Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 1:46pm

Two teams from Wisconsin will advance to the final round of the Alliance for the American Dream competition, where they will compete for potential investment.

The Alliance, known locally as DreamUp WI, is sponsored by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt that seeks to improve societal outcomes through the thoughtful development of emerging science and technology that can benefit humanity.

DreamUp WI is a partnership between the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the community, tasked with generating ideas to increase the net income of 10,000 Dane County families by 10 percent by the year 2020.

On January 29, members of the Alliance of the American Dream convened in Phoenix for a pitch competition that included 12 teams from 4 universities – Arizona State University, Ohio State University, University of Utah, and University of Wisconsin–Madison. A panel of experts from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors selected five teams to advance in the competition; this summer, teams will compete for funding to help implement their ideas in their home state.

The ideas that advanced were chosen for their interdisciplinary approach, technical components, and focus on inclusion for diverse communities.

The City of Madison was a partner in one of the advancing ideas.

The "We Care for Dane Kids" team with partners from the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, Reach Dane, Satellite Family Child Care System, the UW Schools of Social Work and Education, the City of Madison, Madison Out-of-School Time, and TASC offers a multi-pronged approach to transforming the early childhood and after school care sectors that would supplement income for workers and child care costs, reduce operating expenses for facilities, and create a child care benefit program.

"Ensuring that all children have access to high quality child and out-of-school time care is not just an issue of equity in our city and county, it's also a core driver of long-term economic growth," said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. "That's why the City of Madison has been committed to working with multi-sector partners to solve the issues in the field. Parents deserve affordable care options and the people who work in the child and out-of-school time field deserve to be fairly compensated. The hundreds of thousands of residents who rely on the child care and out-of-school time care system to work deserve our boldness and creativity. The Alliance for the American Dream and Schmidt Futures has spurred a dedicated team to develop innovative and comprehensive approaches to leverage public and private expertise and resources to solve a pressing local problem. We are committed to this work and are excited to work more closely with our partners on this project and with Schmidt Futures."

The We Care for Dane Kids team says, "We are excited that We Care is moving forward in the Alliance for the American Dream Competition. Affordable, accessible, high quality child and out-of-school Time care provided by individuals who are better compensated is an ambitious but necessary goal for Dane County. We appreciate the support we’ve received from the UW-Madison, the Dane County community, and especially TASC, and the many businesses committed to We Care for Dane Kids. Child and out-of-school time care is a critical issue in our county and our state that impacts hundreds of thousands of residents. Our kids and the people who work with them deserve a bold vision and steadfast commitment as we work towards creating thriving communities for all children and families in Dane County."

Professor Lonnie Berger, Director of the UW Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) says, "We are grateful for the extensive community and university support for and engagement in this process, and we look forward to working closely, not only with the finalists, but with all the dedicated teams who put proposals together. As we have said from the start, the beauty of this initiative is that we have generated a portfolio of proposals for increasing shared prosperity in Dane County that we can now seek to make a reality." The IRP is leading the initiative in Wisconsin.

DreamUp WI will also sponsor a Community Showcase the evening of April 3 to highlight other local proposals developed as a result of the initiative and launch a second round of competition.

For more information on DreamUp Wisconsin

For more information on the Alliance for the American Dream

For more information on Schmidt Futures

CONTACT: Hilary Shager, (608) 262-7990, for information about IRP and The Alliance for the American Dream competition

CONTACT: Coral Manning, (608) 267-4995, for more information about the We Care for Dane Kids proposal