Feb 06, 2024 Press Release

Robin Hood Launches the AI Poverty Challenge, up to $4 Million in Awards

NEW YORK, NY – February 6, 2024 – Robin Hood today announced the launch of the AI Poverty Challenge, a national competition to advance effective, responsible, and equitable uses of AI that broaden opportunity and support upward mobility for people living in poverty. The Challenge will disburse up to $4 million in awards to finalists and three winners, representing three focus areas, including Education, Workforce, and Financial Empowerment. The Challenge is made possible, in part, through a partnership with the GitLab Foundation and the Bezos Family Foundation.

The announcement was made during the Robin Hood Opportunity x AI Summit, by Paul Tudor Jones II, Robin Hood’s founder, and Alexis Ohanian, board member.

“Robin Hood has always been an organization invested in high-potential solutions to defeat poverty in New York City, including launching new charter school networks and college completion models providing technology education for all students and creating transformative partnerships with city government,” said Robin Hood founder, Paul Tudor Jones II. “Historically, as technological advances emerge, there have always been plentiful commercial applications, but too often, we cannot say the same about scalable tech solutions for social or public challenges. That’s why today was so important. The tech community is coming together with leaders across sectors because they want to make a difference and explore how AI technologies can fight poverty and the AI Poverty Challenge is a mechanism to incentivize the development of innovative approaches that will utilize AI technologies in that same fight. We need to lock arms with the best and brightest minds in technology to benefit all New Yorkers.”

Registration for applicants is open until May 10, 2024, and all submissions must be received by June 1, 2024. Applications will be reviewed, evaluated, and scored during the summer and fall of 2024. Finalists will be named and could receive up to $100,000 each during the last quarter of 2024. Each finalist may also receive coaching, technical assistance, in-kind support from top AI organizations, as well as testing support over a period of three to six months.

During the Winter of 2024/25, these finalists will be evaluated on their progress toward actualizing their vision for viable, transformative, and sustainable AI-based solution to poverty. From this pool, three winners will be selected to receive the final awards of $1 million each.

The Challenge is open to non-profit or for-profit entities only. Applications submitted by individuals are prohibited. All applications will be reviewed through two rounds of evaluations, including one using a public scoring rubric and another reviewed by a panel of judges from a cross section of investors, business leaders, social innovators, community members, and technologists.

“We all know that rapid and radical technological change, like we’re experiencing with machine learning and artificial intelligence, has the potential to improve lives and expand opportunity.  But it can just as easily further inequality and leave poor Americans even further behind. The choices we make together – as governments, businesses, technologists, civil society organizations, and citizens – will determine the path we take. Robin Hood is committed to helping to shape that path, and that’s why we convened the Robin Hood Opportunity x AI Summit and are launching the AI Poverty Challenge,” said Richard R. Buery, Jr., CEO of Robin Hood. “We know that together, we can unleash the machine learning and AI revolution as a force to increase upward mobility from poverty and ensure that those already excluded from opportunity are not left further behind.”

Robin Hood is focused on user-driven solutions and testing for all interventions. We seek solutions that are informed by research and lived experience. Winning ideas will be shaped by the communities and users who will benefit from the program OR have a concrete plan to engage these critical stakeholders.

For complete details on the application process, evaluation criteria, categories of awards, or other details, please visit the Challenge’s website at www.aipovertychallenge.org

About Robin Hood:
Last year, Robin Hood celebrated its 35th year of funding, supporting, and connecting New York’s most impactful community organizations at the forefront in the battle against poverty. We are NYC’s largest local poverty-fighting philanthropy and since 1988, we have invested nearly $3 billion to elevate and fuel the permanent escape of New Yorkers from poverty. In 2023, through grantmaking with 250+ community partners, we created pathways to opportunities out of poverty through our strategic partnerships on childcare, child poverty, jobs, and living wages, we are scaling impact at a population level for the more than 1.5 million New Yorkers living in poverty. At Robin Hood, we believe your starting point in life should not define where you end up. To learn more about our work and impact, follow us on X (formerly known as Twitter) @RobinHoodNYC or go to robinhood.org.


Kevin Thompson, Managing Director of Communications