King Khalid Award

Celebrating excellence

The King Khalid Award honours people, organisations and initiatives solving complex social challenges with creativity and skill, and empowers others to follow in their footsteps.


For more than a decade, the award has recognised and celebrated excellence in the fields of corporate sustainability, nonprofit management, and social innovation within Saudi Arabia. Its spotlight has not only encouraged the rise of sustainable business practices, but also illuminated the vital role played by individual changemakers and the nonprofit sector in transforming Saudi society for the better.

The award is both a champion and driver of social change. All applicants that enter the award benefit from expert, tailored analysis of their organisational capabilities, to identify strengths and shortfalls and examine how to improve their outcomes. This bespoke scorecard is paired with learning opportunities and specialist support, which together empowers organisations to innovate, improve and evolve. King Khalid Award winners describe the application process as transformational, and providing a critical blueprint for their growth and development.

The award remains the only one of its kind within the Middle East to actively support candidates in scaling their organisational efficiency and capacity, to better serve their communities and meet sustainability goals.


Award categories

The King Khalid Award is a platform for celebrating and accelerating social change within Saudi Arabia. We select awardees that are delivering proven impact within the following categories:

King Khalid Development Partners Award

We believe that every individual has the potential to change the world for the better. With the King Khalid Development Partners Award, we celebrate people and groups who, through their work, are making a material difference to the lives of people in Saudi Arabia.

All applicants benefit from an expert review of their social initiative, and access to specialist training to shape, improve and scale their work. Group finalists also have the opportunity to take part in the King Khalid Award’s prestigious Daim showcase, to meet with, and market their initiative to handpicked companies and potential investors.

Winners are celebrated at the prestigious King Khalid Award Gala, which is held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and receive a monetary prize.

Entries are judged by their community impact, sustainability, originality and potential for growth. The category is open to all residents of Saudi Arabia.

Learn more and apply

King Khalid Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Organisations

The King Khalid Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Organisations recognises outstanding management practices that help nonprofits to better serve their communities and mission. The award aims to teach and encourage innovative and effective management practices, and to help cultivate a diverse network of nonprofit organisations dedicated to impactful change.

Entrants receive a free, 360-review of their management practices from our team of experts, and gain a roadmap for future growth and development. They also gain access to our capacity-building workshops, to further refine and develop their management expertise. Candidates are also encouraged to join our community of leading nonprofits, where they can benefit from networking with inspiring and effective peer organisations, and learn from industry best practices.

Winners receive a monetary prize, and are celebrated at the prestigious King Khalid Award Gala, which is held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

This category is open to all nonprofit organisations registered with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development for at least three years.

Learn more and apply

King Khalid Sustainability Award

The King Khalid Sustainability Award honours inspiring enterprises that have taken sustainability to the heart of their business model, and used it to unlock economic growth.

The award recognises enterprises that have created a competitive advantage through the innovative use of sustainable business practices and, in doing so, have helped spur Saudi Arabia’s social, economic or environmental progress.

Entrants benefit from a detailed evaluation of their sustainability initiatives, scored to reflect how their core business is meeting social, environmental economic challenges. The scoring reflects global best practices, and is a sophisticated, objective analysis of each company’s sustainability status, which can be used to drive ongoing development.

Entrants also have the opportunity to join ongoing training session and workshops, to share insights with their peers, and to learn from best practices in sustainable development. Our goal is to support companies in gaining a competitive edge through sustainability, and to power their economic growth and that of the wider kingdom.

Winners are celebrated at the King Khalid Award Gala, which is held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

This category is open to all private and semi-private enterprises operating within Saudi Arabia, regardless of sector or industry.

Learn more and apply

Explore how the King Khalid Award helped these organisations to grow

Closing the disability employment gap

As someone living with a disability, Ahmed Al Maliki knows first-hand the challenges of finding work.

“I was competing with thousands of able-bodied people in a climate of high unemployment,” he says. “Part of the problem was that employers were unaware of our skills.”

The introduction of a national policy that encouraged the employment of people with disabilities gave Maliki the impetus to start Wasata, a special needs recruitment website, in 2011. The free portal enables employers and candidates to connect, and find roles that match jobseekers’ skills.

The benefits are three-fold: “It's countering unemployment, reintegrating marginalised people back into society, and raising awareness at the same time,” Maliki explains.

In its first eight years of operations, Wasata has found jobs for around 2,500 people. Winning second place in the King Khalid Award in 2015 helped expand Wasata’s work and profile significantly, bringing new interest and support for the platform.

“The grant funding meant we could carry out further development of the website,” explains Maliki. “But most importantly, it boosted employers’ confidence in the initiative. It actually marked the real launch of the website.”

King Khalid Development Partners Award 2015, winner, second place

Supporting social unity through families

Driven by the principle that strong family units form the bedrock of a cohesive, productive society, Medina-based nonprofit Osrati works to help build a stable family life for young Saudi couples.

As well as offering marriage training, Osrati operates an introduction services to prospective couples, and financial assistance to young men to offset the high cost of marriage and starting a new home. Some 26,774 young men and women have so far passed through its programmes, says Abdul Razzak Makhdoum, Osrati’s executive director.

“Osrati is one of the most active organisations in family development in Saudi Arabia,” he explains. “We were the first organisation to come up with the idea of an initiative that qualified young people for marriage, and to propose it to the government.”

Participation in the King Khalid Awards gave them a valuable opportunity for self-assessment, as well as recognition from the broader nonprofit sector.

“It’s hard to quantify the value of winning,” says Makhdoum. “We gained immense professional knowledge from the process, which is priceless."

King Khalid Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Organisations 2016, winner, second place

Building sustainability in business

Special Direction is a business consultancy with sizable social impact: over the past year, more than 40,000 young Saudis have participated in their programmes, which offer customised business solutions, HR services and training to help companies sharpen their corporate governance and grow their social responsibility programmes.

“Each year, we offer 250 initiatives through 20 annual programmes,” says Dr Shadi Khawandanah, chairman of the board. “The programmes are profit-focused and allow companies to improve their sustainability while maximising the profit for shareholders.”

Recognition by the King Khalid Award has been key to their success, and to growing their customer base.

“The award has positively impacted our reputation, simply because it’s the largest and most prestigious award in its field,” he says.

It has also raised awareness of the importance of sustainability policies to corporate success.

“We've seen a lot of companies from various sectors – and SMEs in particular – that no longer exist because they were focused on short-term, not long-term goals,” says Khawandanah.

“Today, people increasingly recognise that sustainability is critical for corporate survival and growth.”

King Khalid Sustainability Award 2016, winner, second place