Global Call for Nominations: Grinnell College seeks nominations for $100,000 Innovator in Social Justice Prize

July 19, 2017

Grinnell, Iowa – July 17, 2017 – Grinnell College is accepting nominations from across the globe for the 2018 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize. The college awards the $100,000 Grinnell Prize annually to individuals who are on the cutting edge of socially just innovation.

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to nominate someone who is:

  • A change-maker working on the cutting edge of social innovation;
  • A leader who collaborates to co-create solutions to pressing social justice issues;
  • A visionary who is tackling immediate challenges while also addressing related systemic issues; and
  • A mentor who inspires the next generation of social innovators

The largest award given by any U.S. college in recognition of social justice, the Grinnell Prize reflects Grinnell’s historic mission to educate individuals “who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.”

“The Grinnell Prize reflects our college’s longstanding commitment to educating individuals who will make the world a better place,” says Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington. “Our students benefit greatly from interacting with Grinnell Prize recipients in the classroom and in informal settings on campus.”

Nominations are open to both U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries. Nominees must have earned a bachelor’s degree no more than 15 years prior to their nomination. No affiliation with Grinnell College is needed.

Details about the prize and nomination process are available at Questions should be directed to or 641-269-4940.

Nominations are due by midnight on Oct. 9, 2017, and winners will be announced in May 2018. Winners will be awarded $100,000, with half presented to the individual and half to the individual’s organization.

2017 Grinnell Prize Winner

The 2017 Grinnell Prize has been awarded to attorney, activist and advocate for women Gina L. Clayton. She founded and directs the Essie Justice Group, an organization that supports women with incarcerated loved ones and helps the women mobilize to reform the criminal justice system.

Clayton began her career in New York City as a housing attorney in Harlem, where she helped women facing eviction due to a criminal matter. This work inspired her to become a champion for families trapped on both sides of prison bars. Mass incarceration is a major issue in the United States, where one in four women and nearly one in two black women have a family member in prison.

Clayton will receive the prize during an awards ceremony at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 3, on the Grinnell campus. During Grinnell Prize Week, Oct. 2-8, students, faculty, staff and guests will have the opportunity to interact with Clayton and learn about best practices in designing, organizing, and implementing initiatives that address social justice issues facing our world today.

About Grinnell College
Since its founding in 1846, Grinnell has become one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, enrolling 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries. Grinnell’s rigorous academic program emphasizes excellence in education for students in the liberal arts; the college offers the B.A. degree in a range of departments across the humanities, arts and sciences. Grinnell has a strong tradition of social responsibility and action, and self-governance and personal responsibility are key components of campus life. More information about Grinnell College is available at

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