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We’re now accepting applications through November 4th! Tell us about your innovative solution for a chance to win support and up to $15,000 in awards.


Do you have a vision to transform your community — and the world— for the better? Where others see problems, do you see potential? Tell us how you are tackling financial barriers or social issues in your community and beyond. 


At this moment, our country faces many complex challenges. From addressing the burden of student debt to advocating for inclusion, we need bold, innovative solutions. 

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is a national recognition program that celebrates young people for their innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges facing their communities. If that sounds like you, you may be an Emerging Visionary! 

Now through November 4, 2021, we are accepting applications from young leaders ages 14-18 who are bringing powerful vision and real change to their communities. The program supports young people across the country who are making change that focuses on two categories: solutions to financial barriers and solutions to social issues. (Read more in the "Focus Areas" section below

If selected, you may qualify for up to $15,000 in awards and an all-expenses paid trip with your parent or guardian to Prudential headquarters, as well as coaching and skills development to help take your solution to the next level.  

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is a collaboration between Prudential Financial and Ashoka, a leading social impact organization. Emerging Visionaries is an evolution of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a program that for 26 years has celebrated young people who are tackling society's most pressing issues. 

If you have any questions regarding Prudential Emerging Visionaries, please contact us at EmergingVisionaries@ashoka.org. 


Dates

  • September 9, 2021: Challenge opens (During this time, participants may submit entries, edit, and resubmit until the entry deadline). 

  • September 30, 2021 (11:59 PM ET): Early entry deadline participants with eligible entries submitted by this time will automatically be considered for the Early Entry Prize. Two participants from this group will be selected by the Challenge Partners to receive a $1,000 prize each. All Early Entry participants will receive Ashoka’s feedback on how to improve their application before the Final entry deadline. 

  • November 4, 2021 (11:59 PM ET): Final entry deadline. 

  • November 9-30, 2021: Screening and Community Review. 

  • December 6, 2021– February 14, 2022 – Community Engagement Activities (more details to be shared on the community space calendar). 

  • February 15, 2022: Winners Announcement. 

  • April 23-26, 2022: Winners attend the Prudential Emerging Visionaries Award Summit hosted at Prudential headquarters in Newark, NJ. Prudential Employees' Choice Award Winner and Financial Solutions Grand Prize Winner are announced. 

  • April – June, 2022: Coaching for winning individuals. 

Prizes

All eligible participants will receive: 

  • Peer feedback via the Challenge online platform, including the opportunity to view, review, and connect with other Prudential Emerging Visionaries applicants. 

  • Access to on-demand trainings to support you in your changemaking journey. 

  • A digital certificate of participation. 

  • The chance to be selected for one of two (2) Early Entry Prizes ($1,000 each) if your application is submitted before September 30, 2021. 

Winners will receive: 

  • A cash prize of up to $15,000 awarded as follows:

    • 25 winners will receive $5,000 each — 20 of these winners will be selected from the Societal Solutions category and 5 winners from the Financial Solutions category. 

    • The 5 winners from the Financial Solutions category will be invited to join a pitch-off at the Prudential Emerging Visionaries Awards Summit at Prudential's headquarters. From there, 1 Financial Solutions Grand Prize Winner will receive an additional $10,000 grand prize, for a total of $15,000.  

    • 1 winner of either category will also receive the Prudential Employees' Choice Award—an additional $5,000, to be awarded at the Prudential Emerging Visionaries Awards Summit at Prudential's headquarters. Note: The Financial Solutions Grand Prize Winner is not eligible to win the Prudential Employees’ Choice Award. 

  • All 25 winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to Prudential’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey on April 23-26, 2022, with a parent or guardian for the Prudential Emerging Visionaries Awards Summit. This will be an engaging experience in which participants will receive coaching, skills development, and an opportunity to meet with senior leaders from Prudential to help take their solution to the next level.  

  • Please note that if circumstances necessitate cancelling the in-person event (as determined by Prudential in its sole discretion), a virtual ceremony will be conducted, and no trip will be provided. 

Focus Areas

We’re supporting young people across the country who are making change that focuses on two categories: solutions to financial barriers and solutions to social issues. 

Financial Solutions for a Changing World 

We're looking for young leaders working to eliminate financial barriers, like Vineel and the founders of PeerLift: 

  • Vineel knew that early financial education is important to achieve financial independence later in life. He formed Investment Clubs of America to bring education on personal finance and investment into schools.  

