The Bellagio Center Convening Program/

Building Vibrant, Connected, and Resilient Societies

Margaret Levi, a Bellagio Center Resident Alum, has called for a new moral political economy built around “expanded communities of fate.” The core of this idea is that once humans realize that our futures are inherently intertwined, they act accordingly through all aspects of society.

The Rockefeller Foundation believes that the pillars of policy, business, and an evolution in our social mores must all be harnessed to overcome this challenge.

In 2025, we are focused on addressing three core challenges to building vibrant, connected, and resilient societies: The challenge of making decisions collectively, especially at a moment when democracy feels under threat; the challenge of inventing and using technologies that have the power to reshape society in a positive way, when we’ve seen their simultaneous divisive and corrosive power; and the challenge of building solidarity across generations, when people are living longer than they ever have been while prospects for younger generations seem so uncertain.

We encourage applications organized by or with meaningful participation from Global South leaders, women, or other marginalized groups.

The sub-themes for the 2025 Building Vibrant, Connected, and Resilient Societies convening application include:

The Future of Democracy

In 2024, half of the world’s population – roughly 4 billion people – live in locations that will take to the polls, choose their elected leaders, and shape their governments. Meanwhile, democracy remains an institution consistently under threat globally. We must ensure that democratic processes are fair, transparent, and stable, and enable effective citizen participation across the globe. Applications in this theme should address these areas:

  • Understanding how the nature of power can shift within societies and governments and threaten democratic systems, to establish stable and transparent systems that meet the needs of all citizens.
  • Ensuring all people have engagement and agency within a democracy, especially those facing barriers to participation.
  • Rethinking how democracy functions so that it can evolve and meet its citizens’ needs, particularly underrepresented and marginalized groups, despite changing times and aging societies.

 

Technology that Supports Humanity

Advances in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, the machine/brain interface, and other areas will rapidly change our societies, economies, and even our concepts of what it means to be human. We must find ways to harness the potential of these technologies to scale and grow social good while avoiding and managing their risks. Applications in this theme should address these areas:

  • Understanding how technology can support human values, connection, and community-building while protecting human rights, democracy, and the equitable distribution of power and wealth.
  • Building transparency and understanding of how technology shapes our media and knowledge environment and the dynamics of who truly has access and control over information to ensure that information is accurate, accessible, and broadly distributed.
  • Exploring the platforms, legal structures, and organizational norms that shape who uses technology and who benefits from it to ensure free and fair access to its social benefits. This includes ensuring that low- and middle-income countries build and deploy AI to meet their contexts and needs.

 

Bridging Generations

In the coming years, the population distribution of many of the world’s countries, especially in high-income countries, will shift dramatically, while the youth population in low-income countries will boom. We must grapple with and address the dynamic that power tends to rest disproportionately in the older generations while the younger generations face the consequences of a climate crisis set in motion before their birth and uncertainty in many areas of their lives. Applications in this theme should address these areas:

  • Identifying, promoting, and adopting policies that allow for effective near-term decisions that take the impact on future generations into account to ensure that groups that may be marginalized or excluded can fairly participate in society.
  • Giving youth more power in decision-making processes and seeking out innovations to help communities and people connect across ages, identities, and cultures. 
  • Supporting, renumerating, and promoting the often-invisible caregiving provided by women to ensure the well-being of children, aging populations, and entire communities.

The deadline to apply for a 2025 convening is June 14th, 2024, by 5:00 pm EDT. Please take our Pre-Application Questionnaire to get started.

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Addressing Climate Change

Climate change must be addressed through energy systems, health systems, food systems, financial systems, and policy. Under this theme, we’ll support leaders and organizations working on solutions to address climate change in these ways.

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General Open Call

The General Open Call is for convenings that don’t align with Addressing Climate Change or Building Vibrant, Connected, and Resilient Societies. These convenings can be focused on any issue but must demonstrate a compelling charitable purpose.

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