2014 Maathai Award for Civic Participation in Sustainability

The Maathai Award for Civic Participation in Sustainability, inaugurated by The Rockefeller Foundation, The Bette Midler Family Trust, and MillionTreesNYC, is an annual $10,000 cash award granted to two New York City public high school seniors. The award was established in honor of Dr. Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004), a visionary environmentalist, and founder of the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to promote sustainable development, woman's empowerment, and democracy in Kenya.

The application deadline has been extended to January 19, 2015 at 5:00 PM.



Applicants must:

  • Be a NYC student expecting to graduate at the end of the 2014-2015 school year
  • Demonstrate commitment to and activity in civic engagement
  • Demonstrate commitment to and activity in sustainability projects
  • Provide evidence of having completed a sustainability project in high school that shows evidence of leadership, commitment to sustainability, mobilization of others
  • See full list of eligibility criteria

Application requirements:

  • Complete online application by deadline (January 19, 2015 at 5:00 PM)
  • Submit two references
  • Submit Supplementary materials as necessary
  • Submit Parental Authorization to apply

Incomplete applications or applications submitted in whole or part after the deadline will be disqualified without consideration. Applicants are strongly encouraged to use the application worksheet to guide their submission.

The award is intended to be used by the student for their first year of college.

If you have any questions, please email maathai@mas.org.

We encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and wish you all the best with the application process.

Past Award Winners

  • Cecil Brooks, Jr. for YLC Goes Green!, a three-part program that encompassed a recycling campaign, an education initiative and tree adoptions through MillionTreesNYC. (2012)
  • Awa Sow for MC Green Club, a student group aiming to raise awareness among students to participate in environmental improvements. (2012)
  • Alexandra Gumas for Bottle Cap Competition, which collects previously non-recyclable bottle caps to be re-used. (2013)
  • Jaylen Gregory for iSchool Biodiversity Action Plan Proposal, which focused on increasing biodiversity surrounding his school. (2013)

Learn About Dr. Maathai and The Green Belt Movement

For over 30 years, Dr. Wangari Maathai has inspired the work of The Green Belt Movement, which has had a profound impact on the populations and ecology of Kenya. Get a taste for Dr. Maathai's work by viewing the exerpt below from the documentary "Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai" by Lisa Merton and Alan Dater.