City of Tempe advances in national competition to boost middle class

City of Tempe advances in national competition to boost middle class

The City of Tempe’s Care4Me team is one of three teams to win the local Alliance for the American Dream competition at Arizona State University and advance to the national semi-finals  to present an innovative solution that connects families with child care and social supports. The teams are ultimately vying for up to $1 million in funding to support a range of efforts that boost middle class incomes.


The three teams, Care4Me, Enfuego and me3, will compete in March 2020 for a slot in the finals in the competition by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt that finds exceptional people and helps them do more for others together.

Care4Me helps families find quality, affordable child care that meets their needs. By assisting parents as they navigate this complex system, Care4Me enables users to return to work, increase their work hours, seek promotions and pursue educational opportunities, all of which enhance their earnings or earning potential.

“Care4Me is for all families who struggle finding quality, affordable child care,” said Marie Raymond, family and community support manager for the City of Tempe’s Human Services Department. “The proposal especially helps those who may have delayed entering the workforce or who rely on a patchwork of unreliable care because they simply cannot afford the available options, or they don’t know how to access financial assistance.”

ASU’s top teams each pitched different technological solutions to respond to the Alliance for the American Dream’s ambitious challenge to devise innovative solutions that increase by 10 percent the net incomes of 10,000 middle class households by 2022. Those solutions seek to increase earnings, decrease expenses or do both.

“A vibrant, thriving middle class depends on the ability of the labor force to find meaningful work,” said Andrew Nelson, the program manager at ASU who leads this effort. “Each of these proposals are promising, novel solutions that strengthen the economic security of local middle class families by improving their employability and reducing the barriers to employment.”

Over the coming months, teams will work closely with ASU and local entrepreneurship coaches to further develop and enhance their proposals. The selected finalists will pitch their solutions to a screening panel convened by Schmidt Futures alongside the top three teams from each of the other Alliance members, including The Ohio State University, University of Utah and University of Wisconsin-Madison. As many as five teams will then be invited to the finals, where they will compete for up to $1 million of implementation funding from Eric Schmidt.

The local teams were selected by a Community Review Board that includes prominent local leaders from various sectors: former Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano of Greater Phoenix Leadership, Ed Borromeo of Tallwave, Monica Villalobos of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Carl Zaragoza of Leadership for Educational Equity and Christy Moore of Social Spin Laundromat. 

Finalists were chosen from among eight innovative proposals working on solutions ranging from upskilling lifelong learners to food business incubation. Teams were evaluated on a number of criteria, including the likelihood of achieving the goal, benefit to diverse communities, depth of research and being partner focused. 

For more about the City of Tempe’s Human Services Department, visit

Media contact: Susie Steckner, [email protected] or 480-734-5186.

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