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At a baseball field. Boy in baseball uniform, fist-bumping a friend in the crowd.


It begins with a community-wide brainstorm

We're casting a broad net to find innovative, bold ideas that bolster the middle class and ensure families have equal access and opportunity to thrive. Online and through community events, we'll collect ideas that emphasize two pathways to growing the middle class:


From the many ideas submitted, five will be selected for development.

Timeline for the Dream

Phase 1

August 15, 2019: Begin submitting your ideas
September 2019: Community idea forums
October 1, 2019: Idea submission closes
Mid-October 2019: Top 5 ideas announced

Phase 2

November-December 2019: Proposal revisions and reviews
January 2020: Proposal presentations to community
February 2020: Top 3 proposals awarded by Ohio State

Phase 3

March 2020: Top 3 proposals presented to Schmidt Futures panel
April 2020: Finalists selected by Schmidt Futures
May 2020: Funding awarded

Phase 4

June 2020: Final pitches to Schmidt Futures
June 2020: Funding awarded


Leading the way

Ohio State is dedicated to improving the well-being of our communities. Learn more about the university leaders driving our work in the Alliance for the American Dream.

Leadership Team

“We are absolutely thrilled to join the Alliance and to partner with individuals and communities on this important and timely endeavor. It’s ‘The Columbus Way’ in action.” Michael V. Drake, MD
Ohio State President
Ohio State President Michael Drake shaking hands with a young girl as people look on.


Resources to help you develop your idea


What is the Alliance for the American Dream?

Schmidt Futures’ Alliance for the American Dream challenge aims to help new homebuyers on the edge of the middle class increase the value of their properties. In 2018, philanthropic initiative Schmidt Futures challenged U.S. communities anchored by public research universities to dream up big ideas that would bolster the middle class — specifically, by increasing the incomes of 10,000 local households by 10 percent by 2020.

Why does the middle class matter so much?

The middle class is the backbone of America’s economy. It’s where hard-working families can cement an economically secure life for themselves. And the promise is that anyone who strives for the middle class can attain it. But across Ohio, and across our country, the middle class is fading away.

Who can submit ideas?

You. Anyone. If you have an idea to help bolster the middle class, we want to hear it.

What ideas have you already considered?

Glad you asked. Check out the 2018 list of ideas and winners.

What is Schmidt Futures?

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that seeks to improve societal outcomes through the thoughtful development of emerging science and technologies that can benefit humanity.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

Please contact Beth Frey at with questions.

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