As America’s Un-carrier, T-Mobile knows a thing or two about fixing what’s broken and driving change. It's why Ashoka and T-Mobile are taking the first step in empowering the next generation of changemakers with the launch of the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, a contest for trailblazing teens and young adults. Our organizations will kickstart 25 of the most revolutionary ideas from the nation’s most visionary youth who want to improve their own neighborhoods and communities. Starting today, Americans ages 13-23 who want to make long-lasting positive impact in their communities are encouraged to enter the Challenge by pulling together a team and submitting a plan for how to improve their world. Teams have until the end of May to get their ideas in for consideration.
“Making change happen is what we do,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “Five years ago, we saw a broken, arrogant industry and committed ourselves to changing wireless for good. Today, we’re blown away by the grit and determination of young people who see problems in their schools and communities that need fixing and how they’re leading the way to change. Now more than ever, it’s clear that America’s youth are here to make a difference…with the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, we want to help bring their best ideas to life.”
The T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge will select 25 teams with winning ideas will be announced in June and will get an all-expenses paid trip to Seattle later this summer for a two-day intensive Changemaker Lab focused on mentorship and skills development, hosted at T-Mobile’s Headquarters. In addition, teams will get new devices and seed funding from the T-Mobile Foundation. Teams will finish the Lab with robust plans to take their ideas and make them reality – along with the resources they need to keep their projects going long-term.
On a wide range of today’s most urgent social and environmental issues -- safety, education, poverty, inequality, food and water security and more – America’s youth are stepping up, taking action and driving change. T-Mobile wants to hear what inspires young people to improve their communities and how they see that change coming about. Ideas can be big or small, as long as they drive positive change, are sustainable, and can make a lasting impact.
According to data from the Brookings Institute, 90 percent of students who participate in extracurricular activities that help develop their passions are more motivated to pursue their dreams later in life. In addition, according to Ashoka’s own research, impassioned youth who are encouraged to innovate are also 77 percent more likely to take on leadership roles, and are four times more likely to become top corporate executives.
T-Mobile is partnering with Ashoka for the Changemaker Challenge because for the last 40 years, Ashoka has supported social entrepreneurs as they bring new ideas to systemically address the world’s biggest challenges as well as helped develop their skills to transform those ideas into national, regional and global social impact. Ashoka works around the globe with partners like T-Mobile to support youth with developing core competencies of empathy, teamwork, collaborative leadership, and change-making skills.