Nominations for the 2017 Grinnell Prize will open on July 1, 2016.

Nomination Criteria

Up to two $100,000 prizes will be presented to individuals less than 15 years out of their bachelor program who demonstrate leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. Half of the monetary prize will be given to the recipient (or shared between two recipients, in case of a shared prize) and half will be contributed to an organization designated by the winner.

Nominees may be nationals of any country; no affiliation to Grinnell College is required. The program encourages a global and diverse pool of candidates.

The record of the individual's achievement to date will be key to the selection committee's appraisal; promise for ongoing advancement of his/her work will also be considered. In keeping with the history of Grinnell College, recipients will be individuals who have advanced social issues in ways that embody the values of a liberal arts education and collaborative leadership. Areas of accomplishment may include, but are certainly not limited to: Art, Science, Medicine, the Environment, Humanities, Business, Economics, Law, Public Policy, Social Services, Religion, Ethics, and projects which cross these boundaries. The program will make a special effort to seek nominations of individuals who work in areas that may not have been traditionally viewed as directly connected to social justice, such as the arts and business, and who are not widely known outside their immediate community or field.

Eligible nominees must:
  • Have completed a bachelor's degree (or equivalency) between 1999 and 2015;
  • Have an exceptional record of substantive, innovative contributions within their chosen field that have enabled them to become a force for social justice;
  • Through their actions, embody the Grinnell College ideal of using their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good;
  • Demonstrate the essence of Grinnell College's broad liberal arts education through critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and free inquiry;
  • Not be widely known outside their immediate community or field;
  • Be nominated by a third party;
  • If chosen as a winner and along with their chosen organization, be verified and validated by Grinnell College;
  • Participate in an on-campus symposium and awards ceremony, and explore other opportunities to engage with the Grinnell and wider community;
  • Have sufficient English fluency to facilitate participation and community engagement; and
  • Be able to provide in English any supplemental information required as part of the selection process.

Nomination Essay

All nominations must include an essay of 750 words or less.

A few essay writing tips:

You are encouraged to prepare this essay with input from your nominee ahead of time.
There is no requirement that the 750 words be distributed evenly between the three or four questions or that the questions be addressed in any particular order. The College leaves the structure of the essay to the discretion of the nominator to best tell your nominee’s story.

In 750 words or less, you will be asked to address the following:

  1. Describe the nominee’s innovative contribution to their field or community. Articulate how the nominee is innovative and distinguishable from others doing similar work.
  2. Describe the impact the nominee’s innovation has had among their constituents/community. Articulate the quality and/or quantity of the impact. Provide concrete evidence, if possible.
  3. Why is the nominee a force for social justice, and how has the nominee demonstrated the skills of critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and free inquiry?
  4. If this is a joint nomination of two individuals, describe the collaborative relationship the two individuals bring to their work together.

Nominations for the 2017 Grinnell Prize will open on July 1, 2016. Thank you for your interest in the Grinnell Prize!

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.