The Manhattan Institute Award for Social Entrepreneurship honors non-profit leaders who have found innovative, private solutions for America's most pressing social problems.
Throughout its history, the United States has been marked by the capacity of citizens to solve social problems through their own initiative. Americans come forward to organize volunteer and non-profit action to improve American society. Winners of this award will exemplify this tradition.
Applicant organizations are assessed according to the following criteria:
- Energetic founding leaders;
- Strong vision;
- Committed volunteers;
- Creative, entrepreneurial ways of conceiving and meeting goals;
- Significant private sector financial support;
- Sustainability or permanence;
- Clear, measurable results;
- Commitment to sustaining the vitality of civil society.
All nominations are submitted to the Social Entrepreneurship Selection Committee. After review and discussion, the Committee selects a small group (up-to-ten) as finalists. A representative of the Manhattan Institute visits each of these finalists. The Committee then makes the final selections.
Recognition is reserved for those organizations whose guiding purpose and function stem from private initiatives and ideas. However, accepting government funds does not, in itself, preclude consideration.
The award recognizes the creative energy of the non-profit sector by highlighting new ideas and approaches even by mature organizations.
Any non-profit organization that provides a direct service within the continental United States to address a public problem can be nominated for this award. Examples of the types of organizations we want to recognize include:
- Private social service groups that assist poor families with housing, health care, job training, and other similar needs;
- Reformative organizations that help people cope with moral or psychological problems, such as drug addiction or criminal behavior;
- Education groups that through mentoring, counseling, or other after-school programs improve children's educational achievement and possibilities;
- Community groups that improve the quality-of-life in their neighborhoods;
- Conservancies that use private donations from corporations or individuals to purchase land and preserve it from development.
Non-profit organizations that engage in political advocacy or that bring legal actions, or whose primary activities are in response to government RFPs are not eligible for this award, nor are individual charter or private schools.
Annually, up to five awards of $25,000 are presented at the Social Entrepreneurship Awards Dinner in New York City. In addition, the Manhattan Institute also awards one $100,000 grand prize—The William E. Simon Award—in recognition of long-time achievement in Social Entrepreneurship.
Nominations may be submitted by anyone familiar with a person's or group's activities except for a current employee of that person or group. Award nomination forms for 2009 will be available online from January 23rd until March 20th, 2009.
Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.