Sparking action to protect our oceans, conducting oceanic citizen science, and inspiring a more courageous world

Major Announcement Coming in 2022

Be the first to hear about it!

First Mission Accomplished

Together we raised over $76,000 for UWC scholarships, funded the collection of nearly 200,000 ocean-bound plastic bottles, conducted citizen science with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and inspired thousands around the world.


The Mission

The United World Challenge is a platform to spark action to protect the oceans, advance citizen science, and inspire a more courageous world.  Our impact partners sit at the forefront of ocean innovation and restoration, and together we elevate their work through the visibility we create and the funds we raise.  We team up with research partners to generate new insights into how ecosystems work and our impacts upon them, by collecting data in these remote oceanic regions for new research. And finally, by recording and sharing the honest experiences during months alone at sea - through social media, our custom Esri StoryMap, blogs and more - the United World Challenge aims to empower people everywhere to connect with their inner explorer and athlete, and to believe in our opportunity for a better world together. 

We all have an ocean to cross – what’s yours?

Sponsorship is more than just a good story. It’s about pursuing a vision greater than the sum of the parts. It’s about making impact neither partner could achieve alone. In short, it’s about crossing oceans together.

We’ve done our homework. UWC Challenge has non-profit status for tax benefits to project partners. Finances are managed by professional, independent accountants. And partnership funds to cover expedition costs are kept 100% separate from all scholarship donations.

Let's row towards your goals!

Research and Education

The United World Challenge aims to push the frontiers of scientific research and education as a force for good. Together with partners at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Tez is gathering microfiber samples during the trans-Pacific crossing. These samples will help the scientific community understand the migration of microfibers across ecosystems and their impact on the environment.
We're also piloting the Ocean Classroom Campaign - open-source lessons to teach students marine science and coding. Visit the green special entries in the Story Map to download the exercises built by Challenge Chief Science Officer Jess Garwood, PhD. Available to students and classrooms worldwide who want to engage in the adventure and learn valuable job-ready skills.


We are driving partner results in four areas

Connect with millions

We can reach over 22 million followers across partner and affiliate channels – and our reach grows more each week. Our world-first StoryMap will be embedded here and on partner websites, generating ongoing exposure and engagement with global audiences from start to finish of the 2,400 mile journey.

Broadcast your story

Partners will have their roles and company stories showcased across the Challenge asset portfolio, including StoryMap, talks, blog, film and social media. Through our unique media, this journey is a platform to share your story in inspiring new ways with the audiences we reach and through your own channels. 

Enhance your brand

Everyone has dreams – not everyone realizes them. Are you ready to walk the walk? Aligning to this mission will elevate your brand value as you show that you are defined by values such as courage, resilience, innovation and optimism.

Make real impact

This isn’t another CSR afterthought – this is real. We’re raising $150,000 in scholarships for new students to attend United World Colleges, one of the most empowering experiences a young person can have. And, as Tez rows across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, we will raise awareness across the world about the plastic crisis and what we can all do to help.

The team

Our team consists of UWC alumni, ocean rowing pioneers and friends all championing the Challenge and supporting Tez’s safe crossing.

Tez Steinberg

Tez launched the United World Challenge to support the UWC movement’s mission create a more peaceful and sustainable world.

Tez brings over 10 years endurance racing experience. He’s a two-time Ironman with top-5% finishes, runs ultramarathons up to 145-miles nonstop, and does crazy stuff like climbing Long’s Peak in Colorado as his first 14’er. During college, he completed a 54km Nordic ski marathon on borrowed skis after practicing just a dozen times. Tez feels most alive when pushing his limits and he can’t wait to row to Hawaii to help grow UWC and inspire a more courageous world.

Originally from the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, Tez is a graduate of the UWC of the Adriatic in Italy (2004-2006), where he won a full scholarship. He lives in Boulder, Colorado and is a Manager with Deloitte Consulting. Tez is an alumni of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community and a member of NEXUS Global. He earned his MBA from London Business School and BA from Macalester College.

Jess Garwood

Chief Science Officer

Jessica C. Garwood is an oceanographer who uses computer models and underwater robots to better understand how ocean currents and waves interact to move drifting plankton, such as fish larvae. Jessica joined the team to provide some scientific context to Tez’s odyssey; she attended UWCAD (04-06) and recently received her PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Zachary G. B. Smith

Team Support

Inspired by the United World Challenge, Zack joined the team to launch a podcast to share our story with the world and bring you along for the journey. As a marketer and podcaster, he finds the best outcomes result from collective genius. Zack earned his B.S. in Environmental Studies with a focus on communication, and he's been connecting people through story ever since.

