About the J.M.K. Innovation Prize

Since 2015, The J.M. Kaplan Fund has reached across America to identify and elevate the most promising early-stage projects in the fields of the environment, heritage conservation, and social justice.

Announcing Our 2023 Awardees

The fifth biennial cycle of the Prize launched in January 2023 and saw by far our most engagement to date: 538 volunteers helped us with a collaborative review of 3,209 applications, representing all 50 states as well as numerous territories and Tribal nations.

We’ve awarded the 2023 J.M.K. Innovation Prize to 10 organizations with the potential to make a significant, lasting impact on America’s most pressing challenges. Each will receive $175,000 over three years and join a resource network designed to support them through the challenges of a startup organization.

This year’s awardees exemplify the ingenuity and resolve needed to reshape the future of our climate and society – watch video interviews and learn more about each of their projects here.

For more information about the Prize and the 2023 awardees, please read our press release here.


A report on this year’s Prize, Resilient Leadership in Times of Unrelenting Change, highlights trends and lessons learned from this year’s pool of 3,200+ applications – including innovators drawing on ancient practices and inherited wisdom, leaders making change within the justice system, and women of color confronting bias and inequity in healthcare.


Since its launch, The J.M.K. Innovation Prize has provided 50 social and environmental change initiatives with valuable tools, training, and capacity-building resources, in addition to crucial funding. Read about all of our past awardees here.

To dive deeper into the Prize, read our reports on previous cycles:

  • Building Pathways to Collective Power (2021) highlights trends and lessons learned from our pool of proposals in 2021, as well as reflections on how the Prize has touched off social impacts far beyond the Fund.
  • Growing Grassroots Resilience (2019) features seven takeaways highlighting the resourcefulness and moxie of social innovators committed to advancing community resilience.
  • Community-Based Change Agents Rise Up (2017) features insights from entrepreneurs using new technologies, cross-sector collaboration, and a blend of for-profit and not-for-profit tools to create change across the country.
  • Learning from America’s Social Entrepreneurs (2015) explores themes from the inaugural Prize cycle, including a prescient concern for income inequality as a lens for social practice.