The Vilcek Prize for Excellence in Public Service is awarded to entrepreneur, author, and non-profit leader Andrew Yang. Born in the United States to immigrants from Taiwan, Andrew is the founder of the non-profit organizations Venture for America and Humanity Forward and author of the New York Times bestselling books Smart People Should Build Things and The War on Normal People. Andrew receives the Vilcek Prize for Excellence in recognition of his leadership in advancing ideas addressing issues ranging from wealth inequality, to understanding how corporations use individuals’ personal data, to autism awareness in the United States.
The Vilcek Prize for Excellence is the newest addition to the Vilcek Foundation’s prizes program. Inaugurated in 2019, the Vilcek Prize for Excellence is awarded to immigrants who have had a significant impact on American society, or to individuals whose career and experience exemplify service to social justice and equality in the United States. Candidates are chosen by Jan and Marica Vilcek—cofounders, chairman and vice chairman of the Vilcek Foundation, and approved by the foundation’s board. The recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Excellence receives a commemorative award and an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000.
“The Vilcek Prize for Excellence enables us to recognize persons whose work and values complement the goals of our foundation,” said Jan Vilcek, CEO and chairman of the Vilcek Foundation. “The prize is a way for us to honor the work of individuals who might not qualify for our prizes in the arts or in biomedical science, but whose experience and career contributions nonetheless exemplify or speak to our foundation’s core mission and vision—to celebrate the multitude of immigrant experiences and how immigration enriches culture, society, and innovation in the United States.”
“Andrew Yang is a changemaker with refreshing pragmatism,” said Rick Kinsel, president of the Vilcek Foundation. “His dedication to ideals and his hands-on approach to public service can be seen in every endeavor he has undertaken—from his work in the startup world, to his critical examination of automation and the labor force in the United States, and to his drive to address systemic economic inequality. These stand out as just a few examples of his leadership.”
Announcements have also been made of the recipients of the 2021 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science, the Vilcek Prize in Filmmaking, and the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science and in Filmmaking. All of the prizewinners will be celebrated in an awards ceremony hosted by the Vilcek Foundation in April 2021.