The Finalists

Congratulations to the three finalist teams for the DreamUP WI Challenge to help 10,000 Dane County households increase their net income by 10 percent by 2020. The DreamUp WI Community-University Review Committee choose three finalist teams to pitch their ideas to Schmidt Futures at Arizona State University on January 29, 2019.

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that seeks to improve societal outcomes through the thoughtful development of emerging science and technologies that can benefit humanity.

To realize this vision, Schmidt Futures uses a broad set of tools—including gifts, grants, investments, and startup activity—for charitable, educational, and commercial efforts with a public purpose.

Our initiative brings together the efforts of various charitable and non-charitable entities to improve our potential impact by making diverse types of capital available to the efforts we support.

LIFT Dane Group

LIFT (Legal Interventions for Transforming) Dane

Legal Action of Wisconsin, UW Law School, and Employment and Training Association (EATA) of Dane County 

“Thousands of Dane County households are weighed down by fixable civil legal problems—such as suspended driver’s licenses, consumer debt, child support arrears, and criminal records—that prevent them from advancing in the workforce, securing housing, and stabilizing their families. LIFT Dane will make data about these problems accessible to everyday residents; conduct holistic legal checkups to identify problems with legal solutions; and connect people to free legal aid to address these fixable legal problems. By removing barriers to finding and retaining a job, LIFT Dane’s low-cost, high-impact, tech-driven vision will boost local incomes, transform the middle class, and become a national model,” said Vicky Selkowe, Director of Legislative, Rulemaking & Training Compliance at Legal Action of Wisconsin.

We Care for Dane Kids

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, Reach Dane, Satellite Family Child Care Systems, the UW Schools of Social Work and Education, the City of Madison, and Madison Out-of-School Time, and TASC

A multi-pronged approach to transforming the early childhood and after school care sectors that would supplement income for workers and child care costs, reduce operating expenses for facilities, and create a child care benefit program.

“Child care and Out-of-School Time care is expensive and hard to find, but absolutely essential to how our county’s economy functions.  Despite the critical role this sector plays in our community, the workers who do this work still don’t earn enough. The DreamUp challenge brought us together to find ambitious solutions to the dramatic under-investment in child care and Out-of-School Time. We are excited about the opportunity to solve these problems that impact so many households in Dane County,” said the We Care for Dane Kids team.


Urban League of Greater Madison, United Way of Dane County, Latino Academy of Workforce Development, Dane County Human Services, Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin, Common Wealth Development, American Family Insurance, the City of Madison, and the UW Center for Financial Security

A program to help employees advance in their jobs, EARNDane will develop an app that is “part LinkedIn for entry-level workers and part FitBit for your finances” to help those on the cusp of the middle class build their professional networks and make career and financial empowerment plans. The app will be supported by a robust engagement campaign that leverages the extensive reach of the Dane County Employment & Training Network, area employers, and the partners listed above.

“EARNDane’s plan to combine the strengths of our community-based partners with technology and innovation is an exciting opportunity that can support our company’s workforce development, diversity and inclusion strategies,” said Sarah Condella, Senior Vice President for Human Resources, Exact Sciences.