Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for the Holman Prize

Who is eligible for the Holman Prize?
How much money does the Holman Prize award?
How often is the Holman Prize awarded?
When is the deadline for applying for the 2018 Holman Prize?
What kinds of projects does the Holman Prize fund or NOT fund?
How do I apply for the Holman Prize?

Video Pitch

How do I make my pitch video compelling?
Will my video be eliminated if I don’t describe what is happening in the video itself (see above)?
How do I submit a YouTube video?
What if my video is longer than 90 seconds?
If I’m not selected as a prizewinner, can I apply again?
If I’m not selected as a winner, can I get feedback on my application and/or proposal?
Can two candidates apply together?
Can I bring friends/family with me while I am completing my project?
Can the $25,000 include costs associated with training and preparation for my project?
Can I apply if I’m not a proficient English speaker?
If I’m deaf-blind, am I eligible for the Holman Prize? Is the cost of an aide included in the $25,000 or does LightHouse fund that separately?
Will the prize money be given in one lump sum?
Will the Holman Prize interfere with SSI, social security or other government benefits?
Other than completing my project, what else am I responsible for if I win?
Will LightHouse help me procure visas, etc.?
If my project costs more than $25,000, can I supplement my budget with other means?
If my project costs less than $25,000, do I get to keep the difference?
Is the prize need-based or merit-based? Do you consider a person’s financial background?

Selection Process

What happens after I submit my initial application and video? How long do i have to sit around, wringing my hands and waiting breathlessly for an answer?
What’s this People’s Choice Finalist all about?
Can I “like” more than one video pitch?
Can I upload my video before the date that applications open to start racking up “likes”?

Odds and Ends

Who is this Holman character? Why does LightHouse for the Blind have a prize named after him? Did he bribe you?
What if my question wasn’t answered here?

 

Applying for the Holman Prize


Who is eligible for the Holman Prize?

Applicants must be 18 years old as of October 1st, 2018.  They must also be able to submit official documentation of blindness (during the semifinalist phase of the competition). Current LightHouse staff members and board members (as well as their immediate families) are not eligible for the Holman Prize; nor are previous winners.

How much money does the Holman Prize award?

The prize funds projects with budgets up to $25,000.

How often is the Holman Prize awarded?

The Holman Prize is awarded annually; 2017 was our inaugural year.

When is the deadline for applying for the 2018 Holman Prize?

Video pitches, along with the initial application, are due by Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at noon Pacific Standard Time. No exceptions will be made for late applications.

During the semifinalist round of the competition, candidates must demonstrate, in their written proposals, that their projects meet the following criteria: 

  • The project takes a full year to complete (including planning, training and documentation).
  • The Holman Prize must constitute at least 75% of the total funding for your project.
  • The Prize funds projects with a clear, singular goal.
  • Although winners are NOT required to travel to parts unknown, their project should take them out of their comfort zone.
  • The Prize does NOT fund any type of tuition.
  • The Prize does NOT fund projects in which the applicant is traveling or working primarily with a group of sighted people. It does, however, fund projects that put blind and low vision participants in leadership roles as much as is appropriate.


How do I apply for the Holman Prize?

The first thing you need to do is read this entire FAQ page! Then, record a 90-second YouTube video pitching your idea for a Holman Prize project. You’ll submit it along with a brief written application that will be made available when applications open in January.

Video Pitch


How do I make my pitch video compelling?

Be yourself. Rehearse your pitch before recording it. Be funny. Be memorable. Be yourself. Feel free to use props, friends, sound effects and costumes. Make us laugh. Make us cry. Be yourself. Tell us who you are, but focus on your Holman project.

Try to record videos in landscape view (sideways) rather than portrait view. Face toward windows and light sources instead of away from them. Don’t hide your face!

We suggest that you take a few seconds at the beginning of your video to describe where the video is taking place, and what you are doing; don’t forget, our judges are blind and want to have as much information about you as possible.

Remember:  we are judging applicants on the strength of their ideas, not on the production quality of their videos. So, if you hire a Hollywood film crew to make your video, don’t assume that you’re guaranteed a spot in the semifinalist round. Even if Beyoncé makes an appearance.

For some inspiration, check out the videos from our 2017 Holman Finalists here.

Will my video be eliminated if I don’t describe what is happening in the video itself (see above)?

No, but we strongly recommend that you do so.

How do I submit a YouTube video?

You can upload YouTube videos via your web browser or mobile device.

The easiest way we’ve found for blind users is to use an iPhone with VoiceOver on.

