The Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award celebrates women of color who are building a healthier, safer, and more just world. The 2022 application cycle is closed – check back in early 2023 for the next chance to apply.
About the Award
Each year, the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award provides women environmental leaders of color with: a $10,000 prize; networking opportunities; and public recognition within the environment, philanthropic, and women’s leadership communities. For information about the award criteria, evaluation, and timeline, click here.
Who is This Award For?
Women of color* from all kinds of professional and advocacy backgrounds are encouraged to apply, but we will be prioritizing women at the midpoint of their career. While the list below is not exclusive, potential awardees might be:
- Writers and poets documenting the beauty of our natural world
- Organizers defending their communities, neighborhoods, and land
- Educators nurturing young advocates
- Farmers creating a just food system
- Documentarians and journalists covering environmental injustice
- Faith leaders communicating the moral imperative for change
- Lawyers working to protect our air, lands, water, and wildlife
- Champions of good nutrition, wellness, and health
- Scientists, researchers, and academics helping us better understand our planet
- Entrepreneurs creating social and economic change
*Our definition of “women” is spacious and includes people of color who may identify as non-binary, genderqueer, gender expansive, or otherwise not conforming to the gender binary. We trust the self-identification of award candidates regarding their gender, race, ethnicity, and heritage. We hope that candidates can see themselves in this award and we trust them to engage if they do.
How are you defining “women of color”?
Our definition of “women” is spacious and includes people of color who may identify as non-binary, genderqueer, gender expansive, or otherwise not conforming to the gender binary. We trust the self-identification of award candidates regarding their gender, race, ethnicity, and heritage. We hope that candidates can see themselves in this award and we trust them to engage if they do.
We acknowledge the painful ways individuals have been excluded, devalued, or inhibited in the mainstream environmental movement due to their race and gender, and we strive to balance our aspiration for inclusivity with the understanding that the experiences of people of color are not the same. We may never complete our understanding of the unique, nuanced, and intersecting ways race and gender shape us and our systems, but we commit to the journey of growth and support.
I applied before. Can I reapply?
Yes! As long as you still meet our eligibility requirements, go for it.
I've been nominated. Do I still need to apply?
Yes. All candidates must apply to the award to be considered.
I’m not a US citizen. Can I apply?
Yes, however, you must be a resident of the United States*, American Indian and Alaska Native areas, or US Territories (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands).
*The United States is comprised of contemporary and ancestral lands and territories, much of which has been forcibly stolen from Indigenous people through colonization. We acknowledge that the traditional custodians of this land have endured many legacies of displacement, migration, settlement, and trauma that have shaped where we are today.
I’m an elected official. Can I apply?
We are so grateful for your commitment to environmental stewardship through your public service. But, as a 501(c)(3), Rachel’s Network cannot provide prizes to those currently running for an elected position or serving as an elected official. Please consider connection with our c4 organization, Rachel’s Action Network.
Are there limitations for how I use my prize money?
No. This gift is for you, not your organization, and there are no restrictions on how you can spend the funds.
Are there expectations for award winners?
We encourage award winners to attend our annual meeting and award dinner in Washington, DC in March 2023 (expenses covered by Rachel’s Network). Details will be shared and arranged with the awardees once they are notified of the prize.
Awardees may also be expected to participate in program evaluation, to improve the experience and impact of this award.
Who will be evaluating my application?
Your application will be reviewed by former Catalyst Awardees, Rachel’s Network members, staff, liaisons, advisors, and vetted friends of the network with expertise in equity and environmental justice (speakers, consultants). Everyone involved in the award process must abide by our award’s guiding principles.
Are there other award programs I can apply to?
You may want to also check out the following award programs for environmental leaders:
500 Women Scientists’ Fellowship for the Future
Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program
Educator Development Program
Emerging Leaders Program
Environmental Leadership Program
Environmental Fellows Program
Grassroots Accelerator for Women Environmental Leaders
J.M. Kaplan Fund Innovation Prize
NDN Changemakers Fellowship
Ray Diversity Fellowship
Switzer Fellowship Program
How can I support this program?
We welcome contributions to our program and award winners. Email email@example.com for information on getting involved.