Social Capitalists—Enter Now!

Registration is now open for the 5th annual Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Awards, which identify and celebrate the top social entrepreneurs in the nation. This year, we're introducing an experiment: we're accepting applications from some for-profit businesses as well as non-profits. Registration takes two minutes; just go here before June 4.

Since 2003, hundreds of organizations have participated in the Social Capitalist Awards evaluation, and dozens have been recognized as winners—true innovators that deliver outstanding impact in their fields.

As in past years, there are two ways to enter. Our board of experts will nominate one slate of organizations, which we’ll then ask to participate. Or you can nominate your own organization. Both sorts of nominations will be evaluated on the same terms: We’ll ask you to submit an application that includes two years of operating and financial data, as well as a statement of mission and objectives and answers to questions that will help us assess your strategy and activities. For more information on our methodology, go to here.

Based on our analysis of those applications, our independent board of advisors will select the winners—organizations that meet a high threshold of excellence in social impact, innovation, entrepreneurship, aspiration, and sustainability. Importantly, we don’t limit the number of years an organization can win. The point is to reward continued excellence across the field. Think of it as a "seal of approval" that’s recognized by funders, investors, and your peers as an authoritative standard of achievement.

The upside: We’ll list all Social Capitalist Award winners in the December issue of Fast Company magazine; this will appear in mid-November, allowing winners more time to use the award in year-end fundraising. We’ll feature winners in greater depth on our web site—and all winners will be invited to the Social Capitalist Awards gala in January, 2008.

In addition, all Social Capitalist Award winners will be eligible for selection by our partner, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, as a "Social Entrepreneur of the Year." Winners of this award are invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and brought into an exclusive network of influential changemakers.

As for the experiment with for-profit businesses: This is our first stab at what will become a much broader effort in years to come. Our thinking: It's no longer realistic or credible to imply that non-profits are the only institutions that have meaningful social impact.

We believe that the social impact of business can be assessed just as it can for non-profits. So this year, putting that assumption to the test: Fast Company will assess the social performance of for-profit companies along criteria similar to the one our partner Monitor Group has established for the non-profit sphere. The result: We'll publish our defining list of Social Capitalist Award winners from the non-profit sphere as we have in the past—and we'll also feature a complimentary group of for-profit companies that deserve the same sort of recognition.

How to register:
Just go to www.fastcompany.com/social/2008 and enter your contact information as indicated. By June 4, we’ll email you an application, which you’ll have to complete by June 29. Please be sure to provide a valid email address with your registration.

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