Who is eligible: Winners of the 120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders
Grant Award Amount: Minimum of 5 grant awards of up to $20,000 per award.
Start date: Early June, 2020
Grant Period: Up to 12 months from selected start date
Application Deadline: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 11:59 PM EST 

With support from Bayer and the Gates Institute, the 120 Under 40 program seeks to understand and mitigate the new challenges that have risen, as well as those that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and is turning to the next generation to share their ingenious ideas on how we can address both COVID-19 and the reproductive health challenges in an integrated way – especially in the areas of advocacy, service delivery, communication/messaging and demand generation. We know that the much needed and drastic measures taken to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus will impact virtually every aspect of our lives, from the health system, to food security and the environment, on which we depend upon for social stability, and will disproportionately impact marginalized members of society, including low-income, minority, immigrant, disabled, and the recently unemployed. The 120 Under 40 is a unique platform that brings together the best and the brightest young minds, to not only learn from each other but to share ideas and work together, we are confident that we will be blown away by the innovation that will result from this opportunity. 

We are faced with unprecedented times ahead, and we must challenge ourselves to rise up to the occasion and provide our expertise whenever and wherever possible. The COVID-19 global pandemic is forcing societies, communities, and households around the world to rapidly adapt to a new set of social practices. Widespread social distancing, remote workplaces, and suspension of schools and childcare centers are upending social “normalcy” without offering solutions to many of the resulting gaps. The 120 Under 40 platform provides us access to the brightest young minds in the family planning and reproductive health community. These young leaders were carefully selected by a jury of experts and are medical doctors and healthcare workers, advocates, NGO founders and leaders,  and no one understands better than they do, what their communities need in the wake of this pandemic. In an effort to continue to nurture the young leaders in the 120 Under 40 cohort and provide them with opportunities to set their goals and ideas in motion, we look to the next generation for inspiration on how to tackle these gaps. 

Although this is a time of great challenge and frustration, it is also a time for extraordinary leadership. The sexual and reproductive health community has the unique opportunity to play a significant role in the education, containment, and mitigation of this global pandemic.

The 2020 120 Under 40 Ingenuity Fund will be giving a special focus to the fallout and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and invites applications that seek to address those challenges in  an innovative way that integrates family planning and reproductive health. 

The 120 Under 40 Ingenuity Fund  seeks to galvanize the 120 Under 40 winners to think big and bold about family planning challenges, specifically as they relate to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is designed to reward fresh, inventive thinking that will enable breakthroughs in family planning and reproductive health — the kind of thinking that can cause a “positive disruption” in some aspect of family planning, and in this unique circumstance also alleviate a much needed gap during this global pandemic. It is a fitting funding opportunity for the 120 Under 40 winners, who are the next generation of family planning leaders; it will challenge them to grow as thought leaders and to participate even more fully in charting the course of family planning post-2020. It will also result in an injection of additional creative ideas into the thinking around family planning’s future. 

A small number of awards will be available, and funding will range from USD $3,000 to USD $20,000. The concept underpinning this fund is “small is beautiful,” recognizing that seemingly small actions can have huge repercussions. Funding may be viewed as a prize for the best ideas or can be utilized to carry out proposed projects/activities. The “ingenuity” in the fund’s name can be interpreted as the creation of a new idea as well as the reframing of existing approaches and systems.

This opportunity allows the 120 Under 40 winners to not only receive additional funding, but also to access a global platform from which to share that idea. The funded projects will be presented and shared globally at the sixth ICFP in Pattaya, Thailand. 

Applications will be taken via video. Funded applicants will be required to submit a summary report detailing how they used the funding and what impact their proposal has made.

The 120 Under 40 Ingenuity Fund  aims to:

  • Inspire the 120 under 40 winners to engage in creative, inventive thinking about challenges in family planning, and to encourage them to grow as thought leaders and participate even more fully in charting the course of the post-2020 family planning movement
  • Infuse additional creative energy and ideas into the thinking around the future of family planning and the rapid responses needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Amplify the funded winners’ proposals, especially at the 6th ICFP.


  • Applicants can apply as individuals or can team up and submit a proposal for a larger amount.
  • Awards will be given at several levels within the $3,000 to $20,000 range.
  • Applicants can request the level of funding they think appropriate to their proposal, and funds will then be disbursed as the committee deems appropriate.
  • The total number of proposals funded will depend on the number of submissions and total amount available in the fund.

The Gates Institute will manage the fund and choose the winners.

Applications for the 120 Under 40 Ingenuity Fund will be accepted in the form of videos unless there is an extenuating circumstance, in which case please contact csalmeron@jhu.edu for alternative ways of application. 

  • Video should be no more than 5 minutes long.
  • Video should provide an overview of your proposal, as well as demonstrate an understanding of why your proposal is “ingenious” and what impact it could have on addressing the gaps and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic while also including family planning and reproductive health in an integrated way.
  • As part of the application, applicants should be prepared to explain how their video satisfies the below evaluation criteria. 
  • Videos must be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, and a link must be provided as part of the application.  
  • Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
  • Proposal should demonstrate innovative thinking and an understanding of how the proposed idea could positively disrupt and address a challenge that has resulted or been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in an integrated way that includes family planning and reproductive health. 
  • Proposal should to demonstrate the applicant’s ability to accomplish the proposed project/activity; track record of success, access to resources, and experience should be discussed.
  • Proposal should be clear and compelling in terms of idea, narrative and approach.
  • Proposal should include a communication component that will expand the reach of the proposal, specifically leading up to World Contraception Day 2020


  • April 15, 2020: 120 Under 40 Ingenuity Fund Application opens
  • May 13, 2020: 120 Under 40 Ingenuity Fund Application closes 
  • June 2020: 120 Under 40 Ingenuity Fund recipients are announced and notified via email
  • September 26, 2020: 120 Under 40 Ingenuity Fund recipients’ work is promoted on World Contraception Day

​​Click here to view a PDF of the full request for proposal and guidelines

Click here to view a PDF of the application questions


Share This