ON-Lion Letter

The winners of 2015's Manhattan Institute Social Entrepreneurship Awards include those working to bring the opportunity to earn a college degree behind bars, provide immigrant women with social mobility, and give veterans the opportunity to continue serving through disaster response.  Others use their inspiring energy to train ex-offenders in the culinary arts, provide dental care for poor Alabama children, and prepare truly effective teachers.

The Richard Cornuelle Prize for Social Entrepreneurship is designed to recognize entrepreneurs across the country who are working toward innovative solutions to our nation's most-pressing social problems.  The five honorees this year are the Bard Prison Initiative, EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute, Found in Translation, Sarrell Dental Centers, and Team Rubicon.

While all five organizations focus on different social issues, they share a commitment to helping those who most desperately need it.  Whether they are working in a hot kitchen with newly-released prisoners or cleaning the teeth of the poorest kids in Alabama, these entrepreneurs are some of the most-inspiring leaders in the United States today.

This year's William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship honors a man who has committed his life to the work of a profession in dire need of a wake-up call:  education.  Norman Atkins has done everything from starting one of the first charter schools in Newark, N.J., to founding a charter-school management company that raises charitable funds and invests in a "best-practices" curriculum to help kids succeed.

Since 2001, Atkins has served as the executive director of the Relay Graduate School of Education, which he co-founded.  This graduate program is breaking the mold of education programs that focus on theories of pedagogy entirely detached from content.  The mission at Relay is to prepare effective teachers as measured by gains in student achievement and character growth.
The Manhattan Institute has recognized America's social entrepreneurs through its awards programs since 2001.  Nominations are solicited from philanthropic donors across the United States and screened by a committee that includes Alicia Manning of Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which substantially supports the Manhattan Institute.

A prize of $100,000 will be presented to the winner of the William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship and $25,000 will be presented to each of the five winners of the Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

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