  • The founders of PeerLift spent hundreds of hours applying for college on top of their other commitments. So, they created PeerLift to make scholarship opportunities more accessible to young people, regardless of their socioeconomic status  

Societal Solutions for a Changing World 

We're also looking for young leaders solving societal challenges. Meet Chander and Gia:   

  • One day, Chander discovered that the vegetable refrigerator in his high school was empty. After learning more about nutrition and food insecurity in his community, Chander founded Urban Beet — an initiative that empowers young people to get involved with sustainable, regenerative urban farming. 

  • When she was in 10th grade, Gia was the only girl in her AP Computer Science class. She created Girl Innovation to introduce middle school girls to programming, robotics, cyber-security and more. Girl Innovation has helped girls discover and deepen new interests, create opportunities, and work to close the gender gap in tech. 

Criteria

Eligibility  

Participants must meet the following eligibility criteria:  

  • Participants must be individuals between the ages of 14 – 18 when applying and not older than 18 by the end of the entry period (November 4, 2021). Groups and partners are not eligible.  

  • Participants must be legal residents of the United States or Puerto Rico. 

  • Participants must have started their project on or before June 1, 2021.  

  • Winners must bring one chaperone to the in-person event on April 23-26, 2022.

  • One application per person.  

  • Applications must be submitted in English.

  • Prudential Spirit of Community National Honorees and State Honorees are NOT eligible to apply. 

  • Employees and their children and grandchildren of Prudential, Ashoka, Financial Health Network or its affiliates and participating advertising and promotion agencies are NOT eligible to apply. 

Evaluation Criteria 

The selection committee will be looking for Changemakers who provide strong answers to a range of questions about what your initiative does, how it runs, and your changemaking story.  

Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Innovation – Are you thinking innovatively to build financial health and resiliency or to solve social issues within your community?   

  • Potential to Scale – Do you have a vision for the future? Will this innovation create meaningful impact, and does it have the ability to scale even beyond your own community? 

  • Connection – Do you show a deep understanding of a problem or barrier you are trying to solve, and do you have a deep connection to the community you are bringing your solution to? 

  • Changemaker Quality – Are you passionate about making a change for the good of all, ready to show leadership or take action to solve a problem, and looking to activate others? 

In addition to our evaluation criteria described above, winners will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received. Diversity can be showcased in the target audience of a project or its partners. Diversity will refer to: gender, accessibility, ethnicity, race, age and geography. 

Terms and Conditions

Review the full Terms and Conditions of Prudential Emerging Visionaries for more information about the program, including participation, intellectual property, prize money, use of the information you submit as a result of your participation in the program, and more. 

Data Protection 

Applicants' entries will be published on the Challenge platform and accessible by the public. We identify for you the sections of your application that will be displayed publicly by through use of the label “Public”.  Please do not enter any information in these sections that you do not wish to become public. 

We will also share entry information with Ashoka network reviewers for evaluating and processing the applications as marked in the application form. For more information about how Prudential and Ashoka will use and share your data, please see the Terms and Conditions of Prudential Emerging Visionaries. 

FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What is Prudential Emerging Visionaries? What happened to the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards? 

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is a national recognition program that celebrates young people for their innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities. It is a collaboration between Prudential Financial and Ashoka, a leading social impact organization.  

Over the past 26 years, Prudential has recognized more than 150,000 young people across the United States through the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The impressive vision of these young leaders inspired us to reimagine the program. Today, Prudential Emerging Visionaries celebrates young people who bring fresh perspectives and new solutions to pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities. 

I was recognized by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards as a National Honoree or State Honoree. Am I eligible to apply? 

No. National Honorees and State Honorees of The Prudential Spirit of Community Award are not eligible to apply, even with a new initiative. 

I previously applied to the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards but didn’t win. Am I eligible to apply? 

Yes! If you have applied to the Prudential Spirit of Community Award in the past but were not a National Honoree or State Honoree, you are welcome and encouraged to apply.   

I won one of Ashoka's other youth challenges. Am I eligible to apply? 

Yes! Winners of Ashoka's other youth challenges who fall within the age range are welcome and encouraged to apply. 

Do I have to be a Prudential customer to apply to this challenge? 

No, it is not necessary to be a Prudential customer to apply. 

