Annual Grinnell prize goes to minds behind medication redistribution program, hygienic toilets


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GRINNELL, Iowa — Innovators behind a medication redistribution program and hygienic toilets are the winners of a $100,000 prize given annually by Grinnell College to leaders in social justice, the school announced Wednesday.

Adam Kircher, Kiah Williams, Lindsay Stradley and Ani Vallabhaneni were selected among more than 200 nominees for the Grinnell Prize, the private liberal arts school said. The prize is given to leaders under 40 years old who come up with innovative ways to advance positive social change.

Kircher and Williams are co-founders and directors of SIRUM, a California-based organization which stands for Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine. The pair works with others to help redistribute surplus prescription medications to patients who cannot afford them. The medication is unopened and unexpired donated by manufacturers, wholesalers, hospitals and nursing homes.

Stradley and her husband, Vallabhaneni, are co-founders of Sanergy, which builds and franchises hygienic toilets in Nairobi, Kenya, where the organization is based. Waste from the toilets are collected and processed into organic, pathogen-free fertilizer that is then sold to local farmers. That helps keep waterways clean from contamination and disease.

"These are both examples of young people who saw a problem, came up with a creative solution and put in all of the time and energy to actually see it through," Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington said.

Each pair will receive $100,000. They'll also visit the campus in October for a week to give presentations, visit classrooms and hold one-on-one meetings with students.

Grinnell College is located about 50 miles east of Des Moines.

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