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The Indianapolis Prize

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The Indianapolis Prize is given every other year to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to conservation efforts involving a single animal species or multiple species. Beginning with the 2014 presentation, the Indianapolis Prize win​​ner will receive an unrestricted cash award of $250,000, increased from $100,000 in previous years, plus the prestigious Lill​y Medal. Also beginning in 2014, the five non-winning Prize finalists will receive awards of $10,000 each. 

The nominees for the biennial Prize, the world's leading award for animal conservation, are reviewed by two international committees — a nine-person nominating committee that narrows the field down to six finalists, and a jury that selects the winner. New nominating committee and jury members are chosen for each two-year Prize cycle, and they include some of the leading people in the conservation field.

Once the finalists have been selected, an original video is produced on location for each finalist that focuses on their lives and work. These high-definition video profiles are made available at no charge to the finalists and their organizations to assist them in promoting their work to donors and other audiences. 

The most impressive aspect, however, involves their presentation at the Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc., held biennially in September in downtown Indianapolis. The 2012 Gala was at the JW Marriott. The finalists were featured before an influential audience of 1,000 and in a variety of other outreach and communication activities designed to tell their stories. View the video presentations on the six 2012 finalists.

The first two Indianapolis Prize Galas were presented by AES Corporation, the parent corporation of Indianapolis Power & Light Company, while the 2010 and 2012 Galas were presented by Cummins Inc.  The Galas  highlighted not only the finalists and winners, but also the vitality and commitment of the Indianapolis community. The Eli Lilly and Company Foundation provides funding for the Indianapolis Prize.

This celebration draws international attention to conservation issues and receives extensive media coverage. It is not designed to be a quiet, academic, scientist-focused event, but instead an energetic and spectacular celebration of conservation victories.  The goal is to inspire the general public to start caring about conservation, and to place heroes, who live in tents in danger of both wild beasts and poachers, on the pedestal that we usually reserve for sports and entertainment stars.
 The Indianapolis Prize is a significant component of the internationally recognized conservation efforts undertaken by the Indianapolis Zoo.


Lilly Medal © 2013, Indianapolis Zoological Societies

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