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High School Student Funds Creative Problem Solving Programs Across The Country

School programs tracking bullying and self esteem among winners of Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation's Big Problems Big Ideas competition

Published 06-10-15

Submitted by Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation

Two Texas schools and one Florida middle school were the winners of the first “Big Problems Big Ideas” competition, a national program launched by The Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation to encourage students to propose solutions to some of the issues that continue to challenge schools across the country.  The three winning schools each received $3,000 from the Foundation, which is run by Taylor Thompson, a senior at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago.  Thompson also conceived of the “Big Problems Big Ideas” competition.

“I want people of my generation to know that we can make positive change in our society, because what we have to say is valuable, insightful and powerful,” said Thompson.  “Through the ‘Big Problems, Big Ideas competition,’ I hope I can facilitate and spark some of that change.”

After submitting initial applications, nine schools representing eight states were invited to participate in the competition by submitting a proposal. Each proposal had to define, research and analyze a problem, present solutions and develop a plan for implementing the best solution for their particular school.  Each of the nine schools received a $1,000 grant for their proposal. 

Brownsville Early College High School of Brownsville, Texas won the high school competition with a submission on improving sexuality education in order to empower teens to make knowledgeable decisions regarding their sexual health.  There were also two winners at the middle school level, the Eugene Butler Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida with a project entitled "Be the Change: Putting an End to Violence and Bullying" and the Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy in Austin, Texas for a project addressing the need to improve negative body image.

"We are so thankful for the support of Taylor Thompson and her foundation, this has been a real change event for our students," said Ivette Savina, principal of the Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy. The school’s winning project, “Real Beauty Campaign,” included a school-wide assembly to kick off "Real Beauty Week,” an event that received local media attention.

Thompson plans to hold the “Big Problems Big Ideas” competition annually. 

Since 2013, The Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation has focused on helping young people identify and develop their leadership potential. Over the past three years, the foundation has partnered with schools, teachers and administrators to help give voice to students’ ideas through analytical problem solving activities. For more information on the foundation, visit

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Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation

Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation

Taylor Thompson is author of Leadership: It’s Child’s Play. Ten Steps to Children’s Leadership Development. She is also, founder of the Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation. Taylor is a second year student attending Barnard College at Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

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