The OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation announced today that they have received a record-breaking number of applicants for a competition designed to encourage innovative ideas to help further the mission of the Catholic Church.
Nearly 600 applicants entered the 2021 OSV Challenge, and 182 have been selected to move forward to Round Two of the competition. At stake are three prizes valued at $100,000 to be used to advance the innovators’ projects.
“The OSV Challenge was created because we believe the world is desperate for innovative co-creation with our Creator,” asserts Jason Shanks, President of the OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation.
“We are set on finding great ideas by finding people striving for greatness. Our mission is to discover and raise up Catholic innovators so that, through them and their initiatives, the Church can flourish and the world can encounter Christ’s love,” said Shanks.
According to the OSV Institute, the competition’s selection process itself will serve the Catholic Church by helping identify need and trends based on the applications received.
Among the top three categories of applicants’ projects were marriage, parenting, fine arts, and Catholic education. Other popular topics included Hispanic ministry, technology and outreach to the disaffiliated (“nones”).
A few of the topics chosen surprised the judges, said Matt Smith, Director of Strategic Initiatives at OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation.
“We had proposals for innovation in seminary education, mental health services, investment groups for Catholics, and a vast range of other interesting topics,” Smith said.
“While we asked applicants to self-identify tracks in the application, we cast the innovation net wide, and we are glad we did. These ‘new themes’ reflect emerging needs within the Church and we want to ensure the Challenge is reflective of these,” he said.
Applications were evaluated by a four-judge panel using criteria based on the OSV Challenge’s core values. Those selected to move to Round Two in the competition will now be tasked with coming up with a practical plan for putting their ideas into action. Twenty-four semi-finalists will be selected by June 25.
The 2021 OSV Challenge winners will be announced after twelve finalists present their projects at an Innovation Summit in Houston in September.