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Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their outstanding contribution in the area of social innovation? Nominate them for the $100,000 Grinnell College Innovator in Social Justice Prize!

Craig Zelizer

September 29, 2019


Do you know somebody who is:

  • A change-maker working on the cutting edge of social innovation?
  • A leader collaborating and co-creating solutions to pressing social justice issues?
  • A visionary tackling immediate challenges while also addressing related systemic issues?
  • A mentor inspiring the next generation of social innovators?

Since 2011 the Grinnell Prize has exemplified Grinnell College's commitment to exploring issues of purpose, responsibility, and justice and inspiring innovative social change makers throughout the world. Winners of the Prize become part of a network of passionate visionaries who are both affecting change themselves and inspiring future generations to do the same.

Nomination Criteria

The 2020 Grinnell Prize Nomination Form is due at 11:59 p.m. CST, October 7, 2019.

  1. Nominees must be nominated by a third party.
  2. Nominees may be a single individual or a team of two people who are working together and who are the primary project innovators.
  3. Each nominee must have earned a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) between 2004 and 2020.
  4. Nominees should be forces for social justice.  The nominator should be able to demonstrate that the nominees, through their education, hard work, and dedication, have:
    1. Identified a concrete social or environmental justice need;
    2. Designed and implemented an equitable and creative solution related to that need;
    3. Begun to address the need’s systemic and root causes; and
    4. Demonstrated a substantive and sustainable community or environmental impact.
  5. Nominees must consent to their nomination. This consent will be given in the form of a letter that nominators upload in PDF format. (If you are nominating two individuals for collaborative work, nominees should write this letter together.) The letter will include:
    1. A statement indicating their willingness to be nominated for this prize;
    2. A statement confirming that they have completed an undergraduate degree(s) between 2004 and 2020, noting the name of the degree-granting college(s) or university(s); and
    3. A 4-5 paragraph description of their social innovation that includes a summary of:
      1. The context for the social justice need they are addressing
      2. Their work, including how it is innovative either in concept or implementation
      3. The ways in which they are addressing immediate needs as well as systemic issues and root causes related to the need
      4. The current and planned impact of their work
      5. A biography that highlights:
        1. The development of their interest and involvement with the social justice need
        2. The connections between their work and their education
  6. Nominees should have demonstrated the essence of Grinnell College's broad liberal arts education through serving the common good and demonstrating expertise in the areas of critical thinking, innovative problem solving, and measurable systemic change making.
  7. Nominees must not be widely known outside their immediate community or field.
  8. Nominees may be nationals of any country.
  9. Nominees DO NOT need to be affiliated with Grinnell College.
  10. Nominees must have sufficient English fluency to engage with the Grinnell College community.
  11. Nominees must be able to provide in English any supplemental information required as part of the selection process.

Additional Notes

The nomination form includes three essay questions that will be used to evaluate the nominees’ ability to:

  • Identify pressing social justice needs and utilize critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to solve issues related to that need;
  • Be innovative and socially just in the design and implementation of their solution; and
  • Demonstrate their solution’s current and potential social justice impact.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) The 2020 Grinnell Prize Nomination Form is due at 11:59 p.m. CST, October 7, 2019. Grinnell College reserves the right to modify the number of prizes awarded annually based on, but not limited to, the quality of nominations and financial considerations. The College also reserves the right to modify the criteria, requirements, and procedures as it deems necessary.

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