Beyond the Prize

Inspiring Young Environmentalists

Young people are those most likely to be affected by environmental issues – and are also our best hope to address them. That’s why each year we bring together young, environmental leaders together with Prize winners to inspire them to make a difference in their own communities:

Máxima Acuña (2016, Peru) meets with a member of IYEL before the Prize announcement. (Photo: Crissy Field Center)

Before the annual ceremonies, we hold an event at Crissy Field Center in San Francisco to give members of the Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders (IYEL) program a chance to meet the Prize winners, before they are announced to the world! During this event, students are paired with the current year’s Prize winners, so they can spend one-on-one time asking questions and be inspired by their work. The student then has the opportunity to introduce their Prize winner to an audience of invited guests. This allows the young participants to see themselves as a future environmental activist, and hone their leadership skills.

youth program 2014

A few of the young invitees holding a poster with a quote from 1997 Prize winner Nick Carter, ahead of the 2014 ceremony (Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)

Youth Presence at Goldman Prize Ceremonies

As well as being invited to both the San Francisco and Washington D.C. ceremonies, each year hundreds of youth from local schools and environmental groups join us for an exclusive Q&A session with the latest Prize winners.

Before the 2016 ceremony, Brower Youth Award winner, Jess Grady-Benson chaired an event with Destiny Watford (2016, United States) and Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera (2016, Puerto Rico) as speakers. These Prize winners shared their stories and answered questions from members of local groups such as the City Arts & Tech High SchoolYouth United for Community Action, and the Alliance for Climate Education. We seek to involve diverse students and young people, with a passion for and an interest in the environment.

Below are some testimonials from young attendees of the ceremonies:

“When I walk outside I hear the birds chirping and I force myself to imagine a world without them and it sparks a fire in me. I know that even though I’m one person I can make a difference.”

“Nature gives to us, so it’s our job to be active and give back.”

We also find opportunities to collaborate with local schools to share the work of Goldman Prize recipients as part of their environmental curriculum (even inspiring a youth award in the process!)

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 — here is a round-up of these event in 2016.
  • 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, urgent defense grants and access to pro bono legal assistance.
  • 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, read blog posts about their recent work and learn how you can support their campaigns.