Established in 2019 by the couple's Rybakov Foundation, the Rybakov Prize recognizes entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and impact investors working to transform education and support UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 — ensuring quality education for all. The inaugural awards were announced earlier this month, with the $1 million grand prize going to Abdul Abdulkerimov, who plans to scale his interdisciplinary modular education center in Khrug, Russia, to fifty locations over the next five years. In addition, prizes of $100,000 each were awarded to Boris Bulayev, co-founder of New York City-based Educate!, which works to transform schools in Africa, and Olga Zubkova, president of the Tetradka Druzhby Educational Development Association in Perm, Russia, whose educational programs for creating an inclusive environment are used in twenty-four countries.
Announced at the awards ceremony, the Rybakovs' $100 million commitment will support the annual prize and other efforts to help "as many places as possible where children would be able to grow up without fear and aggression and learn without coercion," said Ekaterina Rybakov, president of the Moscow-based foundation. Forbes estimates Igor Rybakov's net worth at $1.4 billion, which he built over twenty-two years at the helm of industrial materials producer Technonicol.
"Just five years ago, I was much more anxious about the future than I am now," said Ekaterina Rybakov. "We want to encourage people to be involved and responsible for the world in which we will live. For our common future. And our future, right now, is at the school desk."
(Photo credit: Rybakov Prize)