McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund

The Student DREAMers Alliance is awarded the McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund at the Aspen Institute

Hispanic Alliance is one of six organizations around the world selected to receive support for innovative, high-impact social ventures at critical moments in their development.

Adela Mendoza
Hispanic Alliance
[email protected]

Nina Sawhney
McNulty Foundation
[email protected]

Greenville, SC, July 12, 2018 –– The Student Dreamers Alliance, a program of the Hispanic Alliance of South Carolina, has been selected as an inaugural recipient of the McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund, a new fund at the Aspen Institute, created to support innovative social ventures around the world at vital inflection points. Each organization is led by an Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) Fellow using their entrepreneurial spirit and expertise to address critical global problems.

The John P. McNulty Prize, with the Aspen Global Leadership Network, honors high-integrity, entrepreneurial leaders working to address intractable global challenges. Since 2008, the McNulty Foundation has invested over $4.5 million in the McNulty Prize, recognizing 40 Laureates and their exceptional ventures working in over 20 countries. This year, the McNulty Foundation has launched the Catalyst Fund to amplify this impact, providing unrestricted support to grow exceptional and promising ventures led by Aspen Global Leadership Network Fellows.

The Student DREAMers Alliance (SDA) was launched in 2016 under the leadership of Adela Mendoza, Executive Director of the Hispanic Alliance, and a member of Liberty Fellowship and the Aspen Global Leadership Network. The SDA is an unprecedented youth leadership accelerator program designed to empower and magnify voices within immigrant student communities, to increase awareness of education inequity and to advocate for changes in state legislation to provide for equal access to public, post-secondary education for all youth.

Adela explains, “South Carolina is one of two states in the US, along with Alabama, that bans undocumented students from enrolling in public colleges, regardless of their ability to pay for tuition, and one of six that prevents DACA students from accessing in-state tuition and financial aid. We can’t build a prosperous society if we limit opportunity for select groups. Since its inception, the Hispanic Alliance has advocated for equal access for all people. The creation of SDA reflects an evolution in our approach to catalyze systemic change. It is the first strategy towards a broader goal to develop the next generation of inclusive, high-integrity leaders with diverse perspectives, able to elevate the voices of underrepresented populations in South Carolina and the US.”

The SDA embodies the collaborative spirit of the Hispanic Alliance, engaging multiple community partners and leaders in South Carolina, including the South Carolina Liberty Fellows. John Simpkins, former U.S. General Counsel, is a frequent facilitator and reflected that, “Spending time with SDA students is one of the highlights of my year. They are thoughtful, caring, socially-conscious young people seeking to create better lives not just for themselves, but for their extended families. They live out the best of who we can be as a nation.”

Thus far, SDA has empowered 43 high school leaders, and it is preparing to select its third class while expanding to additional schools. The support of the McNulty Foundation will provide this organization with an unprecedented platform to broaden and deepen its impact.

“Countless ventures that are driving social change are at critical moments to expand their impact,” said Anne Welsh McNulty, President of the John P. and Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation and Trustee of the Aspen Institute. “The Catalyst Fund gives us the opportunity to support many more models of empowering people around the world. The multiplier effect is enormous.”

The recipients will be celebrated alongside the announcement of the 2018 McNulty Prize Laureates, and participate in an interview with Darren Walker on July 25 at the Resnick Aspen Action Forum in Aspen, Colorado. The event will be streamed live:

About the Hispanic Alliance

As a convener and community axis point, the Hispanic Alliance is leading systemic change and building collective capacity to embrace and advance the growing Hispanic population. Its mission is to foster collaboration and connectivity among people, resources, and cultures to build thriving communities. To learn more visit

About the Student DREAMers Alliance

Inspired by the Aspen Institute and Liberty Fellowship’s approach towards fostering enlightened, values-based leaders, SDA is a groundbreaking youth leadership accelerator designed to foster the next generation of diverse leaders. Students are selected through a highly competitive process and immersed in six seminars spread throughout the school year. The initiative provides them with a space for introspective dialogue and self-discovery, and the knowledge and skills to become effective leaders who can articulate their vision for change. To learn more and support this program, please visit

About the John P. McNulty Prize and Catalyst Fund

Founded by Anne Welsh McNulty in honor of her late husband John, the McNulty Prize celebrates the boldness and impact of individuals who are using their exceptional leadership abilities, entrepreneurial spirit, and private sector talents to address the world’s toughest challenges. Each year, the McNulty Prize winner is selected by an international jury that has included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Bill Gates, Sr., and Sir Richard Branson. For more information, visit

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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