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PRESS RELEASE: Inspirational Finalists Announced for the $5 Million Elevate Prize

MIAMI, August 17, 2021 — The Elevate Prize Foundation, in collaboration with MIT Solve, announced today its 23 finalists in the running for the Elevate Prize, which will award $5 million to 10 or more changemakers who are driving innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The finalists were selected from a diverse pool of 1,273 applicants championing causes such as health, education, climate change, and equality.

Launched in 2019, the Elevate Prize Foundation aims to "make good famous" by giving unsung social entrepreneurs the necessary resources to scale their impact and visibility to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

“We are profoundly inspired by this year’s diverse set of finalists and their ability to lead and catalyze change through such a challenging time,” said Carolina García Jayaram, Executive Director, the Elevate Prize Foundation. “While they are already an exceptional group of innovators, we look forward to amplifying their work and supporting them in building a larger platform, so they can scale their impact.”

The finalists were chosen by a renowned judging panel, composed of purpose-driven leaders in business, academia, media and beyond. The finalists for the 2021 Elevate Prize are:

  • Amanda Alexander, Executive Director & Founder of the Detroit Justice Center (US)
  • Alexandra Clare, Co-Founder & CEO of Re:Coded (US)
  • Heidi Binko, Executive Director & Co-Founder of the Just Transition Fund (US)
  • Krista Donaldson, PhD, CEO of Equalize Health (India, Kenya and US)
  • Tanyella Evans, Co-Creator & Executive Director of NABU Global Inc (Rwanda, Haiti and US)
  • Marisa Hamamoto, Founder & Artistic Director of Infinite Flow Dance Company (US)
  • Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder, Chairperson & Managing Trustee of ARMMAN (India)
  • Alexia Hilbertidou, Founder & CEO of GirlBoss NZ (New Zealand)
  • Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, Founder of Nyaka (Uganda)
  • Kaushik Kappagantulu, Co-Founder & CEO of Kheyti (India)
  • Doreen Kessy, Chief Business Officer of Ubongo (Tanzania)
  • Ndinini Kimesera Sikar, Founder & Executive Director of the Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO) (Kenya)
  • Heejae Lim, Founder & CEO of TalkingPoints (US)
  • Enrique Lomnitz, Founder & General Director of Isla Urbana (Mexico)
  • Nick Monzi, Co-Founder & CEO of Learn Fresh (US)
  • Anthony Myint, Co-Executive Director of Zero Foodprint (US)
  • Uzoma Orchingwa, Founder & CEO of Ameelio (US)
  • Yuriko Oda, Founder & CEO of WheeLog (Japan)
  • Amy Paulson, Co-Founder & CEO of Healing Together (US)
  • Alexander Roque, President & Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center (US) 
  • Lina Sergie Attar, Founder & CEO of the Karam Foundation (supporting Syrian refugees)
  • Rebecca van Bergen, Founder & Executive Director of Nest (US)
  • Tony Weaver, Founder of Weird Enough Productions (US)

“We applaud the finalists of this year’s Elevate Prize—which includes innovations that move the needle on everything from neonatal health to ending mass incarceration. Solve is honored to be a part of recognizing such vital work,” said Alex Amouyel, Executive Director, MIT Solve.

The winners of the 2021 Elevate Prize, the second ever, will be announced in October. Each winner will receive a minimum of $300,000 in prize funding, as well as leadership development services, mentorship, and capacity building opportunities. The Foundation’s strategic marketing and media experts will help winners build their platforms to become social impact influencers.

About the Elevate Prize Foundation

Founded in 2019 by businessman, philanthropist, and author Joseph Deitch, the Elevate Prize Foundation aims to serve as an engine for social good by funding, guiding, and scaling the platforms of social entrepreneurs. The Foundation’s signature program is its annual Elevate Prize, which is awarded to 10 or more global leaders tackling pressing issues in innovative ways. The Elevate Prize Catalyst Award, another one of the Foundation’s programs, recognizes prominent individuals for their commitment to inspiring global social action and using their influence for the good of humanity. Through the Elevate Giving program, the Foundation allows everyday people the opportunity to engage in philanthropy. For more information, visit and follow @ElevatePrize on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

About MIT Solve

Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to solve world challenges. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation Challenges, Solve finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting, transformational impact. Join Solve on this journey at

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