TED has launched a $250 million project to model ‘what an IPO for the nonprofit world might look like’
By Ariel Schwartz
Dr. Raj Panjabi is probably the last person to ever get the $1 million TED Prize — a sum of money given at the annual ideas conference to make someone’s big, world-changing wish a reality. It’s not that the prize given to Panjabi, a physician at Harvard Medical School and co-founder and CEO of Last Mile Health, a nonprofit that works with community health workers to expand healthcare access in remote areas, was somehow unsuccessful.
If anything, it was too successful. Panjabi’s dreams were larger than a $1 million prize.
“To achieve the impact we wanted, we had to think collaboratively. The scale of the [healthcare access] problem is much bigger than one organization. I knew that firsthand as a doctor. I’d seen it,” Panjabi said.
Starting this year, TED is scrapping the annual prize for something even bigger: a $250 million initiative known as The Audacious Project. Backed by funders including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dalio Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, and Virgin Unite, the project aims to deal with the fact that, as TED Curator Chris Anderson said, “Real change is expensive.”
Photo courtesy of Sudipto Sarkar.