Our community of changemakers continued to grow in 2022, with people across the world stepping up to lead impactful projects in their neighbourhoods. From play to sustainability, and digital skills to inclusion, communities came together to drive positive change through a wide range of projects.
In 2022, we funded 755 community projects across 10 countries, more than double the number supported in 2021.
ChangeX grew significantly in 2022, empowering more communities across the world to thrive by giving them access to proven ideas and finance, and developing our network of funding partners and social innovators. We extended our partnership with the LEGO Foundation, expanded to new regions with AWS InCommunities and Microsoft, and launched a new partnership with Nickelodeon.
We added more than 40 social innovators to our platform, supporting them to scale their ideas across multiple countries.
At the core of our model is the belief that communities working together have the power to drive positive change. In 2022, over 9,000 new social connections were made in communities across the world as a result of projects supported by ChangeX.
And we more than doubled our team as we continued to build the skills and expertise we need to deliver on our goal of impacting one billion people globally by 2030.
A year of expansion
2022 saw us expand our global footprint, launching in 6 new countries.
With support from the LEGO Foundation, and in partnership with social impact agency Purpose and the Together For Play movement, we launched eight community funds across Colombia and Brazil at the start of 2022. The initiative has supported 86 new play projects in Brazil and 82 in Colombia, benefitting more than 30,000 children across the two countries.
Among the projects funded was the first ever playground to be built in the Brazilian town of Caeté-Açu. Brilho de Cristal School was awarded funding to start Playground Ideas, which is designed to equip anyone, anywhere to build a stimulating space for play using only local materials, tools and labour.
“It was a dream to have a playground. Now that we do, I’m super happy.”
– Levi, 9 years old
May saw us launch our first fund in Mexico, the AWS InCommunities Mexico Fund, which supported non-profit organisations in southern Mexico to start or expand community projects related to economic development, education and access, and inclusion, diversity and equity. A total of 32 projects across 6 states (Chiapas, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo) were awarded funding.
Among the projects to receive funding was the DHBUS, a modified bus that serves as a mobile classroom. The educational initiative, developed by an organisation called Culture Box Project, is designed to bring educational programmes to hard to reach, vulnerable communities. So far, it has helped around 3,105 young people, across 10 different locations.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Microsoft, we launched our first funds in both Spain and Austria in 2022.
First up was the Madrid Community Challenge, which launched in May. So far, this fund has supported 11 local groups to kickstart impactful projects in their community. One idea, Murals for Communities, proved especially popular in the region. Through public art projects centred on mural art, Murals for Communities, enables communities to connect, learn new skills and have fun.
And as the year drew to a close, we launched the Austria Community Challenge, again supported by Microsoft. There was very strong interest from the local community and we look forward to distributing funding in early 2023 as local groups progress through our 30 Day Challenge.
Creating playful experiences
In 2022, we announced an extension of our partnership with the LEGO Foundation to create more playful experiences in communities across the world.
This multi-year, multi-million euro partnership will support play-related community projects that will benefit 250,000 children across 12 countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.
During summer 2022, we worked with the LEGO Foundation as part of its Build A World of Play Campaign to launch seven play-focused community funds in seven countries: Ireland, the UK, the US, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Denmark. These funds were designed to activate more learning through play projects in communities, mobilise local community changemakers and scale proven play ideas.
So far, more than 200 local groups across the seven countries have received funding to start impactful play projects in their communities. And, in each of the seven countries where we launched play funds, new projects are continuing to come to life. Already more than 5,000 children have benefitted from this initiative, and that number continues to grow.
We worked with more than 20 social innovators as part of this campaign, bringing their ideas to new regions with the support of these seven community play funds. From creating play spaces to storytelling initiatives, and building STEM skills to teacher training, the ideas on offer have empowered community groups, parents and caregivers across the world to create more playful experiences for children.
For example, one of the ideas available in Ireland was Playful Streets, an easy, social and low cost way to create child friendly play spaces on neigbourhood streets by opening them to play and temporarily limiting traffic. This idea is an initiative of A Playful City.
“Play can bridge gaps – with different generations mixing, teaching others games they play or played and bringing outdoor fun into the fabric of your neighbourhood.”
– Neasa Ní Bhriain, creative director, A Playful City
Working with funding partners to empower communities
In 2022, we continued to drive positive community change with the support of our funding partners. We extended our partnerships with some funders, launching in new regions and returning to existing communities with new funding opportunities. Plus we worked with new partners to extend our reach and focus on new areas of impact.
In October, we teamed up with our latest funding partner, Nickelodeon, to launch two community funds in the United States to support kid-directed projects. We’re delighted to be working with Nickelodeon in Los Angeles and Atlanta to empower young activists and changemakers to start impactful community projects related to arts, STEM, play and environmental sustainability.
Working with grown-up co-leaders, kids are actively leading projects and getting the chance to shape their communities for the better.
Also, the Community Challenge model that we developed with Microsoft’s support continues to prove popular with communities across the United States and Europe. To date, our work with Microsoft has supported more than 500 projects related to environmental sustainability, digital skills and community prosperity.
For example, Jessica Avalos-Alvarez, a teacher at the Young Men’s Leadership Academy in San Antonio, Texas, started a pollinator garden to help her students connect with nature.
