KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize

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About the KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize

The KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize rewards students engaged in new or ongoing work that demonstrates a commitment, whether in education or other domains, to creating a better future for children and youth. The award of $2,500 is given to one UC Berkeley undergraduate student each year.  The Prize recognizes students who have developed innovative strategies to increase opportunities for children and youth, as well as students who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the future of children and youth.

Selection Process

The KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize winner is selected through a two-stage process.

In the first stage, students apply by submitting a resume and an essay of up to 500 words describing their innovation and/or ongoing engagement. Submissions involving apps, models and pilot projects are welcome. All registered undergraduate students at UC Berkeley are eligible to apply.

In the second stage, finalists are asked to provide evidence of the idea’s feasibility and its likely impact and/or evidence of the student’s ongoing commitment to youth-related issues. Supporting evidence may take different forms, depending on the project. It might include a letter from an expert in the field (verifying the merit and/or promise of the student/project) or a supervisor (describing the work the student has done over a several-year period), pilot study data, or other forms of documentation that show the success of the innovation and/or its potential. A selection committee made up of UC Berkeley faculty reviews these materials and selects a winner.

Download an application form here.

Applications are due via email to by October 17, 2016.

Applicants will be notified by December 1, 2016, at which time finalists will receive instructions for documents to include in the second stage.

Finalists’ second-stage documentation will be due on January 15, 2017, and a winner will be announced by March 1, 2017.

An award ceremony will be held in April 2017.

For more information contact Dr. Deborah Lustig: dlustig AT, 510-643-7238.

About David L. Kirp

David KirpA faculty member at the Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, since 1971, David Kirp, professor of the Graduate School, is a policy consultant and a contributing writer to the New York Times as well as an academic. In his seventeen books and scores of articles, in both the popular press and scholarly journals, he has tackled some of America’s biggest social problems, including affordable housing, access to health, gender discrimination and AIDS. Throughout his career, his main focus has been on education and children’s policy, from cradle to college and career.  His latest book, Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools, was named outstanding book of 2013 by the American Education Research Association. The book chronicles how an urban school district has brought poor Latino immigrant children, many of them undocumented, into the education mainstream. His previous book, Kids First: Five Big Ideas for Transforming the Lives of Children, makes a powerful argument for building systems of support that reach from cradle to college and career. It won the National School Board Journal award for the best education book of 2011. The Sandbox Investment: The Preschool Movement and Kids-First Politics analyzes why early education has emerged as a national priority. It received the Association of American Publishers Award for Excellence. David Kirp serves as a member of the board of Friends of the Children and on the international advisory committee of Escuela Nueva, a Colombia-based nonprofit that in the past quarter-century has educated millions of children in the developing world. 

To Support the Prize

To make a gift in support of the prize, please visit the ISSI online giving site and select KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize from the drop-down menu.

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
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