Since 2011 the Grinnell Prize has exemplified Grinnell College’s commitment to supporting and inspiring innovative social change makers throughout the world. Winners of the Prize become part of a network of passionate visionaries who are both effecting change themselves and inspiring future generations to do the same. Notable past winners include James Kofi Annan for his work combating child slavery in Ghana through Challenging Heights; Jane Chen and Linus Liang for their work designing and distributing low cost infant warmers through Embrace;  Jacob Wood and William McNulty for their work with veterans and emergency response initiatives through Team Rubicon; and Maria Vertkin for her work helping multilingual low-income women to become medical interpreters through Found in Translation. All of these individuals saw a particular need, designed creative and socially just solutions to address that need, and were able to make a tangible impact through their hard work and dedication.

Nominations for the 2017 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize are now open. If you know a creative problem solver who meets the nomination criteria below, please submit the online nomination form by Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 11:59pm CST.

> > 2017 Online Nomination Form

Nomination Criteria

  1. Nominee(s) must be nominated by a third party.
  2. Nominee(s) 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:
    1. A statement indicating the nominee(s) willingness to be nominated for this prize;
    2. A statement indicating confirmation that the nominee(s) will have completed an undergraduate degree between the years of 2001-2017;
    3. A brief (1-2 paragraph) description of the nominee(s) social justice work - in their own words. Please have the nominee describe the need they are addressing, how they designed creative and socially just solutions to address that need, and how they were able to make a tangible impact.
  3. Nominee(s) must have earned a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) between 2001 and 2017.
  4. Nominee(s) 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.
  5. Nominee(s) 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.
  6. Nominee(s) must not be widely known outside their immediate community or field.
  7. Nominees may be nationals of any country.
  8. Nominees do not need to be affiliated with Grinnell College.
  9. Nominee(s) must have sufficient English fluency to engage with the Grinnell College Community.
  10. Nominee(s) must be able to provide in English any supplemental information required as part of the selection process.

Additional Notes

If chosen as a winner,

  1. The nominee(s) work and organization will be verified and validated by Grinnell College.
  2. The nominee(s) will be required to attend an on-campus award ceremony and symposium.
  3. The nominee(s) will be asked to explore additional opportunities for engagement with the Grinnell College community.

The nomination form includes three essays that will be used to evaluate the nominee(s) ability to

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

The essay questions are as follows: (Answers to these essays must be in English.)

  1. Describe the social justice need(s) that the nominee(s) is addressing and how the nominee(s) has demonstrated the skills of critical thinking and creative problem solving in solving issues related to this need. (2000 character maximum)
  2. Describe how the nominee’(s) is 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. (2000 character maximum)
  3. 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)

The following information may also be helpful to review prior to filling out the form:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Nominator/Nominee Focus Area Descriptions

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.