The Elevate Prize

Looking for leaders, innovators, activists, and risk-takers

We are looking for leaders, innovators, activists, and risk-takers who are impacting their community every day! Does your work have the potential to elevate humanity and inspire others to act as engines for social good?

Prize Overview

In our increasingly interconnected world, the ability to reach global audiences has never been more attainable. Mobile phones, the internet, and social media have enabled unprecedented levels of communication, information and knowledge exchange across cultures and geographies.

However, and now more than ever, simply connecting with one another is not enough to tackle the urgent and complex challenges our world faces. To ensure that all people have access to effective health services, quality education, and safe environments to live and prosper; to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change; and to create awareness among people so that we grow in empathy, wisdom, and love, we need far more than influencers and brands that shape viewer opinions and purchasing patterns. As people feel increasingly powerless against global crises such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need leaders and role models around the world – Global Heroes – with energy, ideas, solutions, and results that can elevate humanity, inspire movements, mobilize people, and catalyze positive, transformational change.

The Elevate Prize is seeking to find, support, and shine a spotlight on these Global Heroes, creating a multiplier effect that will allow them to more easily scale their work, impact more lives, and inspire others to tackle issues in their own communities – igniting a chain reaction of goodness across the world. Specifically, we are looking for extraordinary people leading high-impact projects and organizations who are:

  • Elevating opportunities for all people, especially those who are traditionally left behind
  • Elevating issues and their solutions by building awareness and driving action to solve the most difficult problems of our world
  • Elevating understanding of and between people through changing people’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors

What is The Elevate Prize?

Founded by businessman and philanthropist Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize Foundation launched The Elevate Prize powered by MIT Solve to awaken the hero in everyone. The Prize will award up to USD $5 million annually to multiple Global Heroes, as well as offer valuable resources for two years after being selected, helping amplify their work and build a massive movement to galvanize people all over the world to do good in their own community.

The Elevate Prize will provide Global Heroes with:

  • A minimum prize of US$300,000 spread over two years, with potential for additional funding.
  • Professional management and development services, mentorship and coaching, educational training, capacity building, and connection with influencers, industry leaders, and experts through Elevate Prize Foundation’s two-year program.
  • A tailored media and marketing campaign aimed at amplifying their work, building recognition and a fanbase around the Global Hero, and ultimately inspiring others to contribute to the public good.
  • Access to a dynamic network of Elevate Prize Global Heroes and partners.

Who can apply to The Elevate Prize?

The Elevate Prize is open to applicants with a demonstrated history of catalyzing social and/or environmental impact through their work and leadership. We are looking for people with enormous energy, talent, open hearts, and open minds – who have the potential to greatly expand their reach, inspire the hearts and minds of others, and contribute to elevating humanity on a global scale.

Specifically, The Elevate Prize is seeking Global Heroes who are:

  • Transformational and Innovative Leaders: Those who are addressing big, critical issues in their communities with powerful, tangible solutions. People with the talent, skills, background, and experience to create lasting, positive impact, and inspire the hearts and minds of others, thereby helping to elevate others on a global scale.
  • Purpose-Driven: We want to know why you are doing this work, why the issues you are tackling are important to you and your community, results to date, and how you and your work can inspire others.
  • Problem Solvers: Are your ideas and implementation innovative, your messaging more effective? Do you have the ability to persevere and transform obstacles into opportunities? Have you been successful to date?
  • Radically Diverse: Whether you are an entrepreneur in Haiti, an artist in Bangladesh, a technologist in Germany, an activist in Brazil, or a doctor in Egypt, we want to hear from you! The Elevate Prize will select Global Heroes from across all regions and industries.
  • Resilient: We want to learn about your challenges and failures and how you have overcome them.
  • At a Tipping Point: You’ve already driven impact through your work and are well-positioned to do much more and inspire others to make change using the significantly larger audience and range of resources offered by The Elevate Prize.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact our lives, The Elevate Prize Foundation recognizes that there are heroes all over the world who are putting their health and safety at risk to treat those infected and save lives. Now more than ever, it is critical to recognize and uplift those who are elevating humanity by preparing for, detecting, and responding to emerging pandemics and health security threats. Therefore, The Elevate Prize has committed to select at least one Solver from the MIT Solve Global Challenge on Health Security and Pandemics as part of its inaugural cohort of Global Heroes. This exemplar leader will take part in both the MIT Solver program and the Elevate Prize Global Heroes program, receiving a minimum of US$300,000 spread over two years as well as ongoing support from The Elevate Prize Foundation and MIT Solve.

The applicant should be the primary delegate for their organization. If selected as a finalist, this person will be invited to present their work during The Elevate Prize Awards in New York City, and if selected as a Global Hero, they will be the lead participant throughout the program.

Please note:

  • Submissions must be written in English.
  • Individual applicants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Individual applicants must be affiliated with a legally established entity (formed either under U.S. law or under the laws of the country of their residence).
  • Directors and officers of The Elevate Prize Foundation, Inc., members of the Judging Panel, and such individuals’ family members (spouse, ancestors, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and spouses of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren) are not eligible for The Elevate Prize.
  • Applicants interested in The Elevate Prize for Solve’s Health Security and Pandemics Challenge should apply only to the Health Security and Pandemics Challenge.

How does The Elevate Prize work?

  1. SOURCING SUBMISSIONS Anyone who meets the criteria above can participate in The Elevate Prize and submit an application. Whether you are deepening your work in one community or scaling your organization globally, we’re looking for innovators and leaders who will use The Elevate Prize to catalyze change and inspire the world.
  2. SELECTING SUBMISSIONS Once the submission deadline passes (see timeline for dates), judging begins. After an initial screening by Elevate Prize Foundation and MIT Solve staff and community, Elevate Prize judges select the most promising submissions as Finalists. These Finalists will be invited to present their work live at The Elevate Prize Awards in New York City in September, where judges will select The Elevate Prize Global Heroes.

How will my application be evaluated?

The judging committee for The Elevate Prize will be comprised of experts and leaders from across industries. After an initial screening by Elevate Prize Foundation and MIT Solve staff and community, the judges will score the screened applications based on the following criteria:

  • Proven Impact: The implementation of the applicant’s work has already impacted lives.
  • Feasibility: The implementation of the applicant’s work is feasible, and the applicant has a plan for financial sustainability.
  • Scalability: The applicant’s work can be significantly scaled to affect the lives of more people.
  • Capability: The applicant is well prepared to develop the work further and has demonstrated the necessary skills and track record to improve, expand, or replicate the work.
  • Exemplar: The applicant is a role model in their community and has a story that will capture the hearts and minds of others, elevating their awareness, cultivating their compassion, and inspiring them to tackle their own puzzles and projects.
  • Partnership Potential: The applicant clearly explains why they are poised to effectively leverage The Elevate Prize and how their work would benefit from the significantly larger audience and range of resources offered.

Finalists will be invited to present their work before The Elevate Prize judges and a live audience during The Elevate Prize Awards in New York City in September 2020. The judges will determine which presentations are the most promising and the selected Global Heroes will receive prize funding and ongoing support from The Elevate Prize Foundation over two years.

The Elevate Prize Timeline

March 30, 2020 – The Elevate Prize Opens for Submissions
June 29, 2020 – Deadline for Applicants to Submit to The Elevate Prize
August 5, 2020 – The Elevate Prize Finalists announced
September 18-19, 2020 – Global Heroes Selected During The Elevate Prize Awards in New York City


June 30, 2020
Organizer MIT SOLVE
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