About the Program
History has shown that free markets are the best way to organize economic activity. But the Manhattan Institute understands that in a healthy society, markets are complemented by charitable and philanthropic enterprises—which both help those in need and prepare citizens to realize their potential. Indeed, Adam Smith himself understood this: his writing on the virtues of markets (Wealth of Nations) was preceded by his writing on morality, compassion, and altruism (Theory of Moral Sentiments). Since its founding, the United States has been characterized by its vibrant civil society, one in which private, nonprofit, voluntary nongovernmental organizations are formed to ameliorate social ills.
Both to celebrate and support this tradition, the Manhattan Institute established our social entrepreneurship initiative in 2001. Directed by Vice-President for Policy Research Howard Husock, it combines research, writing, public speaking, and events on the role of nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations with an award program which recognizes the best of America's new generation of nonprofit leaders.
The William E. Simon Prize includes a personal honorarium of $100,000 and the Richard Cornuelle Award includes a $25,000 award to the winning organizations.
2017 Social Entrepreneurship Award Winners
William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement
Detective Steven McDonald
New York Police Department
Richard C. Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship
In Democracy in America, Tocqueville observed:
"Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions, constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies but associations of a thousand other kinds-religious, moral, serious, futile, enormous, or diminutive.
The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books; to send out missionaries; they found in this manner hospitals, prisons, and schools. Wherever, at the head of some new undertaking, you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association."