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Manhattan Institute Awards Entrepreneurs for Their Innovative Solutions to Nation's Most Pressing Social Problems

NEW YORK, Aug. 20, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The winners of this year's Manhattan Institute Social Entrepreneurship Awards include those working to bring the opportunity to earn a college degree behind bars, provide immigrant women with social mobility, and give veterans the opportunity to continue serving through disaster response. Others use their inspiring energy to train ex-offenders in the culinary arts, provide dental care for poor Alabama children, and prepare truly effective teachers.

The Richard Cornuelle Prize for Social Entrepreneurship is designed to recognize entrepreneurs across the country who are working toward innovative solutions to our nation's most pressing social problems. The five honorees this year are the Bard Prison Initiative, EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute, Found in Translation, Sarrell Dental Centers, and Team Rubicon.

While all five organizations focus on different social issues, they share a commitment to helping those who most desperately need it. Whether they are working in a hot kitchen with newly-released prisoners or cleaning the teeth of the poorest kids in Alabama, these entrepreneurs are some of the most inspiring leaders in the United States today.

This year's William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship honors a man who has committed his life to the work of a profession in dire need of a wake-up call: education. Norman Atkins has done everything from starting one of the first charter schools in Newark, NJ, to founding a charter school management company that raises charitable funds and invests in a "best practices" curriculum to help kids succeed.

Since 2001, Atkins has served as the executive director of the Relay Graduate School of Education, which he co-founded. This graduate program is breaking the mold of education programs that focus on theories of pedagogy entirely detached from content. The mission at Relay is to prepare effective teachers as measured by gains in student achievement and character growth.

About the Manhattan Institute's Social Entrepreneurship Awards

The Manhattan Institute has recognized America's social entrepreneurs through its awards programs since 2001. Nominations are solicited from philanthropic donors across the United States and screened by a committee, which includes: Howard Husock, the Manhattan Institute's Vice President for Policy Research; Cheryl Keller, foundation consultant; Leslie Lenkowsky, Indiana University professor of public affairs and philanthropic studies; Alicia Manning of the Lynne and Harry Bradley Foundation; Adam Meyerson, President of the Philanthropy Roundtable; Lawrence J. Mone, President of the Manhattan Institute; James Piereson, President of the William E. Simon Foundation; and Dane Strangler of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Support is provided by the William E. Simon Foundation, the JM Kaplan fund, the Ohnell Family Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Previous winners of the William E. Simon Prize include: Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy; Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children's Zone; and Brian Lamb, founder of CSPAN. Previous winners of the Cornuelle Award include: Gerald Chertavian, founder of Year Up; Sarah Horowitz of the Freelancers' Union; and Robert Woodson of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.

Each year, the award selection committee chooses 10 finalist programs from some 100 nominations received from across the United States. Each of the finalist programs is evaluated through an in-person site visit conducted either by program director Howard Husock, a former fellow at Harvard's Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, or Cheryl Keller, former program officer for the Smith Richardson Foundation.

"Each year," says Husock, "we find new and successful examples of Americans who start successful organizations based on their own ideas about how to help solve serious social problems. It's an honor for us to recognize them."

A prize of $100,000 will be presented to the winner of the William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship and $25,000 will be presented to each of the five winners of the Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

CONTACT: Abigail Salvatore Manhattan Institute (631) 334-6267 asalvatore@manhattan-institute.orgSource:Manhattan Institute