Voto LatinoDML Competition


Top Questions

Who can apply?

Millennials (age 18-34) with ideas about addressing challenges in the Latino community through technology or digital tools. The applicant submitting the idea must be age 18-34 at the time the Challenge closes (October 15, 2014). However, team members may include people of all ages.

  • Do I have to be Latino to apply?
    No. But the technology being proposed must address challenges facing the Latino community.
  • Can I apply if I am undocumented?
    The person submitting the application (called the Primary Applicant) must be documented. However, you may be a team member (called a Collaborator).

What types of problems can I address?

No issue is too big or small. Issues that can be addressed include everything from access to healthcare and affordable education to gang activity and gun control. Any issue that impacts the Latino community qualifies.

What types of technology can I use?

The technology is up to you. Potential examples of new technology and/or digital tools might include:

  • Mobile apps
  • Mac apps, PC programs, and/or Google Chrome apps
  • Advocacy websites
  • Online and/or mobile games
  • Social networking platforms
  • Community Internet kiosks
  • Low-cost handheld devices
  • Online badging systems
  • Community Internet access hotspot

What if I’m not tech-savvy but have an idea?

You don’t need to have previous technology experience (or a college degree) to apply. If your idea is selected as a semi-finalist but you don’t have the tech skills to develop your project, the Challenge can suggest tech partners you could team up with. You must must add a team member with the needed skills to move forward to the final round of the competition.

How do I apply?

Visit the How To Apply page for a step by step guide.

What can I win?

Financial Support for Your Project:

Awards will be made in three funding categories. Winners will be announced in January 2015.

  • Level 1: $10,000-25,000
  • Level 2: $50,000-75,000
  • Level 3: $75,000-100,000

Trips to Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, CA:

  • If funded, two members of your team will make two trips throughout your project’s development:
    • Washington, D.C., to meet with Latino community leaders and policy makers
    • San Francisco Bay Area (Silicon Valley) to meet with tech innovators at major companies and startups, such as Google, Facebook, and Uber. Winners invited to Google will be paired with the tech giant’s Marketing, Creative Labs, and Android teams to discuss their projects and gain expert advice.
    • Awardees are also encouraged — though not required — to plan, budget for, and attend the 2015 Digital Media and Learning (DML) Conference, in Los Angeles, an annual conference of tech innovators and developers that’s supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

How are winners selected?

Semi-finalists, finalists and the Challenge winners will be determined based on a composite score. That score will be determined based on scoring from the panel of expert judges and Voto Latino staff. Judges and staff will use the following criteria:

  • Idea Quality: Does the proposed project directly address or meaningfully engage a real world problem, issue, or question the Latino community is dealing with?
  • Connected Learning: Does the proposed project and its implementation embed and advance the principles of Connected Learning in relation to the Latino community?
  • Target audience: To what extent will the idea assist the Latino community?
  • Plan: Is the plan for developing the idea realistic and within the allowable budget?
  • Technology: Is the proposed technology readily accessible to the target community?
  • Inspiration: Does the application show creativity, innovation, and passion?
  • Goals: Are the goals of the project clearly articulated and realistic?
  • Timeline: Can the proposed project be successfully undertaken in the allotted time of the VL Innovators Challenge?


  • Judges for the initial and semi-final rounds include regional and national activists, community leaders, and experienced industry professionals whose advice and insights are trusted by Voto Latino and HASTAC staff. Judges for the final round of the Challenge will include celebrities and experts in digital media such as Rosario Dawson and Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

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