About the Beacon Awards

The Beacon Awards 

The 2020 Beacon Awards will have its inaugural awarding in October 2020. Eligibility for the Beacon Awards includes all Lipman Family Prize honorees from 2012 to 2017, including grand prize winners and runners-up. Two previous honorees will each receive $250,000 in unrestricted funds. We established the Beacon Awards because we wanted to continue investing in the promising practices and leaders we meet each year through the Lipman Family Prize. We designed the Beacon Awards to engage and encourage these organizations and leaders to share with and learn from each other for the betterment of the social impact sector.


Why this Approach?

In our relentless quest to resource and connect change-makers to bring innovative ideas to new places and problems around the world, we have discovered a few gaps in the funding landscape.

  1. Most awards and philanthropic investments focus on early stage investments to drive innovation, rather than mature organizations that are reaching their stride.
  2. Collaboration and knowledge transfer are not adequately rewarded.
  3. While follow-on investments are common, follow-on awards are rare.

With the Beacon Awards, we seek to fill that gap by rewarding and supporting previous Lipman Family Prize honorees who have demonstrated success in scaling up their social impact efforts by collaborating and sharing knowledge across their sector. By creating a $500,000 pool of unrestricted funds, we are doubling down on scaling up by investing deeper in change-making organizations that are growing what works.


Sharing for Scale

While the annual Lipman Family Prize identifies groundbreaking innovations, the Beacon Awards will focus on the conduit an organization uses to transfer knowledge to others. The criteria for choosing winners is designed to value transferability and knowledge sharing as a method of scaling impact; identify leaders who are pushing the sector forward; and highlight organizations with continued impact that are poised to expand to another level.


Applicant-Friendly Process

In consultation with potential prize recipients and Spring Impact, we designed the Beacon Awards to follow best practices in prize design and award process. Our transparent application process features clear decision-making points, ensuring candidates can identify early whether they meet the criteria to progress to future selection rounds. Candidate selection is based on objective analysis using multiple data sources and investigators, including Award Committee members.


Oct. 15 – Dec. 4, 2019: Eligible honorees submit Expression of Interest form

Jan. 6 – Feb. 7, 2020: Eligible honorees submit Phase I Growth Narrative application

March – April 2020: Phase II Interviews and Analysis conducted

Mid-late June 2020: Awards Committee determines winners

October 2020: Winners awarded at the Wharton Global Forum in San Francisco