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Focus Areas, Eligibility Criteria & Awards

Focus Areas

We are looking for bold ideas in the following areas:

Digital Empowerment – Solutions that help bridge the digital divide, enabling access for all to the digital age and the skills needed to thrive in it. Here are some examples of ideas:  

  • An initiative to educate teenagers on online privacy and safety. 

  • A program to teach senior citizens digital literacy tools. 

  • Expanding STEM education opportunities for underrepresented communities. 

  • Creating Wi-Fi hotspots to help kids in schools who have limited internet connection access virtual education.  

Equity In Action – Ideas and solutions that remove barriers and create opportunities for everyone to thrive in an inclusive society. Here are some examples of ideas: 

  • A club that provides young Black men equal access to literary spaces and increases representation in books.  

  • A program to build new communities for Latin American English learners in their schools. 

  • Creating inclusive, at-home therapies for children with disabilities. 

  • Promoting confidence in young girls by connecting them with women role models through storytelling and hands-on activities. 

Thriving Planet – Ideas to help improve the health of our planet. Examples of ideas you may submit include but are not limited to:  

  • Creating a new biodegradable, food packaging alternative. 

  • An initiative to reduce the environmental impact of batteries through educational campaigns.  

  • Tackling food insecurity in the Navajo Nation by supporting community members to take control of their food supply. 

  • A project to prevent plastic waste through upcycling. 

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Participants must be at least 13 when applying and not older than 18 by the end of the entry period. 

  • Participants must live in the United States or Puerto Rico. 

  • Participants must be the founder, co-founder, or hold an equivalent leadership position within the initiative your application represents.  

  • Individuals and teams are eligible to apply. Up to two participants of eligible ages per winning project (plus ONE chaperone per team is required if any participant is under 18) will travel for the Changemaker Lab.  

  • One application per initiative and per person will be accepted. 

  • Previous winners from the Changemaker Challenge are not eligible. If you applied last year and were not one of the winning projects, you can re-apply. 

  • Applications must be submitted in English. 

  • Employees of T-MOBILE USA, INC. or T-Mobile Puerto Rico, LLC, their parent companies, affiliates and subsidiaries, joint ventures, participating advertising and promotion agencies are only eligible to compete in the specific challenge in place for those individuals with formal ties to T-Mobile. One can apply for this challenge by selecting the option marked “Yes” for the question “Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?” when completing the application. The eligible relationships to the T-Mobile employee are Parent/Guardian or Sibling. 

Evaluation Criteria 

The selection committee will be looking for Changemakers who provide strong answers to a range of questions about what your initiative does, how it runs, and your changemaking story. 

We are looking for innovative and creative ideas at all stages of development, which means it can be a young idea or a fully baked one! Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Changemaker Quality: You are a Changemaker! You’ve taken action to make a real difference and are helping others to find their power too.  

  • Creativity: Whether you’re tackling a new challenge or bringing a different perspective to an existing problem, you’re doing it in a fresh, innovative way that shakes things up and doesn’t stick with the norm. 

  •  Commitment: You’re ready to stick by your project and leave a lasting impact. You may have taken some of the first steps or could just have identified a problem and made a plan, but you are ready to go beyond a one-time activity to make a difference for the future. 

  • Connection: You are focused on making a difference in a community that is close to you and your experiences. You are open to connecting with others and working together to solve the problem you care about. 

In addition to our evaluation criteria described above, the group of finalists will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received and the diversity of the field. Diversity will refer to gender, accessibility, class, ethnicity, race, and age. Diversity can be showcased in the target audience of a project, its partners, or the individual or team representing it. 


After the application closes on May 18, 2023, ideas will be reviewed by representatives from the T-Mobile Foundation, T-Mobile, Ashoka and the Changemaker peer community based on the eligibility criteria. Contest results will be structured as follows:  

  • Early Entry Prize: T-Mobile and Ashoka will select three winning projects (one per category) from those that apply by April 6, 2023, for a cash prize of $1,000. Additionally, all entries submitted by the early entry deadline will receive feedback on how to improve their application.  

  • In July, T-Mobile and Ashoka will announce the Top 15 projects – 5 from each of the three categories (Digital Empowerment, Thriving Planet, and Equity in Action). Each winning individual/team will receive $5,000 seed funding for their project and an all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Washington, headquarters in October 2023 (subject to change) for the Changemaker Lab, an immersive experience in which winners will receive mentorship from T-Mobile experts, skills training from Ashoka and networking opportunities with other amazing participants. 

  • From the Top 15 projects, the best in each of the three categories will receive an additional $5,000 seed funding (for a total of $10,000) and the individual/team representing the project at the Changemaker Lab will have the opportunity to pitch to senior leadership team members of T-Mobile.  

  • From the 3 Category Finalists, one selected grand prize winner will receive an additional $5,000 in seed funding (for a total of $15,000) . 

  • From the T-Mobile Family Changemaker Challenge applicants, one winning project will be selected. Project representative(s) will also be invited to the Changemaker Lab at T-Mobile headquarters and receive $5,000 seed funding (subject to change based on CDC COVID-19 safety recommendations).  

Prize Conditions 

  • A minimum of one (1) project representative of eligible age must attend the Changemaker Lab in its entirety to receive the seed funding. 

  • Prize Money funds should be used exclusively to support the purpose of the initiative only as outlined in the Entry. 

  • An Applicant may be prohibited from participating in the Challenge if they have attempted to undermine the legitimate operation of the Challenge, including by cheating, deception or other unfair practices. 

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