2021 Bank of America LIFT Challenge Announces NYU Stern Winners

Health Heroes Team
A team of NYU Stern undergraduate students was recently awarded second place in the 2021 LIFT Challenge, sponsored by Bank of America. The team, composed of James Hu (BS ‘25), Archana Sivanandarajah (BS ‘25), Alan Xia (BS ‘25), and Dana Zhang (BS ‘25), was one of 45 teams in the competition to develop a blended finance proposal to address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to LIFT’s website, blended finance combines public and philanthropic financing to “reduce risk in order to make [projects] more attractive to public capital.” 

Promoting SDGs 1 (eliminate poverty), 3 (good health and well-being),10 (reduce inequalities), and 17 (partnerships for the goals), the winning proposal, “Health Heroes Microinsurance,” presented a blockchain-driven solution to provide health insurance to India’s rural population in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The team’s blended financing solution included philanthropic grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, government grants from the U.S. Department of Health, and a private loan from Bank of America. After advancing past the initial rounds, the team pitched its project to a panel of virtual judges.  

“It was rewarding to see how the team had grown throughout this process, doing so much background research especially in blended finance since it’s a field we started off knowing very little about. None of us had done a case competition before, so the process was definitely foreign and daunting to us, but getting to work through this process and talk to all the judges and teams made it a really worthwhile learning experience for us,” said the Health Heroes team.

In recognition of winning second place, the team was awarded $5,000 and may be featured in future Center for Sustainable Enterprise press materials. Congratulations to team Health Heroes!