Instructions:

  1. Record your video in the Camera app (we recommend turning Speech off – by using a three-finger triple tap – for this portion because it will interfere with the quality of your recording).
  2. Tap the “Share” button.
  3. Tap “Upload to YouTube.”
  4. Enter your YouTube account information.
  5. Give your project a catchy name and use it as the title of your YouTube video.
  6. Be sure to tag your video with the #holmanprize hashtag.
  7. Once the video is uploaded, copy the URL. You will need to paste it into your application.


What if my video is longer than 90 seconds?

You will be eliminated from the competition.

If I’m not selected as a prizewinner, can I apply again?

Yes! We suggest that you consider how you could improve your project and pitch when you apply again. You are also welcome to apply with a completely different idea.

If I’m not selected as a winner, can I get feedback on my application and/or project proposal?

We will not provide individual feedback on any element of the application.

Can two candidates apply together?

Yes, but your project will only receive up to $25,000 in total, and both candidates must provide official proof of blindness.

Can I bring friends/family with me while I am completing my project?

It depends on the project and their role in it. You’ll have an opportunity in the proposal to explain all of these details. Projects that may put children in perilous situations will not be considered.

Can the $25,000 include costs associated with training and preparation for my project?

Yes.

Can I apply if I’m not a proficient English speaker?

Unfortunately no.

If I’m deaf-blind, am I eligible for the Holman Prize? Is the cost of an aide included in the $25,000 or does LightHouse fund that separately?

Costs for an aid are considered on a project-by-project basis. We urge you to be budget conscious, but deaf-blind contestants will not be turned away due to extra costs related to accessibility.

Will the prize money be given in one lump sum?

No. You will collaborate with a project manager at LightHouse who will help facilitate all your financial and logistical needs.

Will the Holman Prize interfere with SSI, social security or other government benefits?

We hope not, but make no guarantees. The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a non-profit charity organization, and we are working to ensure that those who are benefit-eligible will not have their status compromised because of the Holman Prize.

Other than completing my project, what else am I responsible for if I win?

  1. Attending Holman Welcome Week in San Francisco in September 2018. All costs will be provided by LightHouse.
  2. Returning to San Francisco in winter 2019 for the annual Holman Prize Gala to make a presentation about your experience, and to pass the torch to the next round of Holman Prizewinners. Again, all costs will be provided by LightHouse.


Will LightHouse help me procure visas, etc.?

You will be responsible for your own visas and travel documents.

If my project costs more than $25,000, can I supplement my budget with other means?

Yes. That being said, the Holman Prize supports projects that are funded primarily by the prize itself; if the $25,000 is only a small part of your budget, your project will not be accepted. Furthermore, you must include all costs in your budget, including proof that you will have access to the additional funds by the time you begin your project.

If my project costs less than $25,000, do I get to keep the difference?

No. But nice try (smiles).

Is the prize need-based or merit-based? Do you consider a person’s financial background?

While not necessarily based on need, the spirit of the Holman Prize is to give someone a chance to do something they never would have been able to do otherwise.

Selection Process


What happens after I submit my initial application and video? How long do i have to sit around, wringing my hands and waiting breathlessly for an answer?

First, we will create a blog post for all qualifying candidates on the Holman Prize Candidates’ Blog. Your post will appear roughly a week after you submit your application.

Semifinalists will be announced in March 2018 and will then complete an extensive written proposal that includes a budget, tentative itinerary, references and more. The proposals will be due in April.

In May, a select group of semifinalists will be selected as finalists for the Holman Prize. Prizewinners will be announced in July 2018.

What’s this People’s Choice Finalist all about?

The single candidate whose YouTube video has the most “likes” will be automatically entered into the Finalist round as the People’s Choice Finalist.

An important note: this person will still be responsible for meeting all qualifying criteria for the prize, and for completing the comprehensive application.

Can I “like” more than one video pitch?

Certainly! We welcome you to “like” as many videos and as often as you want.

Can I upload my video before the date that applications open to start racking up “likes”?

Yes, but videos uploaded before January 16th may be deemed ineligible for the People’s Choice Finalist award.

Odds and Ends


Who is this Holman character? Why does LightHouse for the Blind have a prize named after him? Did he bribe you?

James Holman was the first blind person to circumnavigate the globe, and did so in the 1820s. Read more about him here.

What if my question wasn’t answered here?

Email Max Levenson, our Holman Prize Coordinator, at mlevenson@lighthouse-sf.org.