Brownsville Community Fridge

#PowerToCommunities – Our 2020 Highlights

2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year, a year full of uncertainty and difficulty, with many losing friends or family members and experiencing loneliness, isolation, and mental health issues. Our mission to create more resilient, healthy, sustainable, and connected communities feels more important than ever before.

Among all the darkness of 2020, there have however been chinks of light and silver linings. We’ve seen resilience, adaptability, and innovation all around us, as people found new ways to help others, new ways to stay connected, and many new solutions to emerging challenges.

At ChangeX, we’ve been inspired by our growing community of changemakers in Ireland, the UK, and across the US, stepping up and starting ideas to help people stay active, healthy, and connected. Our network of social innovators quickly adapted their programs or designed new ones to support local communities and we’re so grateful to our funding partners, particularly Microsoft and Web Summit, whose support allowed us to grow our impact this year.

Answering The Community Call

Back in March, we were blown away by the speed and tenacity with which people began to organize and innovate to address the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities. We were privileged and grateful to receive a generous grant from the Web Summit team, allowing us to launch #thecommunitycall in Ireland, a collaborative effort with 20 social enterprises and thousands of community leaders across Ireland, to help people stay active, healthy, and connected, as we all stayed apart.

Here are some of the highlights:

Thousands of people across Ireland stayed active and connected by growing food at home

How 450 people started to sew masks for people living in Direct Provision

How Good Grub and FoodCloud served the rising demand for food during the pandemic

Expanding our partnership with Microsoft

In 2019, we launched a partnership with Microsoft, launching the #MicrosoftCommunityChallenge in Arizona and Chicago. Local community leaders apply for funding and support to start a ChangeX project in their local community. This year, we expanded to 8 regions across the US and launched our first fund in the UK. 148 teams have now started projects across the areas of environmental sustainability, digital skills, and community prosperity.

At the recent launch of the 2020 Chicago Community Challenge, Pearl Ramsey described what being part of the 2019 Challenge meant for her and her community garden:

Sometimes, it’s amazing how one kind deed can change a life… Being part of the Microsoft Community Challenge provided me with strength, inspiration, and hope and that is what I was able to give to the community. Now people come to our garden because they want to be thereChangeX provided us with more than money, they provided us with a community of support…


– Pearl Ramsey, started a GIY Group in Chicago

Here are some more stories from starters in the #MicrosoftCommunityChallenge

Anne and her team in Tenby, Wales are tackling food waste with community spirit

How starters adapted and kept going during the pandemic

For Kimberly and her team in Leesburg, Virginia, it’s more than just a Community Fridge

Growing the number of ideas on ChangeX

We added 16 new ideas to the ChangeX platform in 2020. Some of these grew out of #thecommunitycall, addressing particular community needs that emerged during the pandemic, such as Neighbourhood Network, which we have no doubt will go on to play an important role in keeping our communities healthy, sustainable and connected as we look forward to a brighter 2021.

In a year when we all relied on technology for work, school, and staying connected to our communities, we added 4 new ideas to inspire, educate, and equip kids with the computing skills needed to thrive in an online world. Read more about some of them here.

We also announced a partnership with Project Drawdown, the world’s leading source of climate solutions, to increase the adoption of climate solutions at a local community level. We’ll work together to identify, package, and support the spread of the best community-based solutions; providing community leaders with the ideas, support, and resources they need to activate and have an impact.

Looking ahead to 2021

Inspired by the resilience and commitment we’ve seen this year in the ChangeX community, we’re already excited about kicking off 2021. Early in the new year, we’ll be launching new community funds in Dublin, Sweden and Cheyenne, Wyoming; and adding new ideas such as the Pollinator Plan and Tiny Forests.

We want to say a massive thank you to the fantastic team of partners, advisors, investors, starters, and believers who have supported us throughout 2020. THANK YOU! None of this would have happened without your commitment and support.

If you want to be a part of the ChangeX vision, whether you want to start an idea in your community, spread your idea to new communities, or fund the activation of projects in communities, please get in touch: [email protected]

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