MAP Project48

MAP Project48 is a fast-paced, high-impact competition designed to engage graduate students in the intense and rewarding experience of changemaking. In 48 hours, teams from three select graduate programs vie to build the most impactful solution to a problem facing a selected nonprofit organization.

During their time with MAP Project48, graduate students not only create a product that benefits their portfolios, but a meaningful and relevant cause. Additionally, students grow their social capital by meeting peers from other graduate programs, collaborating with mentors from leading organizations and, finally, presenting to high-profile judges.

For the inaugural MAP Project48 program in March 2022, the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) presented a data visualization challenge for teams from Columbia University, University of Missouri – Columbia and Parsons School of Design to solve.

Explore the 2022 Challenge
Data on rural places is notoriously hard to find and use. Without accessible data, organizations and governments in rural areas struggle to justify new initiatives and drive economic development. And because comprehensive data is unavailable, the media is often forced to rely on anecdotes when discussing rural issues, unintentionally contributing to narratives that do not reflect the full complexity of rural America. Since its founding, CORI has sought to fill this gap, establishing itself as a leader in rural mapping and data analysis, providing previously unavailable tools and information to researchers, policymakers and other rural stakeholders. As a fast-moving organization heavily invested in on-the-ground work with rural communities, they are looking for additional capacity to create a tool identified as critical to their work to demonstrate that thriving digital economies are the key to strong rural futures. The MAP Project48 challenge took inspiration from the BBC’s Visual and Data Journalism team by calling for the creation of a data visualization ‘cookbook’. CORI received a tool to simplify the process of creating clear, consistent, and high-quality visualizations that accurately reflect the organization’s brand and voice. The result? Readily available, high-quality data visualizations that meet the needs of rural leaders, policymakers, journalists, researchers and other stakeholders invested in imagining what is possible for rural America.
Program Highlights
Collegiate teams will participate in two virtual workshops hosted by leading practitioners in the field, who will also serve as MAP Project48 Mentors onsite at the competition to provide hands-on guidance to the collegiate teams.
Travel & Accomodation
All travel, accommodation, and expenses for participating collegiate teams will be fully funded by the Morgridge Family Foundation. The MAP Project48 competition will be hosted in Taos, New Mexico, from March 3rd through March 6th.
Welcome Event
The 48-hour competition culminates with a private event where each collegiate team presents to a panel of three judges and an audience of public, private and social sector leaders, providing them a platform to share their deliverables and execution strategy.
The Competition
The collegiate teams will receive an orientation from the Executive Director of CORI, Matt Dunne. They then have 48 hours to create their deliverables, an execution plan, and prepare their final presentations along with support from MAP Project48 Mentors and CORI staff.
Network Building
Teams will have the opportunity to connect with peers from other top-tier programs, creating space for networking, sharing ideas, asking questions and supporting each other’s growth and success. Through the welcome event and presentations to a panel of high-profile judges, students will have the opportunity to connect with leaders in the field of social impact.
The Presentation
The 48-hour competition culminates with a private event where each collegiate team presents to a panel of three judges and an audience of public, private and social sector leaders, providing them a platform to share their deliverables and execution strategy.
The Prize
The winning collegiate team receives national recognition as emerging innovators. They will see their work make a lasting impact on CORI—and there’s a trophy! Plus, the winning team will be invited to present their solution at CORI’s flagship conference.
Implementation Fund
$10,000 will be awarded to CORI to implement the execution strategy from the winning team. If that solution meets or exceeds the predetermined success metrics, an additional $10k of funding will be unlocked and awarded to the nonprofit.
MAP Fellowship Fast Track
Graduate students who complete MAP Project48 will be invited to apply to the MAP Fellowship. If they apply, graduate students will automatically advance to the interview stage with the respective nonprofit executive leader of their choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you tell me more about the Morgridge Family Foundation?

Of course! The Morgridge Family Foundation (MFF) was established in 2008 by Carrie and John Morgridge. Since its inception, MFF has granted over $130 million to nonprofits with a mission to invest in leaders and organizations that are reimagining solutions to some of today’s biggest problems.

How can graduate students apply to the program? What is the application timeline?

Only students attending graduate programs that have confirmed partnership with MAP Project48 will be invited to apply. The application process is designed to be comprehensive yet concise, taking approximately two hours to complete. The materials help the MAP selection committee understand and assess each team’s collective skillset, creative problem solving abilities, and interest in social impact. Applications will be open from early November through early December.

Can only students from data visualization programs apply?

Teams applying to MAP Project48 must have at least one team member who is studying data visualization, data journalism, data science or data communication.

Do applicants need to be in graduate school?

Yes. All team members must be graduate students. Undergraduate students are not eligible to participate in MAP Project48.

Is there a fee to participate in MAP Project48?

No, there is not a fee associated with the program. MFF funds all travel, meals, and accommodation expenses associated with the program for collegiate teams.

How do I help promote the opportunity?

The MAP Project48 team will provide visual assets and language that makes it easy to share the opportunity of MAP Project48 with graduate students at participating universities. Additionally, the MAP Project48 team will hold two virtual information sessions for selected programs to answer questions and further explain programming elements.

Who can I contact for more information?

We’re glad you’re excited about the program! If you have additional questions or would like to have a deeper conversation, please contact Ash Gallegos: ash.gallegos@thinkmff.org