On May 5, 2011, Grinnell College announced the winners of the first Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize (The Grinnell Prize). The Grinnell Prize honors individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and show creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.
The 2011 winners were selected from more than 1,000 nominations from 66 countries. Each winning entry received $100,000, half to the individual(s) and half to an organization the winner(s) designated for a total of $300,000 awarded this year in prize monies. The inauguration of Grinnell College's 13th president Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D marked a transition point for the college. The prize commemorates the occasion and celebrates Grinnell’s historical and future commitment to positive social change.
On October 25-27, 2011, winners visited the campus to participate in the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize Symposium and awards ceremony. Through public lectures and interactions with students, they shared their experiences and perspectives in effecting positive and innovative social change. Noted civil rights lawyer and founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees, delivered the symposium’s keynote address. Winners of the 2011 Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize are:
Eric W. Glustrom and Boris Bulayev's Educate! social entrepreneurship training—which invests long-term in youth so they can positively impact others—has been incorporated by the Ugandan government into the national education system, becoming the first national social entrepreneurship curriculum in the world.
Rabbi Melissa Weintraub and Encounter work to help leaders gain a more nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict & reshape policy decision-making by providing firsthand exposure to Palestinian narratives & realities in the West Bank.
James Kofi Annan and Challenging Heights work to rescue children from slavery, provide educational support in the most impoverished communities in Ghana, and supply community development support to address the root cause of slavery and child trafficking.