Rachel’s Network just announced the 2021 award cycle of its initiative honoring women of color fighting for the environment: The Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award recognizes women of color across the country who are leveraging their activism for environmental impact.
With applications and nominations due by June 17th, now is the ideal time to make your voice heard in the world of eco-activism.
Winners of the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award receive a $10,000 prize, networking opportunities with the full network, and public recognition within the environmental, philanthropic, and women’s leadership communities.
The Rachel’s Network team encourages women of color from all backgrounds to apply, but the award prioritizes women at the midpoint of their career. Past winners include writers and poets writing from an environmental lens, educators helping to develop a new generation of young activists, lawyers working to protect the earth, or scientists, researchers, and academics committed to achieving a better understanding of our planet.
(However, it’s important to note that women who are elected officials or running for elected office are not eligible for the award, due to Rachel’s Network’s status as a 501(c)(3) organization.)
The award is geared toward women of color, and members of the non-binary and gender expansive community are encouraged to apply.
“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,” writes the Rachel’s Network team. “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.”
Rachel’s Network also “acknowledge[s] 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.”
Applications and nominations for the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award are due by June 17th. After that, the first round of the selection process will involve candidate evaluation by a team of volunteer reviewers from the Rachel’s Network community.
Once applicants have moved past this first round of evaluation, finalists and winners will be selected by the Selection Committee, made up of former recipients of the Catalyst Award. The process will follow a simple timeline from May to December of 2021:
- May 20 – Applications Open
- June 17 – Application Deadline at 11:59 PM ET
- June to July – First Round Evaluation by Reviewers
- July to September – Second Round Evaluation by Selection Committee
- October – 30-Minute Finalist Interviews
- November – Awardees Selected by Selection Committee
- December – Awardees Announced
Once the winners have been selected, Rachel’s Network plans to host an in-person celebration in March of 2022, provided the celebration lines up with local COVID-19 restrictions.
An important note — even if a woman has been nominated to receive the Catalyst Award, she will still need to submit her own application through the Rachel’s Network application portal.
If you know an outstanding woman of color working to defend the planet we call home, consider nominating her for the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award!
With more prize money available to the movers and shakers of the eco-feminism world, Rachel’s Network is helping to leverage of funds to create a safer and healthier ecosystem for all.
To learn more about Rachel’s Network and the Catalyst Award, visit their website here: RachelsNetwork.org/catalyst.
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