“Many of our kids have grown up in very urban areas and they just don’t get to see that much of nature. So this project has given them a chance to really admire the beauty that nature can be.”
Funding from Microsoft also supported a cluster of projects across libraries in Virginia in the United States, including a composting project and a coding project.
“Libraries are no longer just buildings with books in them. They are hubs within communities and have the power to drive change. Community building and community-responsive enrichment are two of Prince William Public Libraries’ seven strategic goals, and support from Microsoft and ChangeX helped us progress toward these goals.”
Over the course of 2022, we saw some amazing environmental projects come to life in Ireland as a result of funding from the Accenture Sustainability Challenge, which we launched in late 2021. A total of 22 projects across the country received funding, and we are looking forward to extending our partnership with Accenture in 2023.
Among the funded projects was an Open Orchard project in Skerries in North County Dublin. Read their story.
The Accenture fund also supported a Repair Café in Roscommon. The project has helped build community connection. “People want to do good, they want to help out, they get pride from it,” said Joe Cribbin, the project leader. “It’s a social thing too.”
In response to the crisis in Ukraine, we launched our Community Response Fund in mid-2022, dedicated to helping people in the Republic of Ireland to welcome and support Ukrainian refugees into local communities. This fund is supported by the Community Response Coalition, a growing group of corporates and foundations, anchored by Deloitte Ireland and supported by AWS InCommunities and Communities for Ukraine.
For example, Enniscorthy Fáilte, a group in Wexford, Ireland, received funding from the Community Response Fund. The group hosts regular events such as ‘Talking Club’, yoga classes and music workshops to foster better integration.
New options for community changemakers
In 2022, we continued to bring proven ideas and funding to communities across the globe. We also added a new funding option in some regions, giving communities an opportunity to apply for funding to start or expand a project of their choice.
For example, we partnered with AWS to launch a number of community funds across Europe, the United States and Latin America in 2022.
In each region, community members could choose to apply for funding to start one of a carefully curated portfolio of proven ideas from the ChangeX platform or apply for funding to start or expand a community project of their choice (within specific themes/parameters).
Supporting scale: working with social innovators
Here at ChangeX, we work with social innovators from around the world to scale proven ideas. Our platform connects community changemakers with these proven ideas and the funding they need to bring those ideas to life in their communities.
Since we launched, we’ve helped many social innovators to scale their ideas.
For example, one of the ideas to scale with us is Urban Thinkscape, an initiative of Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network, which enables people to transform a public space in their community into a joyful learning opportunity. Since going live on the ChangeX platform in November 2020, Urban Thinkscape has scaled in eight countries, with more than 60 funded projects and over 10,000 reported beneficiaries.
For example, a community in Virginia in the United States transformed a disused public space into a place for playful learning. Read their story.
It’s more than four years since Grow Remote co-founder Tracy Keogh brought her idea to the ChangeX platform. She worked with us to make it easier for remote workers to connect with each other and their communities, by packaging the idea via our platform and guiding people through the process of starting a local chapter. There are now more than 200 Grow Remote chapters dotted across the world.
Adding new ideas to our platform
2022 saw us add more than 40 new ideas to our platform, including PlantPure Communities, Tales Toolkit and Education for Sharing.
Some of our newest social innovators shared their thoughts on their journey with us.
“ChangeX has opened doors and windows for us! Collaborating with them allowed us to expand the reach of our main objective as an organisation – forming better global citizens from childhood through the power of play – to new latitudes and places we never imagined we would be.”
-Dina Buchbinder Auron, Founder and President, Education for Sharing
“Coming off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the cost of living soaring and with school and local authority budgets as they are (especially in the UK) our partnership with ChangeX could not have come at a better time. We have always worked internationally, but ChangeX has empowered us to reach settings, and improve outcomes for children in countries we might not otherwise have reached. Tales Toolkit is about improving the early years learning experience and outcomes for children, and the bottom line is that ChangeX is helping us do that for more children, all over the world.”
–Kate Shelley, CEO and Founder, Tales Toolkit
Through its network of ‘Pods’ across the world, PlantPure Communities (PPC) wants to inspire people to eat more plant-based food. Learn about their ChangeX experience.
The year ahead
In 2023, we’ll be continuing to grow, building on the success of our existing partnerships, and launching in new regions and new languages. We plan to launch funds in up to 15 countries in 2023, and will add many more amazing ideas to our platform, meaning more people across the world will have access to the great ideas and funding they need to drive positive change in their communities.
Thank you to our global community
We want to thank every member of our ChangeX community for your continued belief in our mission, and for the part you play in helping it to come to life.
To the community changemakers who started impactful projects, we want to thank you for giving so generously of your time to enrich your communities.
To the social innovators who chose ChangeX as a means of scaling their ideas, we thank you for your trust in us and look forward to continuing to grow together in the months and years to come.
To our funding partners, we are grateful for your belief, commitment and financial support. Thank you for working with us to empower communities to thrive.
To our advisers and investors, and everyone who supported ChangeX throughout 2022, thanks so much for being part of our journey.
If you have any questions for us or would like to get involved (either to start an impactful project in your community, scale your idea or fund community projects), please get in touch: [email protected]