Last week, Jane Chen and I travelled from India and China respectively to the heartland of America – Grinnell, Iowa! Even though the journey took over 24 hours, it was more than worth it to be able to accept the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize. “The Grinnell Prize honors individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and show creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.” Even though this was only the second year that the Grinnell Prize was given out, it has received a lot of attention. The entire Embrace family feels incredibly honored to have been selected.
When Jane and I first arrived we were immediately greeted with a ton of excitement. It seems as if the whole college was preparing for our visit. We spent a week talking with various students, professors, and staff about Embrace’s work. The students were extremely bright and asked relevant and thoughtful questions. Jane and I both wished we were as smart as them at that age.
In addition there was a special guest for the week – Jerry, from Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream. Not only did we pig out on Cherry Garcia the whole day, we heard his incredibly insightful founding story. We also met with the other prize winner, Cristi Hegranes who started the Global Press Institute. Her organization is doing amazing work at empowering women all over the world. Please take sometime to visit her organization’s website here.
The conference’s highlight was the award ceremony where we accepted the $50,000 prize money. We are looking forward to using this money to get more Embrace warmers to those who desperately need it.
It was truly inspiring to meet so many people interested in social entrepreneurship, learning about our story and in supporting Embrace. In only a few days we felt like part of the Grinnell family. It was a wonderful experience and we both look forward to visiting again!