The Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Prize 2021

Applications & nominations for 2021 have closed. Come back next year!

Tech to Shape a Better Future for Humanity

The Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Prize recognizes changemakers at the intersection of technology and humanity who are shaping a better future. Prize recipients are striving to meet the grand challenges of our digital age, including:

  • How to use technology to address the world’s most urgent challenges and opportunities in areas such as environmental sustainability, economic development, or health equity;

  • How to ethically develop and apply technology for the greater good and advance diversity, inclusion, equity, and access; 

  • How to understand what it means to be human in an ever-changing digital world.

Patrick J. McGovern was a visionary business leader who was years ahead of his time in recognizing the potential of technology to democratize information, improve the human condition, and advance social good. To honor his legacy and celebrate changemakers dedicated to examining, interpreting, developing, or applying technology in service to humanity, CHM (Computer History Museum), generously supported by the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, is launching the Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Prize.

Recipients of the Patrick J. McGovern Prize understand that technology is not a silver bullet but a tool with enormous potential when aligned with our societal needs. They do not only know what needs to get done, but they do something about it.

— Steffi Czerny, Selection Committee

Prize Recipients

2021 is the inaugural year of the prize at CHM. Three remarkable people will be recognized:

  • Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Luminary. One luminary will be honored for significant impact in creating a better future for humanity through technology. The recipient will be named as a distinguished “Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Luminary at CHM.”
  • Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Changemaker. Two recipients will be named as a “Patrick J. McGovern Changemaker at CHM” and each will be awarded a $50,000 honorarium to advance their proposed project. Changemakers will receive special access to the Museum’s unparalleled collection, in-house experts, and extensive network to help advance their work. They will also have the option for an eight-month residency (virtual or onsite, as conditions allow) at CHM, from May through December 2021.

The Museum’s programs and content will showcase the Changemakers and their projects to amplify their impact and inspire others around the globe. The Museum will chronicle the progress of their projects during 2021 and their work will become part of the permanent collection, accessible to all.

Explore CHM’s past and ongoing work to showcase tech in service to humanity.

Selection Committee

The Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Prize Selection Committee is a distinguished group of global experts and leaders across industries and sectors, representing technology, business and economics, academia and education, media and the arts, philanthropy and social impact. The selection committee will nominate and select the Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Luminary. The committee will also review applications for and select the Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Changemakers.

Learn more about the selection committee.

Prize Guidelines

Anyone in any field pursuing creative and meaningful projects that examine, interpret, develop, or apply technology to shape a better future for humanity may apply or be nominated to apply. Examples include leaders in nonprofits, government, and private firms; technologists working for social change; researchers and scholars; filmmakers, artists, and other creatives; and community leaders and educators of all kinds.

Changemakers will be selected for their past contributions, the potential impact of their proposed project, and their future potential to examine, interpret, develop, or apply technology to transform our world for the better. Projects chosen will be wide-ranging in their audience, medium, and target impact. For example:  a pathbreaking publication on AI and ethics; a suite of online digital education resources for girls in developing countries to advance STEAM knowledge and skills; or a documentary film on innovation in technology and sustainability.

To learn more and apply or nominate a potential applicant, see the prize guidelines.


Prize applications and nominations will be accepted between January 15 and March 28, 2021. On April 28, 2021, CHM will announce the inaugural Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Luminary and Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Changemakers.

Patrick J. McGovern and the Computer History Museum

In 1982, when the first incarnation of CHM was established in Boston as a public non-profit called The Computer Museum, Pat McGovern was an original member of the 18-person board, alongside museum cofounders Gordon and Gwen Bell and other IT pioneers, such as Bob Noyce, inventor of the integrated circuit and Intel cofounder. Pat was a generous supporter and active and enthusiastic participant in the Museum’s programs.

Learn more about the relationship between Pat McGovern and CHM.


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