Heritage Foundation Announces New Innovation Prize for Speech First

Heritage Foundation Announces New Innovation Prize for Speech First

Apr 19, 2023 2 min read

WASHINGTON—The Heritage Foundation today announced that it has selected Speech First as a recipient of the Heritage Innovation Prize.

Speech First will receive a $100,000 award in support of its work to defend students’ constitutional rights—specifically, its efforts to dismantle threats to free speech in universities across the country through its Strategic Litigation Free Speech Project.

The Innovation Prize will be used to combat Bias Reporting Systems, harassment policies that target constitutionally protected speech, and other campus policies that are viewpoint-based, or regulate and monitor students’ speech.

Heritage President Dr. Kevin Roberts released a statement upon announcement of the award:

“Heritage is committed to taking back our culture from the Left’s radical ideologies that threaten the very foundations of our country. We’re proud to award the Innovation Prize, using the resources generously provided by fellow Americans, to Speech First for its amazing work of defending students’ constitutional rights, which include being able to speak freely on college campus.”

Cherise Trump, executive director of Speech First, also released a statement:

"Speech First is honored to receive the Innovation Prize from Heritage. Our no-excuses litigation strategy is focused on holding colleges and universities accountable when they violate the constitutional speech rights of their students. Our ability to bring home decisive legal wins resulting in the reversal of restrictive speech policies has separated us from other organizations working on campus free speech issues. We look forward to building out these efforts and continuing to fight against censorship, coercion, and viewpoint discrimination that limit the minds and voices of students.”

The Heritage Innovation Prize recognizes and provides substantive financial awards totaling up to $1 million annually to results-oriented nonprofits for projects involving research, litigation, education, outreach, or communications, particularly those focused on empowering parents in education, holding Big Tech accountable, countering the threat of the Chinese Communist Party, securing America’s borders and reducing crime, ensuring free and fair elections, reducing the growth of spending and inflation, and promoting life and family formation.

This is the third round of Heritage Innovation Prizes to be awarded. In 2022, winners of the Prize included the Alliance Defending Freedom, Alliance for Opportunity, Americans United for Life, Charlotte Lozier Institute, Defense of Freedom Institute, Forge Leadership Network, Independent Women’s Forum, State Financial Officers Foundation, and Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. Each organization was awarded a grant ranging from $60,000 to $500,000, some of which will be received over several years. These awards are sponsored by The Heritage Foundation’s robust endowment for innovative conservative projects.

For more information on the most recent Innovation Prize awards, read here, or for information on the inaugural awards, read here. For more information about the prize itself, read here.

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