Grinnell Prize

Grinnell College is seeking nominations of young innovators under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.


he 2014 winners are announced in the fall of 2014.
Grinnell hopes to attract nominations across a wide range of fields, including science, medicine, the environment, humanities, business, economics, education, law, public policy, social services, religion and ethics, as well as projects that cross these boundaries.

We especially hope to receive nominations of those who work in areas that may not be traditionally viewed as directly connected to social justice, such as the arts and business.

No affiliation with Grinnell College is required. Contact the Prize Office at prize@grinnell.edu if, after visiting the FAQ page, you still have questions.

About the Prize

The Grinnell Prize — which annually presents winners with a prize of $100,000 — honors young innovators under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.
The program directly reflects Grinnell’s historic mission to educate men and women “who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.”
“The Grinnell Prize reflects our College’s longstanding commitment to educating men and women who will make a difference in the world,” said President Raynard S. Kington. “We have been impressed by the high quality of nominations that we’ve received in the first years of the prize, and our students benefit greatly from interacting with Grinnell Prize recipients in the classroom and in informal settings on campus. The Grinnell Prize honors those who ‘practice what we teach,’ and we are pleased to have this forum to recognize young people who are raising visibility and creating innovative solutions for some of the world’s most pressing issues.”

Nominations for the 2014 Prize is now open. Nominations may be submitted through Friday, November 8, 2013, via the on-line form. 

2014 Prize Criteria

Up to three $100,000 prizes will be presented to individuals under the age of 40 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:
  • Not have turned 40 by January 1, 2014;
  • 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.
Nominations for the 2014 Prize may be submitted via the online form on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, through Friday, November 8, 2013. 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.



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