Jen Mackie

Team Support

Jen attended UWCSEA (Singapore) 2001-2006 and hails from Brisbane, Australia. After finishing school she continued on to a volunteer position in Cambodia with other students from UWCSEA, UWC Adriatic and UWC Red Cross Nordic. With a background in digital marketing, advertising and content strategy, she is working to extend the reach of the United World Challenge. Jen is an MBA Graduate of Queensland University of Technology, and lives in Sydney, Australia.

Taylor Howard

Team Support

Taylor works at Facebook as Content Strategist for Facebook Connectivity. Previously, she was Lead Content Strategist for the International User Experience & Design Team at Alibaba Group in Hangzhou, China, overseeing content marketing and content strategy for 7 markets: Global (English speaking), France, Spain, Brasil, Latin America, Russia and Israel. Taylor attended UWC-USA (02-04) and hails from Warren, Michigan. She holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College.

Will Greenwood

Team Support

Will is a software developer who holds a B.Sc. Honours in Bioinformatics and lives in Calgary where he is the CTO of a proptech startup, RealOffice360, and is the founder of a digital marketing agency, Intermedia Agency. With a background in web development, digital marketing, and data science, Will is helping United World Challenge maximize their digital presence with the right tools and technology.

Roz Savage, MBE


Leven Brown


Sonya Baumstein


The journey

Solo rowing an ocean is hard. Solo rowing to Hawaii is really hard.

Our journey begins in northern California, where Tez will cross busy shipping lanes, row through the night against winds pushing him to shore, and face a wall of raging waves 30 miles (50km) from land where the ocean floor drops away. And that's just the first few days.

Self-sufficient and carrying all food and equipment to survive for up to 90 days, Tez will traverse remote wildlife habitat and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling mass of debris and plastic filling an area the size of Texas. After navigating 2,500 miles of open ocean, Tez will arrive in Hawaii, becoming one of very few people to ever complete this route.

Through partner and affiliate channels, the United World Challenge can reach over 22 million followers and counting.

We’re preparing to produce a series of world-first content, using this journey to inspire people believe in themselves and live their best lives.

Using our custom-built Esri StoryMap, followers and fans can track the journey from start to finish from a single browser and platform. Click any milestone on the route and see the photos, videos, podcasts and blogs  from that day.

Want to place the StoryMap on your website? It will show content from start-to-finish, as the GIS gurus making this magical map add Tez's multimedia content throughout the row. Embedding is easy, just drop in the code like you do for a YouTube video.

We’re also planning to create 360-degree video of the start and finish, crossing the Pacific Garbage Patch, storms and more. These 360-experiences will immerse you in the journey, and will be paired with public speaking to give audiences an experience of life at sea.

We're looking for a production partner for this never-before-made 360 content. Are you ready to make history with us? Get in touch – we’re ready to work with you!

Supporting United World Colleges

United World Colleges (UWC) is a global movement that makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.

In 2004 Tez won a scholarship to attend the UWC of the Adriatic in northern Italy, and he’s wanted to pay that forward to a new student ever since. Now, thanks to this row and the support of hundreds of “crew mates”, that dream is coming true.

What is UWC?

The movement began in 1962 when Atlantic College in Wales, UK admitted its first students. The Cold War raged and UWC set out to bring together young people from different nations to act as champions of peace through an education based on shared learning, collaboration, and understanding.

UWC has since gained global recognition as a catalyst for international understanding, and today teaches 3,000 college students each year in 18 schools on 4 continents. Students are selected for their demonstrated promise and potential, coming from 155 countries. Over 80% of students receive scholarships to attend.

In the turbulent world of the 21st century, UWC’s aims and objectives are as relevant today as they were in 1962 – perhaps even more so.

Like ocean rowing, UWC brings students far beyond their comfort zone and into a place of deep growth. At UWC, students see that the world and our human differences are smaller than they may first appear,

and that by working together we can tackle even the greatest challenges. Students learn that before gender, nationality, religion or any other label, we are all human and share one planet.

Our UWC scholarship fund

100% goes to UWC scholarships

We’ve partnered with UWC-USA to launch the United World Challenge Scholarship Fund. Learn more here and make a gift today. Your contribution is tax deductible in the USA and 100% goes to UWC.

We’re also working with the UWC International Office in London who will provide strategic advice on the best use of the fund, to ensure we make the greatest possible impact when the scholarships are awarded to students in fall 2020. If possible, we hope to support students from coastal countries suffering the effects of climate change and rising seas.

To learn more, contact:
Mark Hodde, UWC-USA Chief Advancement Officer
Tez Steinberg, Chief Engine Officer

Rowing 3,000 miles to bring more peace and love to the world and raise scholarships to UWC