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PR- 174-13
May 23, 2013


Young Men Will Have the Opportunity to Win $5,000 Toward A Winning Project On Business Development, Employment or Education

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, Young Men’s Initiative Director Jahmani Hylton and Ashoka Changemakers President Diana Wells today launched “My Voice, Our City: What will you do?,” an online competition encouraging black and Latino young men to offer ideas that could help reduce racial and ethnic disparities in New York City. Individuals, as well as organizations that work directly with young black and Latino men, can submit entries from today through July 24th for a chance to win up to $36,000 in prizes.

“The Young Men’s Initiative was created to reduce the disparities holding back too many young black and Latino men,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “By working together, we can help more young men take control of their lives and futures.”

“We are excited to tap into the creativity, achievement and entrepreneurship that already exist within New York City’s neighborhoods,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “This competition is a chance for young men to propose ideas, share their thoughts and be empowered to help build a better City.”

“This competition represents an opportunity to hear the voices of young people, particularly black and Latino young men,” said Young Men’s Initiative Director Jahmani Hylton. “Through this competition, young people can contribute in a way that can really make a difference to their communities and the City.

“Ashoka excels at uncovering solutions wherever they exist and connecting them so that they work together to accelerate positive change,” said Ashoka President Diana Wells. “We are particularly excited to be bringing these important voices and solutions to the forefront of innovation in New York City as part of the Young Men’s Initiative.”

About the Competition

The Ashoka ChangeMakers Competition is open to all organizations and individuals that have a presence in New York City and have a clear plan to implement their entry in one or more of New York City’s five boroughs. Ideas should reflect the theme of the challenge — “My Voice, Our City: What will you do?,” engage in activities that strengthen New York City for young black and Latino men and address one or more of the following topics:

  • Business Development: What is your idea for a business that would address an unmet need or area of potential in your community?  What’s unique about this business model and how would it benefit your community?

  • Employment Opportunities: What do you think are some successful ways to increase youth and young adult access to employment opportunities? What are your ideas to develop/redevelop or expand an existing program(s)?

  • College Pathways: What do you see as significant opportunities to connect more young adults to post-secondary education?  What are your ideas to redevelop those efforts? 

Proposals should be measurable and sustainable, driven by original ideas and with a financing mechanism, or plan, in place.

Prizes include $36,000 in total unrestricted funding to use towards the implementation or growth of the projects proposed in top entries including:

  • Runner-Up Prize: Three $5,000 prizes will be awarded to the top three entries submitted by participants between the ages of 16 and 24. The top entries in this category will be selected as Finalists by an internal group of Ashoka Changemakers staff and a panel of expert judges. Then the public will vote for their top three Finalists during a two week voting period from September 4-18. The top three vote-getters will each win a Young Men’s prize of $5,000.

  • Grand Prize: A $20,000 prize will be given to strongest overall entry in the competition as determined by an internal group of Ashoka Changemakers staff and a panel of expert judges.

  • Early Entry Prize: Early entries received by June 19, 2013 will be eligible to win one of two cash prizes of up to $500. Being an Early Entry Prize winner does not preclude entrants from winning additional competition prizes. All entries will be evaluated on an equal basis at the completion of the entry period, according to the Changemakers criteria.

For more information about the competition and how to enter, visit

About the Young Men’s Initiative

Through an innovative public-private partnership, including contributions from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement at the Open Society Foundation, the City is investing more than $127 million over a three year period, to support new programs and policies that are designed to address disparities between young black and Latino men and their peers across numerous outcomes related to education, health, employment, and the criminal justice system.

About Ashoka Changemakers

Ashoka Changemakers is a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other. Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process, is one of the world’s most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka's three-decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a changemaker.


Marc La Vorgna/Samantha Levine   (212) 788-2958


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