The 2021 'GritGrant' Awards

Teachers: Nominate your Student for the 2021 'GritGrant'Awards

The McKenzie Foundation and Uncharted Learning are pleased to announce the submission process for the 2021 GritGrant™ Awards.


GritGrants are cash awards that recognize students who overcome adversity to reach their goals. The award winners motivate others not to quit no matter the difficulty. This year, four students will receive $2,500 each for a total of $10,000 in grants.

WHO is Eligible?

Students currently enrolled in high school INCubatoredu / ACCELeratoredu and/or MobileMakersEdu / MobileMakersStudio programs and nominated by teachers from Uncharted Learning member schools through a recommendation letter are eligible.

WHEN are recommendations due?

Submissions are being accepted via this form until  June 4, 2021 at 5:00 PM CST.

WHY GritGrants?

The McKenzie Foundation established GritGrants to: 1) Reward the Grit of students who successfully overcome adversity and 2) Motivate others that no obstacle is insurmountable. Grit is inspirational. It comes from passion, perseverance and a never quit attitude. Carol Dweck, an American teacher/psychologist wrote, “Students should understand the ability to learn is not fixed, it can change with effort.” Grit is a mindset. It’s the ability to persist in something the student is passionate about and to persevere when things seem too tough to keep going.

HOW will GritGrants be awarded?

GritGrants will be based on a student’s Grit and Character. Elements of “Grit” include:

  • Optimism, confidence, and creativity
  • Resilience despite fear
  • Laser-like focus on meaningful goals
  • Excellence not perfection
  • “Character” as described by refers to ways of thinking, acting, and feeling that benefit others as well as ourselves. Character is plural—encompassing strengths of heart, mind, and will.
    • Strengths of heart (such as gratitude and kindness) enable harmonious relationships with other people.
    • Strengths of mind (such as curiosity and creativity) enable independent thinking.
    • Strengths of will (such as discipline and self-control) enable the achievement of goals.

WHERE will the Awards be announced?

Awards will be announced at the Uncharted Learning National Summit on July 21st.


Teachers from Uncharted Learning member schools can each nominate one student to represent their school’s INCubatoredu / ACCELeratoredu and/or MobileMakersEdu / MobileMakersStudio programs.

Nominations are made by INCubatoredu / ACCELeratoredu orMobileMakersEdu / MobileMakersStudio teachers in the form of a recommendation letter.

The recommendation letter must include the following:

  •  School Name and Address
  •  Teacher Name and Email
  •  Name of Student and Graduation Year
  •  Description of Student’s “Grit” and “Character” (250-600 words)
  • Nominations will be considered based on the authenticity of content.

No minimum GPA level is required.

Submissions are being accepted via this form until June 4, 2021 at 5:00 PM CST.

GritGrant™ nominations are reviewed by a committee of community champions and recipients are selected in a final round by a panelist of entrepreneurs.





The McKenzie Foundation was established in 2014 to inspire peace through kindness and education. To illustrate this philanthropic mission, its founders, Maureen and James McKenzie, along with their children, Alexandra, Samuel and Joseph, lead the Foundation to fund nonprofits working on peacemaking through education and the improvement of the human spirit. The Foundation believes in building the capacity of its partners and the realization of their commitments. As active impact donors, the Foundation aligns its mission with grant-making goals. Outside of this work, the Foundation makes discretionary donations by invitation.


Uncharted Learning is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to kick start students for life by equipping them with real-world skills. We help inspire students to discover their passions, strengthen their capabilities and create their own futures. Our programs offer authentic, rigorous entrepreneurship experiences to students in 250 schools across the United States and Australia. Real entrepreneurs and business experts serve as volunteer coaches and mentors, guiding student teams through the process of creating and testing hypotheses to develop viable business models and mobile apps. INCubatoredu / ACCELeratoredu and MobileMakersEdu / MobileMakersStudio are offered in high schools, mxINCedu in middle schools, and freshINCedu in elementary schools.