$100,000 Grinnell College Innovator in Social Justice Prize 2019

Grinnell College is now accepting nominations for its 2019 Innovator in Social Justice Prize. The deadline for submission of nominations for Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize (the Grinnell Prize) is October 9, 2018.

Grinnell College Innovator in Social Justice Prize


The Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize (the Grinnell Prize) honors individuals who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. Each prize carries an award of $100,000, half to the winning individual(s) and half to their organization.

Grinnell was founded in 1846 by a group of transplanted New Englanders with strong Congregational and social-reformer backgrounds. They organized as the Trustees of Iowa College — originally in Davenport, Iowa. In 1859 the trustees moved the College to newly settled Grinnell, Iowa, where their abolitionist sentiments were more welcome. At the time, Grinnell was an important stop on the Underground Railroad that secretly transported slaves to freedom.

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?

Grinnell College Innovator in Social Justice Prize Nomination Criteria.

  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.
  3. Nominees must consent to their nomination. This consent must be given in the form of a letter (if you are nominating two individuals for collaborative work this letter should come from the two jointly) that will be uploaded to the nomination form and must include: This letter must be written by the nominee(s), be in PDF format and include:  
    1.  A statement indicating their willingness to be nominated for this prize; 
    2. A statement indicating confirmation that they will have completed an undergraduate degree(s) between the years of 2003-2019 and noting the name of degree granting college or university;
      1. A brief (2-3 paragraph) description of their social innovation work noting:
      2. the social justice need they are addressing; 
      3. what they feel is innovative in how they are addressing the need;
      4. the ways in which they are addressing systemic issues related to the need; andthe current and planned impact of their work.
  4. Nominee(s) must have earned a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) between 2003 and 2019
  5. Nominees should be a force for social justice. They should have identified a concrete social justice need, designed creative and socially just solutions to address that need, and made a substantive impact through their hard work and dedication. 
  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 solutions; and
  • Demonstrate their solution’s current and potential social justice impact. 

Essay Questions: (Answers must be in English.)

  1. Describe the social justice need that the nominee(s) is/are addressing and how the nominee(s) has demonstrated the skills of critical thinking and creative problem solving in solving issues related to this need. (1750 character maximum) 
  2. Describe how the nominee’(s) is/are innovative in designing and implementing socially just solutions that address the need noted in question 1 above.  Articulate how the nominee’(s) work is distinguishable from others doing similar work. (1750 character maximum)
  3. Describe how the nominee(s) is/are addressing the systemic or root causes of the issue they are addressing.  Make sure to articulate how the nominee’s work is addresssing more than symptoms related to the need stated in question 1 above. (1750 character maximum)
  4. Describe the current and potential impact of the nominee(s) work as it relates to the need noted question 1 above. Articulate both the quality and/or quantity of the impact. Provide concrete evidence, when possible. (1750 character maximum) 

If chosen as a winner,

  • The nominees’ work and organization will be verified and validated by Grinnell College.
  • The nominees will be required to attend an on-campus award ceremony and symposium.
  • The nominees will be asked to explore additional opportunities for engagement with the Grinnell College community.

The 2019 Grinnell Prize Nomination Form is due by 11:59 p.m. (CST) on October 8, 2018.

Please direct any questions to career@grinnell.edu or to 1-641-269-4940.

Nominate Someone Official Link


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