$450,000 McNulty Prize Awarded to Leaders Driving Bold Solutions to End Hunger, Thirst, and Poverty

July 18, 2022

The 2022 recipients are breakthrough leaders working to promote agency in communities around the world.

Contact: Nina Sawhney
McNulty Foundation
[email protected]

Philip Javellana
The Aspen Institute
[email protected]


New York, NY, July 18, 2022
––The McNulty Foundation and the Aspen Institute today announced the three winners of the 2022 John P. McNulty Prize, each of whom will receive $150,000 towards their organization. Their transformative social ventures are striving to end malnutrition worldwide, sparking a movement of guaranteed income programs in the US, and harnessing renewable technology to bring clean drinking water to communities, even in the most remote locations.

Since 2008, the McNulty Prize has identified leaders and ventures with innovative models of change, and put them on a fast track to greater recognition and support. “The McNulty Prize elevates global leaders who have answered the call to respond to the injustices of our time,” said McNulty Foundation president Anne Welsh McNulty. “Each of these breakthrough solutions represent a powerful model to ensure the essential elements of a life with dignity: food, water, and basic funds.”

“These courageous individuals and their organizations present three answers to dramatic worldwide disruptions of our human rights,” said McNulty Prize juror Brizio Biondi-Morra. “In a time of war, pandemic, racism, poverty, and social injustice, these ventures are mitigating despair with new and innovative models that promote human agency.”

Learn more about the Winners: 

NOURISHING THE WORLD’S CHILDREN

Navyn Salem founded Edesia after witnessing the fatal effects of childhood malnutrition in her father’s homeland of Tanzania. To date, Edesia’s specialized therapeutic foods have treated 17 million malnourished children in 60 countries. Their foods are distributed in partnership with USAID, the World Food Programme, UNICEF and local nonprofits to children at the frontlines of war, natural disasters, and other emergencies.

Edesia works to increase the resiliency and sustainability of the world’s emergency food system by driving research, innovation, and providing technical assistance to others, and advocates for prioritizing nutrition on the US and global policy agenda. They are doubling their production capacity to address the growing disruptions caused by the conflict in Ukraine, climate change, and other crises. “We do not have time to think,” said Salem, “we need to act at this very moment to end malnutrition.” Learn more here.

TRUSTING MOTHERS TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT FOR THEIR FAMILIES

Dr. Aisha Nyandoro launched the cash transfer program Magnolia Mother’s Trust to break the cycle of poverty in Jackson, Mississippi. Magnolia Mother’s Trust replaces an adversarial system of welfare with one that trusts mothers to do what is best for their families. The program gives Black mothers in federally subsidized housing $1,000 a month for a total of one year, with no strings attached—and a college savings account for their children.

“When we invest in our most vulnerable,” Nyandoro said, “that is when society flourishes.” This one-year cash infusion enables families to reach longer-term stability: mothers increased their ability to pay all bills on time (from 27% to 83%), families with health insurance rose by 25%, and families with emergency savings increased from 40% to 88%. The model has inspired over 100 similar programs around the country, and its evidence has shaped practical and popular policies like the US Child Tax Credit. Learn more here.

MAKING WATER RENEWABLE FOR COMMUNITIES

Materials scientist Dr. Cody Friesen founded SOURCE Global, whose innovative hydropanels use the sun to transform water vapor in the air into high-quality drinking water, even in remote, low-humidity locations. A public benefit corporation, SOURCE has brought clean drinking water to over 450 projects in 50 countries, focusing on Indigenous communities and others that have been historically neglected. “Through technology, communities around the world can regain ownership over water access and security,” said Friesen.

SOURCE’s impact goes beyond water—enabling women and girls to go to school or work instead of traveling to fetch water, and employing local community members to install and maintain the panels. Savings are generated from an alternative to bottled water, and health improves with a reliable, safe, source of water. In 2021 alone, SOURCE water offset over 3.6 million plastic water bottles. Learn more here.

Tune in to a livestream of this year’s Winners sharing their breakthrough solutions at the Resnick Aspen Action Forum in Aspen, CO on July 27th.

Visit mcnultyfound.org and follow the conversation on Twitter @McNultyFound and on Instagram @mcnultyfoundation with #McNultyPrize. Press should contact [email protected] for more information.

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About the John P. & Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation
The McNulty Foundation seeks to give transformational support to emerging and established leaders at pivotal moments in their leadership journey. Founded in 1985, the Foundation embodies the founders’ belief that every individual deserves agency and opportunity in their own lives, and that courageous individuals can have a multiplier effect through their leadership. The John P. McNulty Prize celebrates breakthrough leaders of organizations dedicated to dismantling intractable problems. Created by Anne Welsh McNulty in honor of her late husband, the annual award is a call to action, recognizing Winners who have demonstrated moral courage, a vision for change, and a track record of bold and lasting impact. Each receives $150,000 and support to amplify their efforts. They are selected by an international jury that includes Darren Walker, Cheryl Dorsey, Olara Otunnu, and Brizio Biondi-Morra. Previous juries have included Madeleine Albright, Richard Branson, Mary Robinson, and Bill Gates, Sr. The McNulty Prize is given in partnership with the Aspen Institute, to recognize exceptional leadership ventures undertaken by their Fellows. For more information, visit mcnultyfound.org.

Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit aspeninstitute.org.

The Aspen Global Leadership Network’s (AGLN) is a growing, worldwide community of more than 3,000 high-integrity, entrepreneurial leaders from over 60 countries who share a commitment to values-based leadership and to using their creativity, energy and resources to tackle the foremost societal challenges of our times. or sector-specific AGLN Fellowships around the world. Fellows convene annually at the AGLN’s flagship event, the Resnick Aspen Action Forum. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org/agln.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is a catalyst and convener for systems, policy, and social impact leaders working to create a society where every family passes a legacy of prosperity and well-being from one generation to the next. Ascend co-creates and elevates innovative two-generation (2Gen) approaches with families and partners to forge pathways to educational success and economic mobility for both children and the adults in their lives. For more information, visit ascend.aspeninstitute.org.

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