Frequently Asked Questions
Got questions? We have answers. Please view below for our most frequently asked questions and our answers.
July 3, 2023: Online Application Opens
August 3, 2023: Application Submission Deadline
September 2023: Top 24-40 Organizations Advance
December 2023: Semi-Finalists Selected
February 2024: Three Winners Selected
April 2024: Grand Prize Winner Announcement
(See more detail in our Application Process page)
The Application Process
How do I apply?
All applications are submitted online. See Application Process for a description of the application process.
What are the eligibility requirements for application?
Organizations may operate anywhere in the world addressing globally relevant social and economic issues. See the Eligibility and Evaluation Criteria on the Prize Overview page for more information about specific requirements.
Does my organization have to be a nonprofit or non-governmental organization to apply?
Yes, organizations must be registered as a nonprofit or charitable organization. In the United States, organizations must be a nonprofit recognized by the Internal Revenue Code (IRS) as tax-exempt 501(c)(3). If incorporated in another country outside the United States, organizations must be in compliance with the country’s registration requirements. Documentation of current registration is required during Phase 2 of the application process. If you have any questions about the organization’s nonprofit or charity status, please reach out to email@example.com.
What supporting documents are required? How do I submit these?
All applicants must provide several brief essay responses, specific financial data, and organizational details through the online application system. Organizations selected for further consideration will be notified in September and asked to provide additional documentation including, but not limited to, evaluation tools and strategy documents. All materials collected during the selection process will be considered confidential.
Are there restrictions on how my organization can use the prize money if awarded?
No. There are no restrictions on how the winners of the prize use their cash award. We believe firmly in the value of unrestricted cash awards for social sector organizations.
What will happen if my application is incomplete at the deadline?
Incomplete applications will not be reviewed or considered for the prize.
Can I mail my organization’s application?
No. Only applications submitted electronically through our online system will be reviewed.
Can I apply multiple years in a row?
Yes. At this time there is no limit to how many times an organization may apply. However, this does not apply to previous winners. Currently, any past winner is not eligible to apply for the prize again.
Additionally, semi-finalists (the top ten to fifteen organizations) from the previous application year must wait at least one year before reapplying. All other organizations may reapply for the Lipman Family Prize annually.
In the past, applicants were able to apply as an organization or as a program within the organization. Is this still an option?
In the past, organizations could choose to apply to the Lipman Family Prize for the work of the entire Organization, or for that of a specific Program within the organization. Specific Programs within Organizations that independently met all the eligibility criteria were able to apply, with the requirement that all application materials and information submitted throughout the application process were required to be specific to the Program only, and differentiated from all other work and information about the rest of the organization. This included financial information, staff information, monitoring and evaluation approach, impact results, strategic or business plans, etc.
We have paused the option to apply as a Program this year. We hope to be able to re-open this opportunity soon, as we recognize and highly value that many well-established organizations may be implementing newer programs that align well with our eligibility and evaluation criteria. We are currently reassessing how we can improve our application process to allow for Program applications to submit equivalent information as Organization applications, without being overly or differently burdensome on the applicants.
In the past, the Lipman Family Prize did not have an eligibility ceiling for organizational budget size. Why has this changed?
The Lipman staff team aims to be transparent about our selection process and structure our design so that organizations investing their resources into applying for our Prize have as much information as possible about whether or not they align with what we’re looking for. We are regularly analyzing our own work and aim to apply our learnings to be more clear about alignment.
We have found that over 80% of the applications that have advanced to our semi-final round (top <15% of all applicants) have fallen below a $5M annual budget size. Therefore, this year, we have introduced an eligibility ceiling to our budget size criteria as an effort to screen earlier in our selection process for this applicant profile fit.
We have introduced this new ceiling as a 3-year average of annual organizational expenses, rather than applied just to the organization’s most recently completed fiscal year, as an attempt to smooth out one-off inconsistent years. We also understand that some organizations may still have unique circumstances that keep them above our new $5M eligibility ceiling but still feel they are a fit for the Lipman Family Prize. In order to allow for those unique circumstances, applicants may provide an explanation within the eligibility application form, which will be reviewed and a determination will be made.
The Evaluation and Selection Process
How will my application be evaluated?
The significance of the social challenge being addressed, quality of the program model, impact of the applicant’s work and the potential transferability of their practices are the four core elements assessed during the initial application review. Organizational capacity will be assessed for applicants receiving further consideration. This will include a review of the organization’s staff and board, a financial analysis and media search among other elements.
Who will review the applications?
A team of external reviewers (professionals in the social sector) and graduate student fellows guided by Lipman Family Prize staff complete the first two phases of the review process. From there, our Prize Committee, comprised of leaders from the social sector, academic and business worlds, will select the three winners, and subsequently the grand prize winner.
Will I be able to receive feedback on my application?
Organizations desiring feedback can request it upon notification. Overall demand for feedback will dictate whether it can be provided through a direct conversation or less ideally in a standard electronic format.
Will there be a site visit or in-person interview as part of the selection process?
No in-person interaction is required as part of the selection process. The three organizations selected as winners are required to participate in a virtual interview in March as finalists for the grand prize. No similar requirements exist for organizations not selected as finalists.
Once Finalists are Chosen
What is the process for the finalists?
The three winners, who are the finalists for the grand prize selection, will be notified by the end of February. They will be required to participate in a virtual video interview with the Prize Committee in March. Winners will be notified of the Prize Committee’s final decision regarding the grand prize winner by early April.
What is the organizational commitment for the winners?
The grand prize winner and additional two winners are required to attend a virtual interview with the Prize Committee in March and attend, in person, the Lipman Award Ceremony in April. This will be held in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania. Costs of domestic flights and accommodations of the trip will be paid for by the Lipman Family Prize. For all three winners, the award components also include an on-going collaborative engagement with the University to help develop and share knowledge with the greater social impact community.
What is the value of the Lipman Family Prize for the winners?
In addition to the monetary award, the ongoing partnership with the University can potentially include a combination of the following: scholarship for executive education, pro-bono consulting, support from student projects, inclusion in faculty research and participation in peer learning events. Not only does the award and recognition support organizational growth, but together with students and faculty, Lipman winners are part of a unique learning community within the social sector.
Who can I contact with additional questions?
Please e-mail the Lipman Family Prize team at firstname.lastname@example.org.