geographic inequities?
    2. Are there potential unintended negative consequences for particular populations? If so, how will the team ensure that what helps one group won’t harm another?
  3. Includes Innovation in Concept and Technology (15 points)
    1. What is new about this idea (e.g., concept, approach, scale, partners)?
    2. How will this idea use technological innovation (e.g., advanced computing, data science, artificial intelligence) to meet the DreamUp WI Challenge?
  4. Provides Supporting Evidence (10 points)
    1. What evidence (e.g., previous piloting, experience, academic and other research) suggests this idea will work to increase net income?
  5. Incorporates an Implementation Plan & Demonstrates Capacity (15 points)
    1. Implementation Plan
      1. What are potential implementation challenges and how will they be addressed?
    2. Capacity
      1. Proposals that advance to the next stage must have a community-university partnership. A community partner is a private or public, government, nonprofit or for-profit entity that currently serves or could serve Dane County residents. A University of Wisconsin-Madison partner is at least one faculty member, academic (research) staff person, or student at UW-Madison. If a community-university partnership is already in place, briefly describe the partners and their commitment, expertise, and capacity to carry out the proposed idea. If a partnership is not currently in place, describe your partnership needs and how the DreamUp Wisconsin leadership team can best assist you in identifying potential partners.
  6. Establishes Sustainability (10 points)
    1. How is the proposed solution likely to achieve sustainable increases in net income in Dane County? For example, describe community or political support, potential sources of additional funding, or returns on investment that are necessary for success beyond 2020.
  7. Additional support needed. (required, but not scored):
    1. Describe how the DreamUp Wisconsin leadership team can assist you in developing a full proposal (e.g., partner identification, proposal packaging, linking to other university and community resources).