Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible for the Holman Prize?
Applicants must be 18 years old as of the start date of their project. They must also submit an official proof of blindness in the semifinal phase. 
How much money is The Holman Prize?
We fund projects with budgets up to $25,000.
When is the deadline for the 2017 Holman Prize application?
Video pitches and the initial application were due submitted by February 28th, 2017 at 12pm PST. Stay tuned for information on the 2018 application cycle.
How do I apply?
The first thing you need to do is record a 90 second YouTube video pitching your idea. You'll submit it along with a brief written application.
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, costumes. Make us laugh. Make us cry. Be yourself.
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!
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.
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 I go over time on my 90 second pitch?
You will be eliminated from the competition.

What happens after the initial pitch and application?
Semifinalists will be announced. They will then be required to complete a request for proposal that includes a budget, references and in-depth questions about their project. There will be an additional interview for finalists. The single candidate who has the most popular YouTube video will be automatically entered into the final round as the Peoples' Choice Finalist. This person will still be responsible for completing the comprehensive application. Prizewinners will be announced on June 29th, 2017.
Can I “like” more than one video pitch?
Definitely! We closely monitor social media engagement, so if you want to have a say in the process, “like” as many videos and as often as you want. Like them on the blog, on YouTube, and share with your folks!
How do I become a semifinalist and a finalist?
Every candidate’s application will be reviewed by our committee and the best of the best will progress to the semifinalist round.
How often is the Holman Prize awarded?
The Holman Prize is an annual event; 2017 is the inaugural year.
If I’m not selected, can I apply with the same project next year?
Yes! But if you weren’t selected, consider how you could improve your project and pitch.
If I’m not selected, can I get feedback on my pitch for next time?
You may submit any questions to Because of the high volume of requests, it may take us up to 6 weeks to provide specific feedback. We do not offer individual feedback past the initial application phase.
Can two candidates apply together?
Yes, but your project will only receive up to $25,000, and every candidate must provide official proof of blindness.
Can I bring friends/family with me on my Holman excursion?
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.
How do I apply if I have no access to recording equipment, or don’t know how to use a video camera?
If obtaining recording equipment is a truly impossible, email with the subject line “Recording Accommodation.” Please note that recordings do not need to be fancy. We expect most people will submit a video shot and upload it using a smartphone.
Can the $25,000 include costs associated with training and preparation?
Can I apply if I don’t speak English?
Yes. However, the selection process will be conducted in English and you will need to provide your own means of translation.
If I’m deaf-blind, am I eligible? Is the cost of an aide included in the $25,000 or does LightHouse fund that separately?
Yes. 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 be given in one lump sum?
No. You will have a project manager at LightHouse that will assist you with all your financial and logistical needs during your excursion.

If I win, 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 nonprofit 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?
Winners have three major expectations in addition to simply completing their project. They are:
1. Attend pre-project orientation in San Francisco. All costs will be provided by LightHouse.
2. Thoroughly document your project, via audio, video, social media, photography, or another publishable media.
3. Return to San Francisco 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.
When do I need to complete my project?
You must complete your project in time to show a first draft of your presentation to LightHouse by October 1st, 2018.
Will LightHouse provide support in getting visas, etc.?
You will be responsible for your own visas and travel documents.
If my project costs more than $25,000 can I use the prize and pay for the rest by other means?
Yes. However, you must include all costs in your budget, including proof that you will have access to the additional funds by the time you leave for your excursion.
If my project costs less than $25,000 do I get to keep the difference?
No. The Holman Prize is financial backing for your project. You will not be issued a check; instead, you will work closely with your project manager to access your funds through LightHouse.
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.

If I am selected as a Holman Prize winner, will I have a specific point person at LightHouse who can answer my questions?
Yes. Each Holman Prizewinner will be given a LightHouse project manager. They will be available to you throughout the entire process.
Who is this Holman character? Why does LightHouse for the Blind have a prize named after him?
James Holman was the first blind person to circumnavigate the globe. Read more here.
What happens if extenuating circumstances make it impossible for me to complete my project if I’m chosen as a winner?
We’ll all be bummed! You’ll be more than welcome to apply again in the future.
What if my question wasn’t answered here?
Email us at