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Announcing the Most Innovative Social Programs in 2017


By Allison Gauss

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The social sector is teeming with creative people and organizations hustling for a better world. In a culture dominated by the financial bottom line, it’s a bold choice to pursue a greater mission. But a select group of nonprofits and social enterprises is making dramatic progress on the world’s toughest problems, and they deserve to be celebrated.

The Classy Awards seek to uncover the most innovative and impactful social programs on the planet.

Since organizations working all over the world applied for these prestigious awards, the field was impressive. Furthermore, their ingenuity and passion was truly inspiring. After reviewing all submitted programs, we are announcing the Classy Awards Finalists, the 100 most innovative, impactful, and effective candidates.


What Makes a Classy Awards Finalist?

Each Classy Awards Nominee completed a comprehensive program profile to show how their work is solving a social problem. Nonprofits and social enterprises had to show a thorough understanding of the problem and its context, present a theory of change for their solution, and explain the metrics and benchmarks by which they judge success.

The criteria on which the Nominees were evaluated also include:

  • Scale and scope of the problem
  • Innovative approach
  • Ability to solve the problem
  • Organizational effectiveness and resource management

The 100 Finalists will now be reviewed by the Leadership Council. This group of the world’s most accomplished and influential social sector leaders will choose the Winners.

Leadership Council members include:

  • Stacy Bare, director of Sierra Club Outdoors
  • Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter
  • Carrie Hessler-Radelet, director of the Peace Corps
  • Kim Rubey, Head of Global Social Impact at Airbnb

Classy Awards Finalists will join the Leadership Council and some of the world’s top entrepreneurs, funders, and cause experts at the Collaborative in Boston June 13 to 15. On the final evening, the 10 Winners will be announced live onstage at the Classy Awards ceremony.

We want to congratulate all of the Classy Awards Finalists and also thank every organization who submitted a program. You’re leaders in the fight for social progress and we can’t wait to see what you accomplish next!

To meet Finalists, members of the Leadership Council, and other social sector leaders, join us at the Collaborative, June 13 to 15.

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