In 2006, around 1,000 people under the age of 25 applied for the BRICK Awards. Whittling it down from 1,000 applicants to 24 Finalists is a daunting task, but one taken on with pride by the judges.
In years past, judging for the BRICK Awards was handled by the BRICK Selection Committee -- a diverse group of people that has included leaders of other grant and scholarship programs, CEOs of major corporations and prominent venture capitalists. Beginning in 2007, the majority of the judging process was handled by a prestigious new entity, the BRICK Academy.
The BRICK Academy consists of all past BRICK Award Winners -- 72 in all. Formed specifically for the 2007 Awards, the Academy members are some of the most inspiring and innovative people of our time. While not the only members of the judging panel, they made up the majority of the judges and took part in every aspect of the selection process. Having the BRICK Academy in control, from start to finish, truly makes the BRICK Awards "by young people, for young people."
In selecting the 24 Finalists, the judges searched for young people who are making an impact on the world for the better. They didn't care about an applicant's GPA, what magazines he’s been in, or how many times he has been on TV. Instead, the judges wanted to know how many people the applicant has helped and see that the applicant has used his unique skills or talents to directly make his community stronger. The ultimate goal of the BRICK Awards is to motivate and inspire the next generation into becoming a generation dedicated to helping the world and creating colossal change. Searching through the applications, the judges looked for standouts in one of two areas: Social Entrepreneurs and Community Leaders.
Eventually, the Academy announced 24 BRICK Award Finalists. Each finalist is an amazing individual who has started an organization, spoken to thousands of people or otherwise made a serious impact in the world. These 24 Finalists were then brought to New York in January for an intensive weekend of workshops and interviews.