The David Prize, Step by Step

The David Prize is all about funding extraordinary New Yorkers who want to build a better New York City. Our process opens in early October and ends with the announcement of winners the the following summer. We structure the process to maximize accessibility and to ensure we really get to know each individual who submits an idea for consideration. While our process may be long, we keep it low-lift. We don’t ask individuals to commit a bunch of time or do tons of work to submit for the Prize, and we seldom ask for new work.


The David Prize is right for anyone who can say yes to the following five criteria:

  1. You’re a New Yorker. You love, work for, and live in one of New York’s five boroughs. Your work is aimed at solving urgent questions and meeting needs in the city.
  2. You have serious plans to contribute. Whether socially, economically, culturally, environmentally, or otherwise, you have a divergent and unique vision for how to make NYC a place where people yearn to live, and concrete ideas about how to achieve it.
  3. You’re a visionary. You take risks and have the grit to make something out of nothing. You see long-term benefits where others see short-term obstacles.
  4. You get things done. You’re already a contributor. You have demonstrated capacity and have a track record of extraordinary work, but you haven’t done it all…yet.
  5. You truly need the prize. Funding and visibility could change the trajectory of your work and life, not to mention your block, your borough, and maybe even our entire city.

The Prize is first and foremost about individuals. We fund folks with big, bold visions because outsize ideas demonstrate outsize thinking, visioning, and grit. We believe that extraordinary people learn and adapt as they build; ideas and plans can change, but their drive and imagination remain fierce. We don’t ask our winners for metrics or reporting because we know impact can take a long time and go in different directions — and we’re cool with that.

Prize Process


Nominate someone for The David Prize. Click here to nominate someone you know for The David Prize. We reach out to nominees on a rolling basis while our Open Call is open. Nominations submitted after the Open Call period will get taken up in the next cycle.

Nominations are optional. Seriously. You don’t need to be nominated to submit.

A nomination is not a submission. If you’re nominated for The David Prize, you must also submit on your own behalf (see below). You cannot be part of the Prize process without a submission!

Nominations are open all year long. That’s right, all year. We email nominees throughout our Open Call period to let them know they can submit an idea for The David Prize.

Nominations don’t improve your odds. The number of nominations a person receives has zero impact on their candidacy. Nominations help us learn about great folks but, again, they are completely optional — you don’t need to call all your friends!

Step 1 Submission

Due by December 12, 2022 at 5 pm EST

Complete Step 1 online. You must create an account in order to access the submission form. You can get started here or preview the questions here.

No Step 1 submission, no entry for The David Prize. Everyone who wants to be considered for the Prize must complete Step 1. No exceptions.

Step 1 is short and sweet. Three questions about you, plus a few more to gather basic data. We aren’t looking for perfect prose or flash — we just need a clear sense of who you are and how you want to improve NYC.

You’ll hear back from us if you submit Step 1. Everyone who submits a Step 1 Submission will hear back from us by the end of December 2022. We review submissions on a rolling basis, and individuals move through the process at different times.

Don’t forget the deadline! We don’t accept submissions after our deadline, regardless of technical glitches, weather, or anything else. Get your responses in sooner rather than later!

Step 2 Submission

Due by January 23, 2023 at 5 pm EST

Prep for Step 2! You can check out our Step 2 Submission questions here.

Step 2 is by invitation only. It’s more in-depth than Step 1, but shouldn’t take more than 2–3 hours to complete.

There’s a character limit for each question. Double check your final responses before you submit them to be sure everything fits within the count.

Everyone will hear from us about their status. Everyone who submits a Step 2 Submission will receive a status update via email during March 2023.


Spring 2023

We get to know each other. From our Step 2 group, we develop a shortlist of extraordinary New Yorkers for Prize consideration. If you’re on the shortlist, we’ll schedule a meeting to learn more about you and your work.

We ask for references — up to four people that can vouch for you, your love for New York, and your plans for making it an even better, brighter city.

Our team does a lot of research. In addition to your references, we connect with experts, leaders, researchers, customers, friends, board members, and others who can share more about you and give us insight into the ideas you’ve submitted.

We honor our shortlisted candidates’ time. We don’t require much beyond a conversation or two (and maybe help with references). We also support folks with accessibility and care needs throughout the process.

Advisors play a key role. Sometimes David Prize advisors interview shortlisted candidates. Learn more about our incredible team of advisors here.

Finalists are publicly announced. We choose finalists from the pool of shortlisted candidates, and we announce that list during the summer.

Final Interview

Summer 2023

Finalists practice for final interviews. The David Prize team works with finalists to prep for their final interviews.

Final interviews take place in person late summer. Each finalist meets with a small group of Prize decision-makers to share their work and story.

We celebrate! Five winners are selected and are publicly announced.


Sign up for every-so-often updates from The David Prize.