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen?

Participants must be a legal resident of the United States or Puerto Rico, including those with a student visa or work permit.

Can multiple people in my team submit an application of our project?  

Yes. A team may not submit an application; however, each member of a team may submit an individual application. Your application will be reviewed as an individual and will not impact the chances of other team members that apply. Any applications that appear plagiarized, including using segments of a team member’s application, will automatically be disqualified.  

How does the application process work? 

Applications are submitted through this online platform. To apply, click the "Participate" button on the top right of this page. This will prompt you to create and activate an account. You can submit and continue to edit your entry up until the final application deadline (11:59PM ET on November 4, 2021). 

Do I need to have a pre-existing project in order to apply? 

Yes. Projects must have been started on or before June 1, 2021. 

Which category should I choose: Financial Solutions for a Changing World or Societal Solutions for a Changing World? 

Choose whichever category aligns best with your project! You can change this up until the application deadline (11:59PM ET on November 4, 2021)!  Here is how we define the two categories:

Financial Solutions for a Changing World – Your work or innovation helps your community overcome barriers to financial inclusion and wellbeing. This could include creating job opportunities in your community,  helping people in your community spend, save, borrow, and plan their financial lives, starting an accelerator or other initiative to finance youth-led ventures, and more.  

Societal Solutions for a Changing World – Your work or innovation is creating an equitable and sustainable community that works for the good of all. This could include working on environmental, racial justice, education issues, and more.  

After the deadline (11:59PM ET on November 4, 2021), Ashoka reviewers may move your entry into a different category if they think it is appropriate to do so.  

Is the Prudential Emerging Visionaries Awards Summit in-person? When is it? 

We are currently planning an in-person event for April 23-26, 2022. If necessary, we will adjust the dates or transition to a virtual event for safety reasons. We're working really hard to create an amazing experience for everyone involved!  

I can't make the dates for the Prudential Emerging Visionaries Awards Summit. Can I still apply? 

No, the expectation is that the person who applies will attend the Prudential Emerging Visionaries Awards Summit (along with a parent or guardian). If you don't expect you’ll be able to attend the Summit, we recommend a co-founder or teammate apply instead. 

Who should I include as my project references? Do my references need to be Ashoka or Prudential employees or employees of their affiliates? 

References should be adults who know you well and are familiar with your project. They must not be Ashoka employees or Prudential employees or employees of their affiliates. At least one of your references must be your parent or guardian. Teachers and mentors can also be great references. Just be sure to ask them if they’re willing to be a reference before including their contact information so that they’re not surprised when we contact them! 

My YouTube video has a low resolution. What should I do? 

When uploading to YouTube, a low-resolution video is uploaded first. The resolution will improve, but it usually takes a few hours to do so. Be patient! Regardless, you won’t be penalized for the resolution of your video.   

I published my entry but see a typo. Can you help me fix it?  

You can make edits up until our entry deadline of November 4, 2021, at 11:59 PM ET. To do that, first make sure you are logged in and click on the button "Edit" on the right side of the page above the timeline, then click on the name of the task you wish to edit (e.g. "About your project"), now click on the 3 dots icon in the corner of the card and select the "Edit" option and make your edits. Done! No need to re-submit your application, you just have to do it once. 

Remember, all published entries will be locked as of 11:59 PM ET on November 4, 2021. To allow for the most fair and equitable review process, we will not be able to make any edits after the deadline.   

Who do the diversity questions refer to? 

The diversity questions refer to the application author. These questions are optional and are meant to help us continue to improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Ashoka. All data collected will be private and used only for anonymous analysis. 

I won the early entry prize. Does that mean I’m guaranteed to be one of the 25 final winners? 

Congratulations on winning the early entry prize! Winning the early entry prize, however, does not guarantee that you will become one of the final 25 winners. After the November 4th entry deadline, the final 25 winners will be chosen from the entire pool of applicants. 

 My timezone appears as UTC on the application form, how can I change that? 

Please follow the instructions from this quick support video <add link>.

Timeline ( time)
  • Application Phase
    Started at 09 Sep 09:00
    Ends on 04 Nov 23:59
  • Screening and Community Review
    Starts on 09 Nov 10:00
    Ends on 01 Dec 00:59
  • Winners Announcement
    Starts on 15 Feb 10:00
Open Timeline
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