Apply for T-Mobile Foundation/Ashoka Changemaker Challenge 2021 for Young Innovators in the U.S.

Are you a young person with a bold new idea to transform communities for the better? Apply for the T-Mobile Foundation/Ashoka Changemaker Challenge 2021. This nationwide opportunity gives trailblazing young leaders the chance to take their ideas on how to create more connected, sustainable and inclusive communities and make them a reality. 

The T-Mobile Foundation, T-Mobile and Ashoka are committed to supporting young changemakers who disrupt the status quo to make their communities more connected, sustainable, and inclusive. This year, they are looking for bold ideas in the following areas:

  • Technology – Ideas and solutions that use technology as a force for good.
  • Environment – Ideas and solutions that improve the health of the planet.
  • Education – Ideas and solutions that fuel all types of learning both in and outside of classrooms.

Are you a T-Mobile employee or does a parent work for T-Mobile? If so, they’re running a separate contest for you – the T-Mobile Family Changemaker Challenge. Just fill out the same application form and make sure to indicate your affiliation with T-Mobile. 


  • All entrants will receive a digital certificate of participation and gain access to on-demand trainings to support them in their changemaking journey.
  • In May, T-Mobile and Ashoka will announce the Top 15 teams – 5 from each of the three categories (Technology, Environment and Education). Each team will receive $5,000 seed funding and an all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Washington, headquarters in July 2021 (subject to change) for the Changemaker Lab, a three-day immersive experience in which teams will receive mentorship from T-Mobile executives, skills training from Ashoka and networking opportunities with other amazing teams.
  • Early Entry Prize: T-Mobile and Ashoka will select one winning team from those that apply by March 4, 2021 (8PM PST) for a cash prize of $2,000. Additionally, all entries submitted by the early entry deadline will receive feedback on how to improve their application.
  • From the Top 15 teams, the best in each of the three categories will receive an additional $5,000 seed funding (for a total of $10,000) and the opportunity to pitch their projects to senior leadership team members of T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation.
  • From the 3 Category Finalist teams, one selected grand prize winner will receive an additional $5,000 in seed funding (for a total of $15,000) and a one-on-one meeting with an influential leader.
  • From the T-Mobile Family Changemaker Challenge applicants, one winning team will be selected. They will also be invited to the Changemaker Lab at T-Mobile headquarters and receive $5,000 seed funding and the opportunity to pitch their idea to senior leadership.


  • Open to any young person between the ages of 13 and 18 in the USA, including Puerto Rico.
  • Two participants of eligible ages (plus ONE chaperone if any participant is under 18) per winning team will travel for the Changemaker Lab. 
  • One application per initiative and per person will be accepted. 
  • Previous winners from the Changemaker Challenge 2018 and 2019 are not eligible. If you applied last year and were not one of the winning teams, you can re-apply. 
  • Applications must be submitted in English.
  • Employees of T-MOBILE USA, INC. or T-Mobile Puerto Rico, LLC, their parent companies, affiliates and subsidiaries, joint ventures, participating advertising and promotion agencies are only eligible to compete in the specific challenge in place for those individuals with formal ties to T-Mobile. One can apply for this challenge by selecting the option marked “Yes” for the question “Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?” when completing the application. The eligible relationships to the T-Mobile employee are Parent/Guardian or Sibling.

Selection Criteria

The selection committee will be looking for Changemakers who provide strong answers to a range of questions about what your initiative does, how it runs, and your changemaking story. 

Remember, they are looking for innovative and creative ideas at all stages of development, which means it can be a young idea or a fully baked one! Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Changemaker Quality: You identify as a Changemaker and are already taking steps to make a real difference, big or small. 
  • Creativity: Whether you’re tackling a new challenge or bringing a different perspective to an existing problem, you’re doing it in a fresh and innovative way that challenges the norm. 
  • Commitment: You’re ready to stick by your project and leave a lasting impact. You may have mapped out a full plan or could just be in the idea stage, but you are ready to go beyond a one-time activity to make a difference in the future. 
  • Connection: You are focused on making a difference in a community that is close to you and your experiences. You are open to connecting with others and working together to solve the problem you care about.

In addition to the evaluation criteria described above, the group of winning teams will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received and the diversity of the field. Diversity will refer to: gender, accessibility, class, ethnicity, race and age. Diversity can be showcased in the target audience of a project, its partners or the team representing it.


There is an early entry deadline for March 4, 2021. The final entry deadline is April 8, 2021 by 9PM PS.

Click here to apply