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Young innovators in social justice to receive $100,000 Grinnell Prize

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SOURCE Grinnell College

Winners redistribute surplus medicines to U.S. patients in need, improve sanitation in Kenya

GRINNELL, Iowa, Sept. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2014 Grinnell Prize - a $100,000 award honoring young innovators in social justice - will be presented by Grinnell College to founders of two organizations making the world a healthier, cleaner place.


The winners were selected from among 211 nominees who represent 34 countries and serve a total of 43 nations through their work. They are:

  • Adam Kircher, 29, and Kiah Williams, 28, co-founders and directors of SIRUM (Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine), which saves lives by administering the redistribution of surplus prescription medications to safety-net clinics whose patients cannot afford their prescriptions. Kircher and Williams, along with co-founder George Wang, established SIRUM in 2011. Since then, SIRUM's online platform has redistributed nearly $3 million worth of unopened, unexpired prescriptions donated by manufacturers, wholesalers, hospitals and nursing homes. SIRUM also protects the environment by reducing the volume of medications that go to waste and require disposal.

  • Lindsay Stradley, 33, and her husband, Ani Vallabhaneni, 33, co-founders of Sanergy, which builds and franchises hygienic Fresh Life Toilets in Nairobi, Kenya. Residents pay a nominal fee to franchise owners to use the toilets. Sanergy employees collect the waste and process it into organic fertilizer to sell to local farmers. Sanergy brings accessible, affordable sanitation to urban informal settlements, where waste typically is dumped into waterways, contaminating water supplies and spreading disease. Since 2011, Sanergy has hired 163 local employees, launched 461 franchises through a network of 240 Fresh Life operators, and provided more than 18,000 Nairobi residents with access to hygienic sanitation.

The largest prize for social justice awarded by a U.S. college, the Grinnell Prize is presented annually to leaders under 40 who have devised innovative ways to advance positive social change.

Winners will receive their medals in an awards ceremony at 4:15 p.m. CT Tuesday, Oct. 7, in Herrick Chapel at Grinnell College. To watch the ceremony online live, see

The ceremony includes a keynote address by award-winning journalist, author and civil rights activist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She is married to 1962 Grinnell graduate and life trustee Ronald Gault. Following the ceremony, there will be a reception and book signing featuring Hunter-Gault's book about her journey through the civil rights movement.

These events are part of Grinnell Prize Symposium Week, Oct. 6–10, when winners give public presentations and meet with students, faculty, staff and the community to discuss their approaches to social justice, inspiration and success. All Grinnell Prize events are free and open to the public.

About the Grinnell Prize
Established by Grinnell College in 2010, the Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize (the Grinnell Prize) honors individuals under 40 demonstrating leadership in their fields and showing creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in bringing about positive social change. Nominations for the 2015 Grinnell Prize are being accepted from Oct. 10 to Dec. 1. For details, see

About Grinnell College
Since its founding in 1846, Grinnell has become one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges, enrolling 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many countries. Grinnell's rigorous academic program emphasizes excellence in education for students in the liberal arts; the college offers the B.A. degree in a range of departments across the humanities, arts and sciences. Grinnell has a strong tradition of social responsibility and action, and self-governance and personal responsibility are key components of campus life. More information about Grinnell College is available at

Lisa Lacher
Media website


The Grinnell Prize


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