University of Wisconsin–Madison

DreamUp Wisconsin Call for Initial Proposals – Due 8/29/2018, 11:59 PM (CDT)

DreamUp Wisconsin Initial Proposal – Frequently Asked Questions

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 first 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 2020.

Proposals must:

  • Either increase income directly or reduce costs of living (e.g., in areas such as housing, child care, healthcare, education, food, energy, transportation); and
  • Include a community-university partnership.

The strongest proposals will:

  • Draw from and benefit a diverse set of people and communities;
  • Be interdisciplinary or multi-sector; and
  • Be evidence-based and use technological innovation.

A Community-University Review Committee will choose at least 10 initial proposals to support with up to $10,000 in development funding and additional in-kind resources (e.g., access to university and community expertise, research support, meeting space and facilitation) to develop ideas into full proposals between September and November 2018. Teams will be notified whether their initial proposal was chosen for development funding by mid-September.

By December 10, the Community-University Review Committee will choose 3 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 2019.

Initial Proposal Requirements

At this initial stage, 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 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 2020). 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 Proposals

Initial proposals will be considered and scored by the DreamUp Wisconsin Community-University Review Committee using the following criteria:

Total points possible = 100 points

  • Potential to impact net income (20 points)
  • Scale of solution (potential to impact 10,000 household incomes by 10%) (15 points)
  • Implementation Plan (15 points)
  • Potential for university-community partnership (10 points)
  • Decreases racial, ethnic, or geographic inequities (10 points)
  • Innovative, bold, new idea (10 points)
  • Use of supporting evidence (10 points)
  • Sustainability (5 points)
  • Political viability and community support (5 points)


Download and complete the Initial Proposal form. Once you have completed the form, save your responses and upload the form by August 29, 2018, 11:59 pm (CDT).

Upload Form Here

Questions can be directed to