ON-Lion Letter

On November 12, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research will honor Sal Khan, founder and executive director of the Khan Academy, with its 2014 William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship at its annual Social Entrepreneurship Awards Dinner in New York City.

Named for the one-time U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and pioneer private equity-fund leader, the Simon Prize has been awarded to those who have followed in the footsteps of such great American historical figures as Clara Barton, the founder of the Red Cross and Jane Addams, founder of Hull House, inspiration for hundreds of early 20th-century settlement houses for immigrants.  It carries with it a $100,000 stipend.

The Khan Academy’s ambitious mission is no less than to change education for the better by providing free, world-class educational content to anyone anywhere in the world, at any time, online.  It started humbly enough in 2004, with a "faculty" of one -- three-time Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate and Harvard Business School graduate Sal Khan.  Kahn provided short, humor-tinged tutorials on math in the form of YouTube videos first to his cousin Nadia, then to a larger circle of cousins and other family members, then to their friends, then to their friends' friends, then to hundreds of thousands, then to millions and tens of millions.

During the dinner, the Manhattan Institute will also award its Richard Cornuelle Awards for Social Entrepreneurship to Alice Chapman of the Ely Chapman Education Foundation, Nick Ehrmann of Blue Engine, Beth Schmidt of Wishbone.org, and Andrew Yang of Venture for America.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports both the Manhattan Institute and Khan Academy.

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