About the Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.

The Prize Recipients

Goldman Prize recipients focus on protecting endangered ecosystems and species, combating destructive development projects, promoting sustainability, influencing environmental policies and striving for environmental justice. Prize recipients are often women and men from isolated villages or inner cities who choose to take great personal risks to safeguard the environment.

What the Goldman Prize Provides

The Goldman Prize amplifies the voices of these grassroots leaders and provides them with:

  • International recognition that enhances their credibility
  • Worldwide visibility for the issues they champion
  • Financial support to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment

Prize Selection and Announcement

The Goldman Environmental Prize recipients are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide group of environmental organizations and individuals. The winners are announced every April to coincide with Earth Day. Prize recipients participate in a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington D.C.—highlighted by award ceremonies in San Francisco and Washington D.C.—including media interviews, funder briefings, and meetings with political and environmental leaders.

The Ouroboros

In addition to a monetary prize, Goldman Prize winners each receive a bronze sculpture called the Ouroboros. Common to many cultures around the world, the Ouroboros, which depicts a serpent biting its tail, is a symbol of nature’s power of renewal.

Support for Goldman Prize Recipients

The Goldman Environmental Foundation continues to stand with Prize recipients through a number of ways:

  • Grants for Prize winner NGOs: In partnership with the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, we offer former Prize winners a limited number of grants to advance their organizations’ environmental campaigns and inspire community members to engage in grassroots environmental activism.
  • Networking opportunities: To help Goldman Prize recipients build broader networks, connect with each other, share learnings, and expand their leadership capacity, the foundation provides support for Prize winners to meet and participate in networking opportunities such as conferences, meetings, and other events.
  • Assistance for Prize winners under threat: The Goldman Prize is committed to standing with our Prize winners whose safety and freedom are facing growing threats. We provide support through a range of tactics such as letters of support from the foundation, action alerts promoted through earned and social media, pro bono legal assistance, and urgent defense grants.
  • Communications: The Goldman Prize publicizes the ongoing campaigns and achievements of our Prize winners through earned and social media. Visit our individual Prize winners’ profiles to see the latest media coverage and blog posts about their recent work and to learn about how to support their campaigns.