- Big Think is highlighting worthy ventures that promote innovation and scale within educational programs.
- The Evergreen National Education Prize will award a $100,000 top prize to an organization that helps low-income youths access college or vocational education.
- Applications for this year's Evergreen Prize must be completed by July 12, 2019.
Earlier this year, Big Think partnered with the Lumina Foundation to find the next large-scale, rapid innovation in post-high school education. Together, we awarded the Lumina Prize to PeerForward, an organization that improves education and career success rates in low-income communities, and Greater Commons, an organization that utilizes agile learning to help people live happier, more fulfilling lives.
Both organizations demonstrated resourcefulness, a dedication to learning, and a commitment to innovation and scale that promises to nurture even more prospective students in the future.
“Innovation is something that we’ve long talked about, but today innovation is really critical to success in the system,” Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, said.
Because this social venture partnership proved so successful, we’ve decided to highlight other worthy initiatives in this space. Our goal is to help other education-focused organizations find similar success. And we have discovered one such opportunity in the fantastic Evergreen National Education Prize.
What is the Evergreen Prize?
Now in its second year, the Evergreen National Education Prize offers monetary and promotional support to programs that help low-income youths access and complete either college or vocational educations.
The prize is offered by the Greenwald Family Foundation and managed by America Succeeds. The Steering Committee guides its mission. As Jerry Greenwald, co-founder of Greenbriar Equity Group and member of the Steering Committee, writes:
I believe we need an objective means to learn which programs work and should be scaled. We’ve designed the Evergreen Prize to identify and scale the organization with the best program proven to boost low-income youth success in colleges or vocational schools.
To achieve this goal, the Greenwald Family Foundation awards one organization a top prize of $100,000 to promote their education program and build relationships within their space. Second- and third-place prizes are awarded in the form of monetary and promotional support as well.
Last year, the top prize went to College Possible, a non-profit that helps low-income students achieve college admission and success.
Is your organization eligible?
The Evergreen Prize outlines five criteria your organization must meet to be eligible. They are:
- Your organization must be U.S.-based and either non-profit or governmental.
- It must provide evidence of its success and cost-effectiveness.
- It must have a plan to scale.
- It must be willing to share its program model with other organizations.
- Its annual operating budget must be less than $8 million.
If your organization meets these criteria, you can apply for the 2019 Evergreen Prize here. All applications must be completed by July 12, 2019.
For more detailed information on the prize and its eligibility requirements, please visit the Evergreen Prize FAQs page.
Scaling to empower future students
Like the Lumina Foundation, the Greenwald Family Foundation isn’t just looking for the trendiest idea. Both foundations want to see pioneering ideas scaled to empower as many young students as possible.
“The nature of the change that’s required is going to have to be at scale. In other words, the innovation has to be focused on the fact that it’s going to serve many people — that it’s going to solve large-scale social problems,” Merisotis said of the Lumina Prize.
If your organization has such a plan to empower low-income students, we recommend applying to the Evergreen Prize.