Ashoka Innovators for the Public sponsored a worldwide online open-source collaborative competition through its Changemakers initiative to find innovative solutions to the societal challenges facing young men at risk, such as gangs, addiction, violence and crime. Ashoka and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) program staff also looked at issues such as low graduation rates, low employment rates and high incarceration rates.
The 2007–2008 Young Men at Risk: Transforming the Power of a Generation competition was the fourth Changemakers competition funded by RWJF to help identify solutions to entrenched social and health problems. See Program Results Report for descriptions of the first three competitions.
Three organizations won the Young Men at Risk: Transforming the Power of a Generation competition and received $5,000 each. The competition drew about 360 entries from 39 countries. Four judges, including an RWJF program officer, chose 14 finalists. The Changemakers online community then voted for the winners:
- Alternative Realities (Mumbai, India)
- Roots of Empathy (Toronto, Canada)
- Taller San Jose (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Ashoka hosted the "Young Men at Risk Change Summit" at RWJF in June 2008 to link winners and finalists with investors and marketing experts.