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The Elevate Prize Foundation Announces its Second Annual Elevate Prize, Awarding Ten Social Entrepreneurs with $5 Million to Amplify Their Impact in Driving World Change

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The Elevate Prize Foundation, in collaboration with MIT Solve, announced today the winners of the second annual Elevate Prize, which distributes $5 million across 10 diverse social entrepreneurs working to solve pressing issues around the world. This year’s winners, selected from a pool of over 1,200 applicants, stand out for their innovative approaches to global causes, such as LGBTQIA+ rights, access to health care, social justice reform and sustainability.

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In alphabetical order: Amanda Alexander, Detroit Justice Center; Krista Donaldson, Equalize Health; Aparna Hegde, ARMMAN; Kaushik Kappangantulu, Kheyti; Nisha Ligon, Ubongo; Heejae Lim, TalkingPoints; Uzoma Orchingwa, Ameelio; Alexander Roque, Ali Forney Center; Rebecca van Bergen, Nest; Tony Weaver, Weird Enough Productions. (Photo: Business Wire)

Founded in 2019 by Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize Foundation aims to “Make Good Famous” by partnering with rising activists and social entrepreneurs and providing them with resources to raise visibility of their work, multiplying their ability to mobilize support – whether online or on-the-ground. The 2021 winners of the Elevate Prize will each receive a minimum of $300,000 in prize funding, as well as leadership development services, social media training, mentorship, and other support needed to reach a wider audience and grow their following.

“This year’s Elevate Prize winners are an exceptional group of creative problem-solvers who have managed to catalyze change through such challenging times,” said Joseph Deitch, Founder, Elevate Prize Foundation. “In a world that is increasingly looking for leaders to lead … and to inspire us, we are so fortunate to have these incredible individuals and organizations show us the way. We look forward to partnering and co-creating with them to expand their impact, and to share their stories with the world.”

The winners of the 2021 Elevate Prize are:

  • Amanda Alexander, Detroit Justice Center, which works alongside communities to transform the justice system and promote equitable and fair cities.
  • Krista Donaldson, Equalize Health, which provides access to medical care and addresses the leading causes of maternal and newborn mortality through innovative tech.
  • Aparna Hegde, ARMMAN, which uses mobile technology to enable healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries, and healthy childhoods.
  • Kaushik Kappangantulu, Kheyti, which designs, adapts and implements low-cost farming solutions to help farmers increase yield and predictability of produce, offering a “greenhouse-in-a-box” – an affordable, modular greenhouse bundled with full-stack services.
  • Nisha Ligon, Ubongo, the leading children’s entertainment producer in Africa, which harnesses the power of entertainment to reduce inequalities in education across Africa.
  • Heejae Lim, TalkingPoints, which connects and empowers families in under-resourced, multilingual communities, using communications technology to bridge crucial gaps between students, families, teachers, and schools.
  • Uzoma Orchingwa, Ameelio, which works to reduce the prison population, decrease recidivism and ensure incarcerated individuals can stay in touch with the outside through free-to-use communication apps.
  • Alexander Roque, Ali Forney Center, a space dedicated to empowering homeless LGBTQIA+ youth to live independently and get back on their feet.
  • Rebecca van Bergen, Nest, which supports the responsible growth and creative engagement of the artisan and maker economy to build a world of greater gender equity and economic inclusion.
  • Tony Weaver, Weird Enough Productions, which runs a national education program that combines diverse comic books with an anti-racist and equity-based learning curricula.

“We’re thrilled to highlight such a radically diverse group of winners this year, all working on a wide-range of important issues around the world,” said Carolina García Jayaram, CEO of The Elevate Prize Foundation. “We look forward to helping grow their audience and impact, ultimately making philanthropy and social change more accessible to all.”

The Elevate Prize 2021 winners were selected by a renowned judging panel, composed of purpose-driven leaders in business, academia, media and beyond, including Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer and philanthropist; Maria Elena Salinas, journalist and CBS news contributor; Stephanie Mehta, Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company; and Natalie Tran, Executive Director of the CAA Foundation.

About The Elevate Prize Foundation

Founded in 2019 by businessman, philanthropist, and author Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize Foundation aims to serve as an engine for social good by funding, guiding, and scaling the platforms of social entrepreneurs. The Foundation’s signature program is its annual Elevate Prize, which is awarded to 10 or more global leaders tackling pressing issues in innovative ways. The Elevate Prize Catalyst Award, another one of the Foundation’s programs, recognizes prominent individuals for their commitment to inspiring global social action and using their influence for the good of humanity. Through the Elevate Giving program, the Foundation allows everyday people the opportunity to engage in philanthropy. For more information, visit www.elevateprize.org and follow @ElevatePrize on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

About MIT Solve

Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to solve world challenges. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation Challenges, Solve finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting, transformational impact. Join Solve on this journey at solve.mit.edu.

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