T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation Launch 2nd Annual Changemaker Challenge for Young Visionaries

T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation and Ashoka kicked off the second-annual T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, a nationwide contest to mobilize the next generation of youth who are ready to create positive change in their communities! Starting today through Sept. 26, youth teams can enter the Challenge by submitting a project that drives social change in one of three categories: Technology, the Environment or Education.

Winners selected by senior leaders from T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation will receive seed funding and a three-day Changemaker Lab experience in Bellevue, Wash., to help take their projects to the next level.

“T-Mobile is all about driving change for good—that’s why we launched the Changemaker Challenge last year and are excited to kick it off again in 2019!” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile and president of T-Mobile Foundation. “Today’s young people inspire me! They have innovative, dynamic, BIG ideas for making this world an even better place—Changemaker Challenge will give them a boost to make them even BIGGER!” 

Here’s how it works:

  • Starting now, youth can visit t-mobile.com/changemaker to get all the information they need to participate in the Challenge and enter. Submissions close Sept. 26!
  • In November, T-Mobile will announce the Top 30 teams—10 from each of the three categories. Each team will receive seed funding and an all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Wash., headquarters in December for the Changemaker Lab, a three-day immersive experience in which teams will receive mentorship from T-Mobile executives, skills training from Ashoka and network opportunities with other amazing teams.
  •  From the Top 30 teams, the best in each of the three categories will receive additional seed funding and the opportunity to pitch their projects to senior leadership teams of T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation.
  • From the three Category Finalist teams, one grand prize winner will receive even MORE seed funding and a SECOND all-expenses-paid trip back to T-Mobile’s HQ for further hands-on mentorship to continue supercharging their ideas.

T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation are again partnering with Ashoka to deliver Changemaker Challenge 2019. For more than 20 years, Ashoka, a 501(c)(3) organization, has supported young social entrepreneurs as they address the world’s biggest challenges, strengthening their skills and transforming their ideas into regional, national and global social impact.

“At Ashoka, we know young people need powerful learning experiences to build empathy, find their purpose and take the lead,” said Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka. “Ashoka is proud to support T-Mobile’s Changemaker Challenge, pairing leaders in the tech industry with leading youth changemakers—a winning combination for changing the world for good.”  

Last year, T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation provided $60,000 in seed funding to help 30 top teams fast-track their world-changing ideas. Concepts ranged from smashing the stigma of mental health to breaking down barriers between general and special education students to using crowdsourcing to connect high schoolers to financial aid and scholarships. The teams came together at T-Mobile headquarters for the first-ever Changemaker Lab to workshop their ideas and network with other winners. CEO John Legere liked some of the ideas so much, he selected six teams as his own personal CEO Picks and donated another $30,000 out of his own pocket.

One of those CEO Picks was 24-year-old grand-prize winner J.I. Cruz, who submitted a project focused on bringing solar power to storm-threatened rural communities in Puerto Rico.

“Participating in the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge gave me the confidence I needed to understand I had an idea worth fighting for at a time that was critical for my community,” Cruz said. “The seed money allowed me to start putting my ideas into practice—with some extra resources behind me. It’s helped me to dare to dream and make these dreams come true. That sounds super cheesy, but it’s the truth!”