Frequently Asked Questions
Got questions? We have answers. Please view below for our most frequently asked questions and our answers.
Online Application Opens
Application Submission Deadline
Phase 1 Notification
Winner Announced, Award Ceremony
Please note: This timeline is tentative and may be subject to change.
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?
The Lipman Family Prize at the University of Pennsylvania is targeted toward organizations addressing social and economic issues that are usually addressed by the Nonprofit/NGO/Civil Society sector in any region of the world. As such, the majority of organizations considered for the award are considered “nonprofit” organizations. However, in recognition of the variations in international law as well as the organizational innovations occurring globally (i.e., social enterprises, for-benefit corporations, and 4th sector organizations, to name a few), organizations not considered traditional nonprofits will also be considered. Organizations may operate anywhere in the world. See the Eligibility and Evaluation Criteria on the Prize Overview page for more information.
Does my organization have to be a nonprofit or non-governmental organization to apply?
No, but the work of your organization must focus on addressing a social problem.
Will an organization’s budget size affect its ability to compete for the prize?
No. Organizations of all budget sizes will be considered. Keep in mind, though, that the goal of the prize is to find an organization already creating positive social impact. This is not an appropriate competition for organizations in a start-up phase. See Applicant Profiles for more information about organizations that have done well in our selection process.
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 October and asked to provide additional documentation including, but not limited to, information on staff and board of directors, 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 winner or finalists of the prize uses 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 finalists. Currently, any past finalist is not eligible to apply for the prize again.
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 finalists and winner for the Prize.
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 interview as part of the selection process?
The three organizations selected as finalists are required to participate in an on-campus interview in March. No similar requirements exist for organizations not selected as finalists.
Once Finalists are Chosen
What is the process for the finalists?
Finalists will be notified by the end of March. They will be required to participate in a live interview with the Prize Committee at the University of Pennsylvania campus. Finalists will be notified of the Prize Committee’s final decision regarding the winner in early April.
What is the organizational commitment for the winner and finalists?
The winner and other two finalists are required to attend an interview with the Prize Committee in March and the Lipman Award Ceremony in April. These will be held in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania. Costs of domestic flights and accommodations of both trips will be paid for by the Lipman Family Prize. For all three finalists the award components also include a year-long collaborative engagement with the University to help develop and share knowledge with the greater social impact community. (Please note: Due to COVID-19, our 2021 Prize Committee interview and Award Ceremony will be occur virtually.)
What is the value of the Lipman Family Prize for the winner and finalists?
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 finalists are part of a unique learning community within the social sector.