Prizes in Philanthropy Grow in Popularity

June 11, 2010 at 8:57 am Leave a comment

Prizes in philanthropy seem to be quite in vogue these days, gauging from a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article as well as other media coverage and announcements. The awards range from modest cash awards of $5,000 up to the granddaddy of them all, the X Prize Foundation’s $10 and $20 million awards.  Some awards seek to spur innovation while others award accomplishment; some go to individuals, some to organizations; some are judged by experts while others depend on popular votes.

A few examples of perhaps less-known foundation prizes include:

  • Lodestar Foundation’s $250,000 Collaboration Prize
  • Broad $2 million Prize for Urban Education
  • Knight’s News Challenge
  • Hitachi Foundation’s $50,000 Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program
  • JPMorgan Chase’s Community Giving Contest
  • Dominion East Ohio’s Community Impact Awards

Last year, a report by McKinsey & Company, And the winner is, also focused on the potential of cash awards to catalyze breakthrough solutions to social problems. It suggested that “Leading philanthropists should consider how they can best use prizes as part of their philanthropic portfolio, and should accept the challenge of finding innovative ways to harness the potential of this powerful instrument.” McKinsey’s research counted large prizes (which they defined as $100,000 or more) that totaled $375 million last year.

Does your foundation currently award a prize or is it considering doing so? If so, we’d like to hear about it. And, while OGF’s prize, the Ohio Philanthropy Award, doesn’t include a cash award, each year’s recipient does receive a very nice art glass sculpture suitable for your office bookshelf. Nominees for the award must be:

  • an individual or a group of individuals involved with organized philanthropy in Ohio; or
  • a grantmaking organization (foundation, corporate contributions program or other grantmaking organization) or a group of grantmaking organizations in Ohio.

Nominations are due July 16; more info is online for OGF members.

Let’s talk,
Claudia Herrold
vice president, communications & public policy


Entry filed under: Annual Conference 2010, Miscellaneous.

Are you engaged in sector-agnostic philanthropy? Philanthropy’s Role in Solving Today’s Challenges

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