This blog post was originally published on the MacArthur Foundation website

Over the past several weeks, MacArthur has hosted the eight 100&Change semi-finalists at our Chicago offices. These visits were focused on learning about their proposals and starting conversations on how we hope to support the growth of their work over the coming months.

From the perspective of a program officer, there was a great amount of excitement in meeting each team. It was driven by the desire to find out how each organization approaches its work and deals with challenges associated with complex problems. What you learn from a written proposal only scratches the surface of the depth and breadth of what you discover when you engage with a team in person.

So, what have we learned from our visits? There are elements of every proposed solution that show the massive scope of the problem that each organization is working to solve. View slides from semifinalists' presentations below.

These facts provide a framework for understanding why we should care about an organization’s proposed solution. But, what is critical from a programmatic point of view is how an organization plans to solve an intractable and systemic problem.

Here are some examples of challenges faced by semi-finalists and how they are already creatively overcoming obstacles to successfully expand, adapt, and sustain their projects in a geographic space, over time, to reach a greater number of people:

**The author is a Program Officer with the MacArthur Foundation