Prize Calls on Pittsburgh Social Innovators

February 28, 2018       NPT Staff      

Social innovators in southwestern Pennsylvania looking to take their ideas to the next level will have two bites at the apple this year. The UpPrize, sponsored by the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania and The Forbes Funds, will hold two grant competitions in 2018, its third year of operation.

This year’s Great Ideas competition launches on March 1 and is focused on grantees that have identified ways of addressing community challenges with technology. Three winners will be selected and awarded $5,000 each along with technical support to bring their concepts to fruition.

The Great Solutions competition will launch on May 15, and will focus on innovators who already have a proof of concept or prototype that can be scaled within 18 months. Five finalists in the competition will each receive $10,000 and an opportunity to compete for grant funding of $50,000 to $150,000.

The UpPrize awarded $600,000 in grants and investments last year for projects aimed at impactful technology and healthy food, according to the prize’s website. More than $1 million in grants and investments were made in 2015, the prize’s inaugural year, in three categories: individual independence, access to care and opportunity, and organizational coordination.

Advisory team members associated with this year’s competition represent a host of companies and institutions including Google, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh.

“We continue to be blown away by the innovation and solutions that have emerged through UpPrize,” said Kenya Boswell, president of the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania. “After two successful cycles and more than 200 entries last year, we believe we’ve only scratched the surface on ideas that can truly transform nonprofits and our communities. We cannot wait to see what this third cycle will bring.”

The competition is free to enter and anyone age 18 or older and living in southwestern Pennsylvania is eligible to apply to either competition. Participants should film a brief video for their submission addressing the core areas of opportunity their idea or prototype addresses. For more information, visit

  • BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh
  • The Forbes Funds