American dreaming

On May 24, the U officially launched the American Dream Ideas Challenge, an effort to collect policy and technology innovation proposals with potential to boost Utah’s middle class.

The challenge aims to find, fund and develop ideas capable of sustainably increasing net income by 10 percent for 10,000 of the state’s middle-class families by 2020. Idea submissions will be accepted through noon on Aug. 30 at

The University of Utah is one of four higher education institutions selected by Schmidt Futures to serve as anchors in The Alliance for the American Dream. Each is taking a unique approach to achieving Schmidt Future’s goal of creating pathways to a healthier and more robust middle class.

President Ruth Watkins said that in selecting the University of Utah as a member of the alliance, Schmidt Futures noted Utah’s energized and giving population and its entrepreneurial mindset. Schmidt Futures also praised the U’s unique community-based approach to running the Ideas Challenge, with a focus on engaging a broad range of perspectives and voices from across the state, Watkins said.

“We are uniquely positioned to join with government, business and community partners as well as our peer institutions throughout the state to seek and find ways to strengthen access to and stability of the middle class in Utah,” Watkins said.

Watch the recap of the press conference launching the challenge below.