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Macarthur Foundation Offers 100K Prize for Your Provocative Ideas for Improving our Democracy

Win $100,000 through the MacArthur Foundation and the Illinois Humanities Council by submitting your idea for a more perfect nation.

Did the 2012 elections exhaust you? Has the dialogue—or tone—in Washington changed at all in the last decade? Are the things important to you, your community, our country, being dealt with?

Most Americans would answer Yes, No and No to those questions. And as sure as we are that those are your answers, we are pretty sure that you’ve been talking about this frustrating state of affairs with your friends, your colleagues at work, your family and pretty much every one else. Given that you’re here on GOOD, it probably means you have ideas and passion to change the way government works, to build a more perfect nation, and to deliver on the promise of democracy.


We want to hear—and see—those ideas. We want you to help us change the conversation in D.C., and in statehouses around the country. So together we have launched Looking@Democracy.

This national challenge is to produce short, digital media pieces that offer fresh, creative ideas on why government is important to our lives or how individuals and communities can come together to strengthen American democracy.

What sort of submissions are we looking for? Address a critical topic absent from the national debate. Dive into a data project that reveals a compelling truth. Highlight a positive example of democracy in action. Create an app that makes it easier to exercise or engage in democracy.

We’re excited to see what you come up with. Any digital formats are welcome: short videos, audio clips, animation, music videos, public service announcements, infographics and graphic art to Facebook and iPhone apps. Check out the rules for submissions here.

The contest is open from now until April 30, 2013. Then our judges, and you, will choose the most interesting, compelling and actionable ideas.

Together with representatives from the MacArthur Foundation and Illinois Humanities Council, the judges are: Maria Hinojosa of Public Radio’s Latino USA; Kevin Coval, co-founder and artistic director of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Teen Poetry Festival; filmmaker Byron Hurt (Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes); and Ian Inaba, film director (American Blackout) and Executive Director of the Citizen Engagement Laboratory.

Winners will be showcased on a national platform. There is a total of $100,000 in prizes at stake. We are also including a People’s Choice and Emerging Artists categories, which will allow everyone who follows the competition a chance to participate.

Help spark a new conversation, change the tone and move our democracy forward. We can do it, together.

Visit the website for full challenge rules and additional information or follow it on Twitter at @LookDemocracy.

By Geoffrey Banks, Illinois Humanities Council, and Kathy Im, MacArthur Foundation

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