About the SparkOpportunity Challenge

April 12, 2012

The SparkOpportunity Challenge was a cutting-edge “crowd-sourcing” contest to identify youth-driven solutions to create local jobs and rebuild pathways to education and training.  The Challenge asked young people to turn their ideas and experiences into concrete solutions and ran from April 12, 2012 to May 25, 2012. 

The SparkOpportunity Challenge was a chance for youth and adult allies to think big: re-imagine communities, schools and business opportunities and propose visionary solutions to create jobs, build and enhance skills, and improve communities.

The Challenge was developed by SparkAction and the Youth Leadership Institute and joined Jon Bon Jovi in support of the White House Council for Community Solutions.

Meet the SparkOpportunity Challenge winners!

How it Works

Consider what you think will work to create jobs in your community, improve schools or training, or make it easier for young people to graduate ready for college, work and life. Maybe it’s an entrepreneurial start-up, a local business idea, a bike share, or a social change plan to make community systems (like schools, transit, libraries, public supports) work better. Anything's fair game. Our schools, workforce and communities face serious challenges—they need serious new solutions, the kind that come from thinking differently. So think big, be creative and let us know what you think should happen.

Make a short video or write a sahort description of your idea and upload it to the site. Then, use the buttons to tweet and share it with your social networks. When voting opens on May 15, make sure you’ve got your friend, tweeps and followers ready to vote for your idea. You’ll get votes too, which you can use on the ideas you think are the best, the most innovative—and the most likely to work.

Even if you don’t submit an idea, you can still log in and vote for your favorite ideas. But hey, if you don’t submit, you can’t win. (More on prizes, below.)

Who’s Behind It

the Challenge is an initiative of SparkAction, in partnership with the Youth Leadership Institute and dozens of leading youth-engagement organizations across the country. It builds on the work of the White House Council for Community Solutions to engage and develop leadership opportunities for disconnected young people.

The Prizes

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories, based on the number of votes received by each submission:

  • Five (5) Youth Awards. The top-voted submissions by Members under age 24 will receive an Apple iPad, One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500) and mentoring from a recognized business, community or political leader.
  • Three (3) “Adult Allies” Awards. The top-voted submissions by Members age 25 and over will receive an Apple iPad, One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500) and mentoring from a recognized business, community or political leader.
  • One (1) Youth Ambassador Award: The Youth Ambassadors will select one submission to receive an Apple iPad, One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500) and near-peer mentoring from the Youth Ambassadors. This award will go to the Submission that best exemplifies the goals of the Youth Ambassador initiative: youth engagement from those who’ve been there, helping themselves and their peers connect to opportunity and a fulfilling career path. The winner will be chosen by the Ambassadors, regardless of votes.
  • NEW! One (1) California Youth Innovator Award: A California-based foundation will select one California Youth Innovator Award winner to receive an Apple iPad, One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500) and mentoring from a recognized business, community or political leader.

  • Audience Choice Award. The submission to receive the most votes overall will receive an additional recognition and may receive other prizes TBD.

Additional awards may be announced as sponsoring parties come on board. We will clearly announce any new awards on the Challenge website and in emails to all participants who created a login.

<< Meet the winners!


How many times can I vote?

You have five (5) votes total to use through the voting period, which ends on May 25th.

Can I cast more than one vote to an idea?

Yes, you can distribute your votes in any manner.  You can also change your votes around as much as you want—they won’t be counted until the voting period ends.

Can I vote if I didn’t submit an idea? 

Voting is open to anyone and everyone, even if you didn’t submit an idea. All you need to do is login at http://sparkaction.org/sparkopportunity and you’ll be given five votes to cast.

Need help logging in? The first part of the SparkOpportunity How-To video shows you how.

What’s this about my idea in a video with Jon Bon Jovi?

All of the winning ideas text or video will appear in a video featuring Jon Bon Jovi, which will be shown at the White House Youth Summit in June.  In addition, four winners of the SparkOpportunity Challenge will be invited to the summit. Stay tuned to find out who wins!

What if there’s a tie?

If there is a tie between or among Submissions in a Contest after the Voting Period has ended, then the Prize for such contest shall be shared equally by the Members whose Submissions received the highest number of votes.

What happens if a winner turns out to be ineligible?

If the Member receiving the highest number of votes in a Contest is disqualified or otherwise deemed ineligible to receive the Prize, then the Prize shall be awarded to the Member whose Submission received the next highest number of votes.

Do I have to do anything if I win?

The identity of the winner of each Portion of the Contest will be published on the SparkAction Website.

As a condition of receiving the Prize, the winner of each Portion of the Contest must appear in a video interview conducted by SparkAction or its designee. SparkAction shall own the copyright to such interview, and the winner must sign a release granting all rights in such interview to SparkAction.

If you submitted a kick-butt idea and won, but you either can't or don't want to actually work on the solution you shared, that's okay. (Some ideas may be too big to start right away.) You can donate the seed money prize and the mentoring to an eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The iPad is yours to keep.

More questions? Email us!  Tweet us!  Facebook us!

<< Meet the winners!



This is Utopian nonsense.

"Utopian nonsense", I don&;t think so! You, much like most people in the pessimistic country are only useful for negative critiques, complaining and cyclical talks that do nothing. Now maybe most of these young ideas are just that, young ideas, but at least they are attempting to think about solving the issues instead of just dwelling in them. Keep your negativity away from the positivity that still remains within the youth! If you are doing something to fix the widespread of youth issues, then kudos to you, but that does not give the right to criticize others&; ideas and ambitions. And for the other 11 who "liked" this vial, myopic comment, grow up and get on another bandwagon. Good Day.

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