Lynch Foundation Entrepreneurial Spirit in
Education Prize


Nomination deadline extended to January 31, 2020.
Nominations received after January 31, 2020 will be unable to be considered for the $50,000 prize to an
educational program's continued success.

The Philanthropy Roundtable, with generous support from the Lynch Foundation and the William E. Simon Foundation, is pleased to announce the Lynch Foundation Entrepreneurial Spirit in Education Prize. The newly created prize will recognize a game-changing donor who made a catalyzing investment that provided early-stage support for an educational initiative now having a positive impact on student outcomes. 

The prize, to be awarded at the 2020 K-12 National Forum, will commend a donor whose investment was made with intentionality and was clearly the catalyst for an education program’s eventual success. In addition to recognizing the donor, the prize will also award $50,000 to the program’s continued success.

To submit a nomination, please complete this form. More information on eligibility and selection criteria can be found in the submission form, including several questions to explain in detail why a catalyzing philanthropic investment was uncommonly successful or visionary. Submissions will then be automatically catalogued within our internal database. 


See below for a full description of both prize recipient eligibility and prize selection criteria.


Any type of K–12 education philanthropist—an individual, family, private foundation, or corporation—is eligible to receive this prize. The philanthropist’s contribution must have been for a specific purpose, not a general approach, outlook, or portfolio of investments. In order to make a prize attainable to small and mid-size donors, the value of the philanthropic investment cannot total more than $5 million over a period of five years. Political or 501(c)(4) giving may be a part of the investment, but there must be a central 501(c)(3) component. In-kind only investments will not qualify. The active involvement of the donor should be viewed as favorable—if not essential—by the nonprofit in which he or she invested. 

It is important to note that there are often several early funders who help to start a promising effort. In such an instance, this prize would be awarded to the donor whose investment was most clearly the catalyst in creating the successful breakthrough. Recipient must be present at the 2020 National Forum in order to accept the prize.

Selection Criteria

  • Nominations will be evaluated by the Roundtable’s K–12 Education Program staff, using the following criteria: 
  • Academic outcomes as a result of the investment 
  • Nonprofit fiscal solvency and sustainability as a result of the investment 
  • Plans for nonprofit growth, the capacity for growth, or the ability to scale
  • Demand generated outside of the initial sampling or pool of students initially served by the investment
  • New sources of funding attracted, philanthropic or otherwise, as a result of the catalyzing investment
  • Sector disruption of transformation as a result of the investment