Grunin Prize for Law and Social Entrepreneurship

Lawyers play a critical role in designing, implementing, and advancing models by which economic and social activity are conducted globally.  The Grunin Center administers the award of an annual Grunin Prize for Law and Social Entrepreneurship to recognize lawyers’ participation in the ways in which business is increasingly advancing the goals of sustainability and human development.

The Grunin Prize aims to reward the innovation, replicability and/or scalability, and potential impact of projects and solutions developed by lawyers to advance the fields of social entrepreneurship and impact investing. 

Why apply for the Grunin Prize? Grunin Prize finalists receive recognition from a global community of lawyers, academics, policymakers, and other impact professionals. Finalists are invited to participate in the annual IILWG/Grunin Center conference to showcase their projects in front of over 400 conference attendees. Past finalists and winners have also received media exposure.

The Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship is made possible through a generous endowment from NYU School of Law graduates Jay Grunin ’67 and Linda Kalmanowitz Grunin ’67, and the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation. Jay and Linda have dedicated their philanthropic endeavors to investing in innovative projects that have measurable impacts creating meaningful, transformative change.


Eligibility Criteria

The Grunin Prize is open to individual lawyers or legal teams from across the globe. Practitioners, legal educators, policymakers, in-house counsel, and other legal teams that develop an innovative social enterprise or impact investment solution using existing law, legal education, or new legal structures are eligible to apply.

• The Grunin Prize will recognize inputs, such as new uses of old laws or reframing of the conceptual framework surrounding the law, and outputs, such as the development of a new legal structure or organizational design.
• The nominated project must be completed or implemented on or before December 31, 2019. Only projects that have been completed or implemented within the past two years will be considered.
• Examples of the types of legal projects that may be submitted for consideration include: innovative financing, contracting or entity structure, enacted legislation or adopted model laws, or design of new legal courses or tools.

Qualifying projects will be evaluated against the following criteria: innovation, replicability and/or scalability, and potential impact.


The call for nominations for the 2020 Grunin Prize will launch on September 9, 2019. To apply for the Grunin Prize or to nominate another party’s project, you will be asked to complete an online submission form.

• Applicants and nominators can submit more than one project for consideration. A separate submission form must be completed for each project.
• Applicants and nominators are welcome to resubmit a previously nominated project that did not receive the Grunin Prize.
• If nominating another party’s project, nominators must coordinate with nominees to ensure all required information is provided in the submission form.
• Supplemental materials will not be accepted. However, as needed, applicants may be asked to provide additional information for consideration by the judging panel.
• Once notified, finalists will be expected to (i) participate in an interview with the judging panel and (ii) liaise with the Grunin Center to coordinate a communications plan and develop a Grunin Prize video.


September 9, 2019: Call for applications.
January 15, 2020: Initial submissions must be received.
April 30, 2020: Finalists will be announced.
June 1 2020: Finalists will meet with the judging panel.
June 2, 2020: The prize will be awarded

Judging Panel

The screening panel will be composed of an internal prize committee that will select the finalists. 

The final judging panel will be composed of NYU Law representatives and industry experts who will select the Grunin Prize winner based on the submission materials, references, and a final interview.

Award Ceremony

The Grunin Prize is awarded at a special ceremony in New York City that takes place as part of the Annual Conference on Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing—in the US and Beyond, which is co-hosted by the Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship and the Impact Investing Legal Working Group.


For any queries or concerns related to the Grunin Prize, please contact our Executive Director Carolina Henriquez-Schmitz at