The Elevate Prize Foundation Announces Top 20 Global Finalists Competing for $5M Philanthropic Award

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MIAMI – Sept. 10, 2020 – The Elevate Prize Foundation, in partnership with MIT Solve, announced its top 20 finalists in the running for the inaugural Elevate Prize, which will award $5 million to 10 changemakers tackling the most compelling global challenges of our time. The renowned, 21-member judging panel, including Chef José Andres, María Elena Salinas, Yo-Yo Ma, and some of the brightest minds in business, academia and humanitarian efforts, came to consensus after a robust evaluation process. The top 20 finalists are 50/50 female/male, and comprised of entrants from North America (45%), Sub-Saharan Africa (25%), South Asia (15%), Latin America & Caribbean (10%), and Middle East & North Africa (5%), including:

Amanda Nguyen Rise Justice Labs
Brenda Palms Barber Sweet Beginnings
Brisa De Angulo & Parker Palmer A Breeze of Hope
Dr. Chad Bernstein Guitars Over Guns
Chetna Gala Sinha Mann Deshi Foundation
Christopher Turillo Medha
Dr. Dixon Chibanda Friendship Bench Global
Erica Ford LIFE Camp
Fadi Daou Adyan Foundation
Faisal Saeed Al Mutar Ideas Beyond Borders
Felix Brooks-church Sanku
Frank Beadle de Palomo mothers2mothers
Iffat Zafar Sehat Kahani
Koketso Moeti
Michelle Mendez Defending Vulnerable Populations Program
Salva Dut Water for South Sudan
Stephanie Benedetto Queen of Raw
Tashka Yawanawá Yawanawa Life Plan
Trésor Nzengu Mpauni Tumaini Letu
Trisha Prabhu ReThink

“As we close in on the final selection of our 10 heroes this fall, we couldn’t be prouder to share the top 20 finalists of the Elevate Prize, who powerfully represent so many parts of the world with their inspiring visions for change,”  said Joseph Deitch, Founder, the Elevate Prize Foundation. “From gun and sexual violence prevention to expansion of education and healthcare access, our finalists are innovative problem-solvers, tackling areas affecting all walks of life.”

“That we have not only a culturally and geographically diverse but gender-equal finalist makeup, speaks to our collective desire to see a more just and inclusive society for all,” said Carolina García Jayaram, Founding Executive Director, the Elevate Prize Foundation. “Our finalists are transcending figurative and literal borders with their work to effect meaningful change, and demonstrating that anyone armed with motivation and ideas for social good can have an impact.”

“Congratulations to the 20 Elevate Prize finalists, who are each elevating humanity in new and exciting ways—their work is more important than ever before in these uncertain times,” said Alex Amouyel, Executive Director, MIT Solve. “Solve is proud to power this year’s inaugural Elevate Prize and the diversity of the finalists is most impressive: from Bolivia to Zimbabwe, we have technologists, artists, activists, and more.”

About the Elevate Prize Foundation
Founded in 2019 by businessman, philanthropist, and author Joseph Deitch, the Elevate Prize Foundation aims to elevate humanity on a global scale by funding, guiding, and scaling the platforms of social entrepreneurs within the areas of healthcare, the environment, poverty, inequality, the arts, and more. The Foundation’s primary program is the Elevate Prize – an annual search for innovators and activists working to solve the world’s problems that culminates each fall with the selection of 10 heroes to receive funding and guidance to amplify their work. From there, the winners embark on a two-year program fueled by access to top scholars and industry leaders who guide and support them in scaling their impact. Together, prize winners, advisors, partners and collaborators across industries combine their impressive reach to create a single, powerful philanthropic amplification platform to awaken the hero in all of us. 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