The award is given on behalf of The Opus Prize Foundation that recognises faith-based humanitarian work. The Opus Prize Foundation partners with Catholic universities to recognise people and organisations doing "very difficult work in very difficult places," said Michael Herzog, an English professor of Gonzaga.
Gollapalli Israel, the Indian pre-finalist is a Baptist priest who leads the Janodayam Social Education Centre in Tamil Nadu and provides education and human rights services to members of the Dalits. The other pre-finalists are US based Joe Maier and Sister Teresa Fitzgerald.
Joe Maier, co-founded the Human Development Foundation Mercy Centre in Bangkok's largest slum and Sister Teresa Fitzgerald is the founder of Hour Children in New York. The prize winner will be announced on October 16.
"This is the 11th year the Opus Prize Foundation will award a USD 1 million grant, said Don Neureuther, executive director Opus Prize Foundation. The foundation is "very hands-off" about how each university does that, said Gerald Rauenhorst founder of Opus Group.
"It's all about inspiring students. We do a lot at Gonzaga with service learning and social justice. It is really easy for us to send kids to a soup kitchen. It is hard to teach how to start an NGO in Chennai, India", he added.