GHR, a Minneapolis foundation with Catholic roots, developed the BridgeBuilder challenge with OpenIDEO in response to Pope Francis’ call to advance equality and social inclusion through scientific and technological innovation.
The five winners, who will split $1 million, include Peace Direct, which is helping ex-combatants in the Democratic Republic of Congo transition to fair-trade gold mining and BioCarbon Engineering, which is restoring Myanmar’s mangroves with tree-planting drones.
The other winners were Cameroon-based Local Youth Corner, LIFT Chicago and online Arabic language platform NaTakallam. More than 650 projects were submitted for the challenge.
The Pope’s endorsement has spurred a wave of impact investing and social enterprise activity among Catholic organizations.