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The Alliance for the American Dream: DreamUp Wisconsin

Congratulations to the Winning Teams

Connect Rx WI is Poised to help Thousands of Dane County families

Opportunity Calculator Aims to Boost Dane County Residents’ Income

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What is DreamUp Wisconsin, and who is funding it?

  • DreamUp Wisconsin is the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s (UW’s) implementation of The Alliance for the American Dream, a new community-university collaboration funded by Schmidt Futures that aims to promote shared prosperity and increase American competitiveness. UW is one of four public universities chosen by Schmidt Futures to partner in this work.
  • Schmidt Futures is a venture facility for public benefit that works to advance society through technology, inspire breakthroughs in scientific knowledge, and promote shared prosperity.

What is the goal of DreamUp, and who is leading UW’s effort?

  • The first challenge of The Alliance of the American Dream, and, thus, for DreamUp, is a call for proposals—whether policy ideas or investable concepts for public benefit—to raise net income by 10% for 10,000 middle class families in Dane County. Proposals may focus on increasing income or decreasing costs of living.
  • Proposals should be interdisciplinary, grounded in modern technological tools and data science, and both draw from and benefit a diverse set of people and communities.
  • The UW Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) is excited to lead the initiative with its many campus partners, local organizations, government leaders, and community members.

What is the timeline for the initiative?*

May–Sept. 2019
Idea cultivation & office hours Thursdays 3:30-5:30 p.m.

October 2019
A review committee selects the top five proposals. Prize: $20,000

January 2020
Top five teams pitch refined proposals to the review committee. Three teams will advance. Prize: $20,000

June 2020
Top three teams pitch at the Alliance for the American Dream semi-finals. Up to two teams could advance. Prize: $20,000

September 2020
Top team(s) pitches to Schmidt Futures leadership. At least, one WI team could win additional catalytic implementation funding.

*This timeline was impacted by and adjusted for Covid-19 precautions.

How can community members get involved?

Spread the word and help generate ideas! Invite us to your next meeting; come to DreamUp MeetUps; speak with our community relations coordinators, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and submit your idea(s) on the website. See the Call for Proposals. 

Where can I learn more?

DreamUp Wisconsin received 55 proposals to help Dane County's emerging and fragile middle class and meet the DreamUp challenge. The proposals came from teams of community organizations, university faculty and staff, businesses, public service providers, and government officials. This fact sheet describes the teams and their ideas.
DreamUp WI Proposal Summary | Dane County | 2019

Thumbnail of DreamUp Wisconsin 2019 Challenge FlyerMission

Bring together community, business, government, and non-profit networks to partner with UW–Madison (UW) to expand economic security and shared prosperity in Dane County.


Seek and cultivate innovative entrepreneurial and policy ideas that raise net income by 10% for 10,000 Dane County middle-class households. Proposals may increase income and/or decrease expenses. Proposals should be interdisciplinary, use technological tools and data science, and draw from and benefit a diverse set of people and communities.


DreamUp WI is UW’s implementation of the Alliance for the American Dream initiative, a collaboration with the UW Institute for Research on Poverty and Schmidt Futures. Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that seeks to improve societal outcomes through the thoughtful development of emerging science and technologies.

Learn about and connect with the winning teams from Round 1

Learn about Round 1 (2018/2019)

Meet the DreamUp WI Leadership Team

Meet the DreamUp WI Proposal Review Committee

We Want to Hear from You

Use our contact form to tell us about:
How can we boost the income or reduce expenses of 10,000 families in Dane County by $4,000?
Are there any organizations, upcoming events or meetings we should connect with?

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Receive updates on the Alliance by joining our email list! To subscribe, send a blank e-mail (no subject line or message) to:

Contact Information

Phone: 608-265-1054
Email: DreamUpAlliance@wisc.edu

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Revised DreamUp Wisconsin Challenge Timeline impacted and adjusted for Covid-19 precautions. May 2019: MeetUps; October 2019: five proposals advance and win $20K; January 2020: five teams pitch and 3 advance and win $20K; June 2020: three teams pitch at semi-final, at least one team advances and wins $20K; September 2020: top teams pitch to Schmidt Futures for catalytic funding.