Press Room

15 Finalists of the Global Slingshot Challenge Selected From Across 80 Countries

Seattle, WA — Apr 21 2023

Learn more about each finalist by downloading their submission videos, photos, and bios here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 21, 2023 — Today, the National Geographic Society and Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announced the 15 finalists of the global Slingshot Challenge, with winners to be revealed on Friday, May 5, 2023. More than 1,800 submissions from across 80 countries were received in the challenge that asked youth, ages 13-18 years, to create a one-minute video depicting a solution to the planet’s environmental problems. Participants were directed to focus on one of the challenge’s five topic areas: clean the air, restore the ocean, protect nature, reduce waste, and address climate change. Nearly 3,000 young people collaborated on the concepts with assistance from National Geographic Explorers and teachers across the U.S.

“These young leaders are finding creative solutions for our planet’s environmental issues,” said Lina Gomez, vice president of strategic innovation and youth initiatives at the National Geographic Society. “We were amazed with the volume of submissions to this first challenge. It's inspiring to see how many young people care so deeply about our planet, and after careful consideration, we are thrilled to announce the 15 finalists for the global Slingshot Challenge. Congratulations to the 15 finalists, and I’m eager to see which ideas strongly resonate with voters and our panel of judges.”

The expert panel of judges include National Geographic Explorers Ved Chirayath, Manar Elkebir, Sandra Turner, and Diana Zendejo. Each of the five winners will receive a $10,000 cash prize and the opportunity to select an educator or nonprofit organization that has inspired them to receive $2,000. The remaining 10 finalists will also receive a cash prize of $1,000. Each finalist can secure a popular vote with the public being asked to select their favorite with voting period closing on April 28, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
“Today’s environmental challenges need the fresh perspective, innovation, and ingenuity that this cohort of finalists have imagined,” said Lara Littlefield, executive director on behalf of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “It is our hope that youth will continue to elevate their voices and drive lasting change in their community, their country, and for our planet.”

The winners will also be invited to attend the National Geographic Society’s Explorers Festival at its Base Camp in Washington, D.C., this June where they’ll meet Explorers, extend and strengthen their ideas, and join forces with like-minded youth to create real-world impact.

Watch the video submission from each finalist below:


About the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Founded in 1988 by philanthropists Jody Allen and the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation invests in communities across the Pacific Northwest to enhance the human experience of arts & culture, center under-served populations, and mobilize young people to make an impact. In addition, the foundation supports a global portfolio of nonprofit partners working across science and technology solutions to protect wildlife, preserve ocean health, and create lasting change. The foundation also funds the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, which works to advance cutting-edge research in all areas of bioscience.
About National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


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