The Maggie Lena Walker Award recognizes and promotes the achievements of underrepresented women who have blazed new paths in their industries, demonstrated a commitment to economically empowering those in their communities and are ultimately creating a more inclusive, dynamic and equal world.

At a time when Black people in the United States were denied opportunities for wealth creation, Maggie Lena Walker made it her life’s mission to advocate for economic independence in her community. Her story is one of perseverance, dedication and bravery. In this spirit, we are honoring Walker and her contributions through an award program that recognizes inspiring women who are leading and advancing economic empowerment for underserved communities today.

- Dan Schulman, president and CEO, PayPal

PayPal established the annual award program in 2020 as an extension of its mission to foster an inclusive economy and builds on the company’s $535 million commitment to racial equity and closing the racial wealth gap.

Submissions are currently closed and will reopen in Summer 2022.

Spotlighting Exemplary Leaders

The award recognizes women who are part of underrepresented minority groups defined in the U.S. as African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders and those of two or more races that include one of the above.

Maggie Lena Walker Achievement Award:

This award celebrates individuals who, through their career and accomplishments, have economically empowered those in their community. The winner will be awarded $50,000.

Read the full criteria here.

Maggie Lena Walker Emerging Leader Award:

This award recognizes “rising star” leaders who are blazing new paths in their industry and creating opportunities for advancement in their communities. Three winners will be awarded $20,000 each.

Read the full criteria here.

Award Criteria

Achievement Award
Individual in mid- to late-stages of their career (suggested 15+ years of work experience).
Person has dedicated their career and work to economic empowerment.
Nominee could be a pioneer in their field.
Nominees are not limited to a certain industry – i.e., could be a business leader, teacher, nonprofit leader, etc.
Individual’s career or impact should showcase work that has broken down barriers for underserved communities and exemplify PayPal’s vision of an inclusive economy.

Award Criteria

Emerging Leader Award
Individuals in the early- to mid-stage of their career (suggested 1-14 years of work experience).
Person has dedicated their career and work to economic empowerment.
Nominees could be focused on building or leading an organization or initiative helping create economic opportunity.
Nominees could be a trailblazing entrepreneur or business leades building next-generation brands/companies.
Nominees are not limited to a certain industry – i.e., could be a business leader, teacher, nonprofit leader, etc.
Individual’s career or impact should showcase work that has broken down barriers for underserved communities and exemplify PayPal’s vision of an inclusive economy.

Awardees from each category receive access to resources and mentorship from the PayPal community, as well as a monetary reward to put towards their work and vision. While the award will initially have a U.S. focus, in the coming years, we plan to expand the award to our global community.

PayPal Maggie Lenna Walker Award

Who was Maggie Lena Walker?

Maggie Lena Walker was the first Black woman to charter a bank and serve as its president in the United States. She was also an educator, civil rights activist and entrepreneur deeply committed to uplifting her community.

Walker’s many contributions to society were remarkable and are a testament to the essential role women of color play in community building and advancing progress.


Learn More About Maggie

The family is ecstatic that PayPal is choosing to honor the contributions of women in underrepresented communities through Grandma Walker’s legacy. It’s critical that we highlight the stories of women that often go hidden in history and use them to inspire the next generation of women leaders.

- Liza Mickens, great-great-granddaughter of Maggie Lena Walker and co-founder of Vote Equality

Selection Committee

Awardees will be nominated and selected by a panel that includes members of the PayPal community, and members of civil rights organizations, nonprofits and academic institutions. The Selection Committee for the 2021 Maggie Lena Walker Award included:

Rodney Adkins
Board of Directors, PayPal

Peggy Alford
Executive Vice President, Global Sales, PayPal

Kim Jenkins
Global Head, Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Belonging, PayPal

Ellen McGirt
Senior Editor, Fortune Magazine

Liza Mickens
Co-founder, Vote Equality; Great-great-granddaughter of Maggie Lena Walker

Rosita Najmi
Global Head, Social Innovation, PayPal

Franz Paasche
Senior Vice President, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, PayPal

Louise Pentland
Former Executive Vice President, Chief Business Affairs & Legal Officer, PayPal

Dan Schulman
President and CEO, PayPal

Living our Mission and Values

The Maggie Lena Walker Award program is one way PayPal is taking action for racial equity and social justice. Learn more about our $535 million commitment designed to help address economic inequality.

Learn More About Our Commitment
PayPal team image

Questions? Check out this FAQ.

View Frequently Asked Questions

If you require further information, please contact mlwaward@paypal.com.