Research shows that millennials–those born between 1981 and 1996–are suffering from more physical and mental health challenges than previous generations. Millennials are the largest population in the U.S., the most educated, and the largest wealth generators over the next two decades – yet they are in poorer health than previous generations. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s 2019 The Health of Millennials Report found that eight out of 10 top conditions have double-digit increases among millennials and 6 out of 10 are behavioral health conditions. How we handle millennial health and mental health challenges could make or break the economy.
That’s why the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is joining forces with Independence Blue Cross to launch the Well City Challenge - a social impact challenge to engage and support everyday innovators with new creative ideas for addressing Philadelphia’s millennial health and mental health challenges.
The Well City Challenge will support community solutions for millennial health and mental health through incubator workshops, a pitch competition, mentorship, accelerator, over $50,000 in prizes and an additional $50,000 in seed investments. All programming will be virtual, to comply with CDC regulations. We will give preference to ideas that embrace the core values of creativity, collaboration, diversity, inclusiveness, and community orientation. The Challenge is open to individuals, community groups, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and social enterprises. All backgrounds and levels of experience are welcome to submit millennial health or mental health ideas related to our three themes: Community and Social Connection, Food and Nutrition, and Mind/Body.
MEET THE FINALISTS!
These fifteen teams pitched their ideas publicly on March 2, 3, and 4 for a chance to win $10,000 Grand Prizes and $7,500 People's Choice Awards!
The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia (ELGP) and Independence Blue Cross (Independence) today announced the People’s Choice winners of the Well City Challenge. The three winners were selected by members of the public and received $7,500 to continue refining and implementing their ideas to help... Read More
COMMUNITY & SOCIAL CONNECTION
We are seeking ideas on how to experience community and social connection while following CDC guidelines. The ideas could be through technology and social media or outdoor activities that are compliant with social distancing.
Meredith Edlow for Economy League
FOOD & NUTRITION
We are seeking ideas for collaborative, community-oriented ventures that capitalize on the intimate relationship between food and health to address millennial health and mental health in Philadelphia.
Meredith Edlow for Economy League
Because engagement in physical activity and mindfulness are closely tied to health outcomes, we are looking for innovative, collaborative solutions that expand millennial participation in physical activity and mindfulness practices.
HOW THE WELL CITY CHALLENGE WORKS
STEP ONE: The Call for Ideas
October 26 – November 30, 2020: During this period, we accepted proposals in three categories: Community & Social Connection, Food & Nutrition, and Mind/Body. We held a series of online events and social media activations to explain the Challenge and raise awareness of health and mental health challenges facing the millennial generation. We will select up to five finalists in each category to participate in the Well City Challenge.
STEP TWO: The Social Venture Incubator
February 2021: The Well City Challenge finalists will participate in a multi-week incubator comprised of training workshops and mentorship. During these workshops, expert advisors from the Economy League network will help teams refine their concepts and prepare brief pitches. Finalists will also receive support to create compelling crowdfunding campaigns for their ideas and solicit donations.
STEP THREE: Pitch Competition
Early March 2021: Teams will gather at an interactive event to pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges. Judges will select one team from each category to receive a grand prize of $10,000 to support the implementation of a pilot of their concept. There will also be People's Choice Awards of up to $7,500 in each category.
STEP FOUR: The Impact Accelerator
March – June 2021: Grand Prize winners and People's Choice Award winners will participate in an Impact Accelerator designed to help teams develop and execute rapid pilot projects, create full business plans that maximize impact and articulate paths to operational sustainability, and prepare pitches to funders for seed investment to scale their concepts. The impact accelerator will culminate with a Funder Roundtable where at least $50,000 in seed investment will be made in selected teams.
STEP FIVE: The Community Showcase
July 2021: The Economy League will convene another interactive event where teams will report out to the community on the results of their pilot projects and pitch their business plans. Seed investment will be announced publicly during this Community Showcase.
PLEASE NOTE: The Challenge will be conducted in compliance with CDC regulations and social distancing orders which will be routinely assessed as public health considerations may shift over the course of the Challenge.
Our call for ideas process is searching for proposals for innovative solutions that can improve millennial health and mental health in the Philadelphia area from our three focus areas 1) Community and Social Connection, Food and Nutrition, Mind/Body.
We are particularly interested in health-related ideas that:
- are rooted in community
- prioritize diversity and inclusion
- embrace creative approaches to collaboration and partnership;
- can be piloted at a small scale;
- have the potential to be replicated or scaled, and;
- are not overly duplicative of services or programs already in place in the Philadelphia area.
1. Submission supports physical health or mental health for the millennial population, people born between 1981-1996
2. Submission provides a health solution relating to one of the three focus areas (Food /Nutrition, Community & Social Connection, Mind/Body)
3. Applicants are at least 21 years of age
4. Team submissions are comprised of no more than four people
5. Either the individual applicant or if applying as a team - at least one applicant team member, lives or works in the Philadelphia area (comprised of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties)
6. Employees of Independence Blue Cross and its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates are ineligible to apply to the Well City Challenge
To preview application questions, view this pdf.
The Well City Challenge Call for Ideas closed on Monday, November 30 at 5:00 PM ET.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question about the Well City Challenge? Email your question with the Subject “FAQ” to wellcityPHL@economyleague.org. Answers to commonly asked questions will be posted here weekly.
Q: Is there any cost to submit an idea for the Well City Challenge?
A: There are no costs or fees to apply to the Well City Challenge.
Q: Are you required to submit an idea as a team?
A: Ideas can be submitted from individuals or from teams of no more than four people.
Q: How many ideas will be selected for the pitch competition?
A: From our call from ideas application, we will select up to fifteen ideas, five from each of our content themes (Food and Nutrition, Community and Social Connection, Mind/Body)
Q: In what stage of development should your idea be?
A: The Well City Challenge is best suited for those in the idea stage, early stage ventures or existing organizations that are trying to expand into a new market. The incubator and accelerator are designed to help people develop and pilot their ideas.
Q: Can I submit more than one idea?
A: We encourage you to submit your strongest ideas. Applicants are welcome to submit more than one idea.
Q: Can there be a cost associated with my idea?
A: The Well City Challenge is open to for-profit and non-profit ideas. There is no fee to apply for the Well City Challenge.
Q: Can I submit my idea to all three categories (Community & Social Connection, Food & Nutrition, Mind/Body)?
A: No, the application requires that you submit your idea to one category.
Q: What time of day will the incubator happen?
A: If your application is selected as a Well City Challenge finalist, your team will participate in the Well City Challenge virtual rapid incubator workshops for approximately 8-10 hours over the course of two weeks in January 2021. These scheduled dates are still being finalized. We are looking to host most programming in the early evening.