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Mayor Bloomberg and Ashoka Changemakers Announce Winners of Young Men’s Initiative Competition Soliciting Ideas to Improve Future Opportunities for Young Black and Latino Men

October 9, 2013

Winners of “My Voice, Our City” Competition Receive Funding Toward A Winning Project on Business Development, Employment or Education

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Ashoka Changemakers President Diana Wells today announced the winners of a Young Men’s Initiative competition inviting young men and community based organizations to propose ideas that would increase opportunities and reduce disparities among young black and Latino men. The City’s Young Men’s Initiative partnered with Ashoka Changemakers for the “My Voice, Our City: What will you do?” competition, which received more than 120 submissions from New York City-based innovators after its launch at the end of May 2013. The Grand Prize of $20,000 is awarded to STEM for All, which offers students the opportunity to develop skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math by increasing access to a community of peers, mentors and academic resources, including e-learning platforms and open-sourced curricula.

“This competition, which rewards innovation and entrepreneurship, is designed to help more young people fulfill their potential,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Through programs like this, the Young Men’s Initiative is continuing to break down barriers to success and reduce the disparities that hold back too many young black and Latino men.”

“Our focus was to identify game-changing innovations that unlock employment opportunities, college pathways, and that meet community needs through business development,” said Ashoka President Diana Wells. “The winners of this competition were already making a difference in New York City, a city of more than eight million people. More positive outcomes are surely on the way.”

The $20,000 grand-prize winner, STEM for All, was the strongest overall entry in the competition as determined by Ashoka Changemakers and a panel of expert judges. Submitted by Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering, Inc. (ELiTE), this program offers students the opportunity to develop skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math by increasing their access to a community of peers and mentors and academic resources, including e-learning platforms and open-sourced curricula. Led by trained engineers from top universities, STEM for All is creating a pipeline of diverse, motivated, and socially responsible professionals who have the skills to design solutions to community challenges in the U.S. and abroad.

The three runner-up prize winners, chosen from ten finalists by public vote during a two-week period in early September 2013, will each receive $5,000 in prize funding. They include:

  • College Pathways from Rikers Island. Submitted by the College Initiative, this program provides young men at New York City’s main jail complex, many of whom never considered college an option, the chance to imagine themselves – and succeed – as college students with unprecedented access to community-based support to transition successfully to academic life.
  • South Bronx United (SBU), an organization that leverages the power of soccer to help young people, particularly young men from immigrant families, to become leaders and scholars. SBU engages young New Yorkers through their passion for the sport and then provides educational, mentoring, and support services to help them achieve greater success on and off the pitch.
  • ScriptEd, an organization that empowers students from low-income communities by bringing computer programming courses directly to their schools, and helping them secure summer internship opportunities with software developers.

For more information about the competition, 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

Alex Beyard (Ashoka Changemakers) (301) 648-3000

Marc La Vorgna/Samantha Levine

(212) 788-2958