2016 Lipman Family Prize Winner Announced

Soccer Without Borders Wins $250,000 Lipman Family Prize

Namati and Hope Enterprise Corporation Win $50,000 Each

Philadelphia, PA – April 29, 2016

Soccer Without Borders was named today as the winner of the 2016 Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize. Chosen from more than 170 applicants around the globe, this small-but-mighty social change organization uses the universal platform of soccer to help children succeed. Soccer Without Borders will receive $250,000 in unrestricted funds, as well as executive training and support from Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania. Honorees Namati and Hope Enterprise Corporation will receive $50,000 each, up from $12,500 in previous years.

“We started in 2006 as a passion project with $5,000 and a bare-bones website,” says Mary McVeigh, former professional soccer player and executive director and co-founder of Soccer Without Borders. “We get requests every day to start programs in other cities around the world, but we want to grow thoughtfully and gradually to make sure we get it right. The prize money will help us tremendously, but we believe the support from Wharton and UPenn will be even more valuable, in the long run.”

Soccer Without Borders works in 10 countries on 3 continents, training more than 200 coaches and reaching 2,000+ youth annually, and more than 10,000 to date. Girls are highly represented among participants; in fact, 100% of their Nicaraguan players are female. In the U.S., the organization focuses on four cities: Baltimore, Boston, Greeley, CO, and Oakland. Their players come from more than 35 countries as far-ranging as Guatemala, Nepal, Afghanistan and Somalia. Many have fled severe violence and discrimination. Over 70 percent of Soccer Without Borders participants are refugees or have sought asylum in the U.S.

“Lost in the often heated, divisive debate surrounding immigrants and refugees, are thousands of kids who are doing all they can to make new friends and a new home.” says Umi Howard, director of the Lipman Family Prize. “Soccer Without Borders understands the challenges these newcomers are facing, and they are nimble enough to adapt their core programming as needed to address various cultural and geographic contexts. They have resisted the temptation to grow too quickly, leaving them poised for significant future impact.  We are honored to support them in accelerating their vision.”

According to prize founder Barry Lipman, “Our goal is to identify and promote game-changing ideas that solve social problems. Soccer Without Borders, Namati and Hope Enterprise Corporation rose to the top because of their innovative approaches and their potential for social impact. We are honored that we can support the important work of these social change agents.”

In previous years, the Lipman Family Prize awarded $125,000 to one winner and $12,500 to two honorees. Those amounts were doubled for this year’s competition, to $250,000 and $25,000, respectively. But at Thursday’s award ceremony, it was announced that, starting this year, honorees would receive $50,000 each, double the amount expected.

In addition to $50,000 in unrestricted funds, Hope Enterprise Corporation and Namati will receive the same non-monetary benefits as the winner. All three honorees will gain access to a growing network of change-makers and thought-leaders to accelerate cutting-edge change worldwide. The Prize connects those on the cusp of great change with resources, skills and people-power to expand the impact and influence of their ideas. Benefits include an executive education program, pro-bono consultation from University faculty and staff, peer learning events, as well as expert- and student-driven research to inform and guide their work. 

About the Lipman Family Prize

First awarded in 2012, the Lipman Family Prize at the University of Pennsylvania is an annual global prize that advances creative solutions by inspiring people to think together in new ways. Administered by the Wharton School on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania, the Prize is committed to resourcing and connecting change-makers to bring innovative ideas to new places and problems around the world. Previous winners include iDEREAD GlobalBreakthrough, and Riders for Health.

About the Wharton School

Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,200 participants in executive education programs annually and a powerful alumni network of 94,000 graduates.

About the 2016 Honorees

Hope Enterprise Corporation is a not-for-profit Community  Development Financial Institution with a mission of strengthening communities, building assets and improving lives in economically distressed communities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, by providing access to affordable, responsible financial products and related services.

Namati is building a global movement of grassroots legal advocates who work with communities to advance justice. These advocates are solving problems on the front lines to ensure that people can protect their land, access essential services, and take part in the decisions that govern their lives.

Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing newcomer refugee, asylee, and immigrant youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.



Kate FitzGerald

Lipman Family Prize