When The 19th first heard about the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge — which will award a combined $40 million to a select few organizations working to expand gender equity in the United States — we knew it was a long shot. 

We also knew, given our dream of elevating the voices of women, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community in our national media narrative, that we simply had to apply.  

Today, we’re awestruck to report that The 19th is one of 10 finalists for that challenge, generously hosted by Pivotal Ventures, Melinda Gates’ investment and incubation company — with additional support from MacKenzie Scott and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and managed by Lever for Change.

We’re thrilled that our vision of scaling this scrappy start-up  — with expanded journalism,  greater engagement of underserved communities and a world-class fellowship program for aspiring journalists — set us apart among more than 550 worthy applicants.  

Now our sights are set on the next big milestone: Three of these incredible finalists will each receive $10 million to advance gender equity in their respective fields, with another $10 million to be distributed across the remaining seven. In the coming months we’ll be dreaming big, refining our proposal and seeking feedback from our amazing stakeholders. That includes you, our audience. 

We’re so proud of the work The 19th has done in our first year, and we’re grateful for the opportunity the Equality Can’t Wait challenge provides to chart our course for the future. Thanks for being on this journey with us!