How can communities of color use technology to advance racial equity and access economic opportunity, health, and safety?

June 16, 2021

Challenge Overview

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in the US have created resilient, culturally rich, and generous communities despite centuries of institutionalized racism, anti-Blackness, settler colonialism, and oppression. The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the disparities between BIPOC and white communities in the US, including in wealth, education, incarceration, and health. These disparities are primarily a result of the system working as initially intended, whether through current policies, biased enforcement of rules, or a lasting legacy of past programs such as redlining or the allotment of Native lands. Further, a new wave of technologies has added or perpetuated racial bias, expanded predatory surveillance systems, and driven hidden decision-making under the guise of neutral algorithms.

Solutions that help end enduring injustice will take many forms. In addition to policy changes and dedicated resources driven by intersectional advocacy, technology and innovation also have roles to play. Movements like afrofuturism, community-led efforts on digital literacy, indigenous data sovereignty, and the use of data science for positive change all speak to the potential of technology to support, inspire, and liberate BIPOC communities. 

The MIT Solve community is searching for technology-based solutions by and for communities of color that help create antiracist and equitable futures in the US. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that: 

  • Provide tools and opportunities for equitable access to jobs, credit, and generational wealth creation in communities of color. 

  • Catalyze civic engagement and enable communities to plan and control their own housing and industrial land development and ownership patterns. 

  • Create new public safety systems that ensure racial equity and provide alternatives to harmful technologies such as biased facial recognition.

  • Actively minimize human and algorithmic biases, particularly in healthcare, education, and workplace settings.


Do you have a solution to a global problem? Apply to Solve's Global Challenges, which are open for solutions from March to June each year. Finalists in our Challenges will pitch their solutions to a panel of expert judges and an audience of 400+ leaders at Solve Challenge Finals in September during UN General Assembly Week in New York City. Those that are ultimately selected as a Solver will:

  • Receive access to funding in grants and investments, including through prizes and Solve Innovation Future;
  • Join a class of impressive peers that act as trusted support group, offering inspiration and guidance—and recognition and access as a Solver alumni team after completion of the program; 
  • Join a powerful network of impact-minded leaders across industries and sectors, with dedicated spaces to meet year-round and during Solve’s flagship events such as Solve at MIT;  
  • Access mentorship, coaching, and strategic advice from experts, as well as the Solve and MIT networks; 
  • Receive a monitoring and evaluation track to support you in building your impact measurement practice; 
  • Gain exposure in the media and at conferences;
  • Access relevant in-kind resources such as software licenses and legal services from Solve Member and partner organizations. 

Solver Funding 

All solutions selected for Solve’s five current Global Challenges will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve. Solver teams will be selected by a panel of cross-sector judges at Virtual Solve Challenge Finals on September 19, 2021.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize is open to solutions that directly address the health and well-being of people in the US. The prize is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which aims to raise the health of everyone in the United States by using a health equity lens to place well-being at the center of every aspect of life. Up to $150,000 will be granted to up to four eligible teams from the Antiracist Tech Challenge, the Indigenous Communities Fellowship, and the Health Security & Pandemics Challenge.

The ASA Prize for Equitable Education

The ASA Prize for Equitable Education will award a prize for digital solutions tailored to U.S.-based primary and secondary classrooms that provide career exploration or experimentation. Solutions that are embedded as part of core curriculum, utilize project based learning, ensure equitable access, and have an emphasis on teacher professional development are preferred. American Student Assistance® (ASA) is committed to helping students know themselves, know their options, and make informed decisions to achieve their education and career goals. Up to $250,000 will be granted to or invested in solutions from the Equitable Classrooms Challenge, the Digital Inclusion Challenge, the Antiracist Technology in the US Challenge, and/or Indigenous Communities Fellowship.

The Elevate Prize for Antiracist Technology

The Elevate Prize for Antiracist Technology is open to nonprofit leaders who are helping to create an antiracist and equitable future in the US. This prize is funded by the Elevate Prize Foundation, which aims to elevate humanity on a global scale by funding, guiding, and scaling the platforms of social entrepreneurs. A minimum of $300,000 will be granted to 1 nonprofit Solver from the Antiracist Technology in the US Challenge. This exemplar leader will take part in both the MIT Solver program and the Elevate Prize winners program and receive ongoing support from MIT Solve and the Elevate Prize Foundation. Learn more about the Elevate Prize here.

The GM Prize

The GM Prize is open to solutions that help create smart, safe, and sustainable communities around the world. The Prize is funded by General Motors, which is working toward becoming the most inclusive company in the world, and dedicated to making STEM education more accessible and equitable. Up to $150,000 will be granted to up to six recipients from the Antiracist Technology in the US, Equitable Classrooms, and Resilient Ecosystems Challenges.

The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity

The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity is open to solutions that advance inclusion, digital literacy, and economic opportunity in communities across the US and globally. Up to $100,000 will be granted to up to four recipients from the Antiracist Technology in the US and Digital Inclusion Challenges.

Innovation for Women Prize

Solutions that use innovative technology to improve quality of life for women and girls are eligible for the Innovation for Women Prize. This prize is funded by the Vodafone Americas Foundation, which supports technology-focused projects that advance the needs of women and girls, and that promote a world where women’s voices can be celebrated. Up to $75,000 will be granted across up to three Solver teams from any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.