The Elevate Prize Foundation announced today Michael J. Fox as the latest recipient of its Elevate Prize Catalyst Award in recognition of his long-standing advocacy and work with the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), which is dedicated to accelerating new therapies and a cure for Parkinson’s disease. The award was presented to Fox onstage at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2023 Meeting by the Elevate Prize Foundation’s Founder Joseph Deitch and its CEO Carolina García Jayaram.
The Elevate Prize Catalyst Award recognizes prominent individuals who use their influence to inspire social action and provides $250,000 in unrestricted funding to advance their mission and scale their work, along with providing valuable development resources and partnership opportunities. At last year’s CGI Meeting, the Elevate Prize Foundation presented the award to Malala Yousafzai in recognition of her efforts with Malala Fund and advocacy for girls’ education.
“It means the world to have the Foundation’s achievements recognized,” said Michael J. Fox. “I accept the Elevate Prize Catalyst Award on behalf of the community pushing our mission forward: the people and families living with PD, and the researchers and clinicians on the front lines of the search for a cure. Seeing the progress we’ve made together and the lives we’ve touched through the Foundation has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.”
Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 29, launched MJFF in 2000 to galvanize the search for a cure and better treatments. It has since become the leading driver of Parkinson’s research worldwide, having funded nearly $2 billion in research to date. Earlier this year, the Foundation’s landmark clinical study announced the discovery of a test that, for the first time, can objectively detect early Parkinson’s biology in the cells of living people. This enormous breakthrough shifts Parkinson’s from a disease that is understood primarily through subjective clinical assessments to one that can be objectively biologically defined, enabling earlier diagnosis and accelerating the search for treatments.
“Michael J. Fox represents the best of us. Faced with an overwhelming personal challenge, he made the monumental decision to be a catalyst for change,” said Joseph Deitch, entrepreneur and founder of the Elevate Prize Foundation. “By using his platform to bring hope and visibility to those affected by Parkinson’s, he has not only changed the lives of patients in our lifetime, but will impact those of generations to come.”
Before unveiling the honor, García Jayaram spoke on a panel at CGI titled, “The Power of Narrative: How to Inspire Social Change by Transforming Perspective.” The discussion covered how storytelling plays a powerful role in driving action and inspiring meaningful, systemic change today.
“We are honored to present the Elevate Prize Catalyst Award to Michael J. Fox for his unwavering commitment toward finding a cure for Parkinson’s,” said Carolina García Jayaram, CEO of the Elevate Prize Foundation. “Through his storytelling – in both the highs and the lows – he shows us the unrelenting power of optimism, a message we plan to help amplify together in the months ahead.”
The Elevate Prize Foundation aims to serve as an engine for social good by helping changemakers raise their visibility and inspire others. Each year, the Foundation recognizes social impact leaders who are driving progress around the world through its signature program, the Elevate Prize.
Several Elevate Prize winners participated at CGI in its Story Studio panels, including Piyush Tewari, CEO of SaveLIFE Foundation; Atif Javed, Executive Director of Tarjimly; and Elijah McKinnon, Executive Director of Open Television. The sessions explored the power of language in inciting change and examined the systemic underpinnings of global threats and how we can address them.
Finalists for the next cohort of Elevate Prize winners were unveiled today. Winners will be announced in January 2024, each receiving an unrestricted grant of $300,000 and supportive, tailored services valued at $200,000, which include a combination of communications strategy, branding, social media training, and leadership development – all designed to help the winners share their stories, reach a wider audience, deepen their impact and ultimately Make Good Famous.