Michele Prichard, director of common agenda at the Liberty Hill Foundation, received the Distinguished Service Award at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Los Angeles. The award presentation took place during the opening plenary session on Sunday, April 29.
The Distinguished Service Award, (formerly known as the Distinguished Grantmaker Award) is the Council’s premier award. It honors an exceptional individual who embodies the intellect, integrity, leadership, and accomplishments that define absolute excellence in the field of philanthropy. Kathryn E. Merchant, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Community Foundation, won the award in 2011.
“Michele’s commitment to the communities that Liberty Hill serves exemplifies the work that is strengthening and driving the philanthropic sector toward the future,” said Jeff Clarke, the Council’s interim president and CEO. “Her dedication to the field of philanthropy and her leadership within the Los Angeles community continues to impact and enhance the lives of many people.”
Prichard began working with the Liberty Hill Foundation as a volunteer in 1982. As executive director from 1989 to 1997, she helped create new grant programs addressing poverty, racial justice, and environmental health in Los Angeles. Today, Liberty Hill is considered one of the most innovative public foundations in the country.
“I deeply appreciate receiving the Council on Foundations’ Distinguished Service Award,” Prichard said. “What is most meaningful to me is that this honor is a validation and celebration of the core ideas I have worked long and hard to champion within philanthropy for 30 years: investment in community organizing to advance change, not charity; and engaging community leaders and residents as critical partners in foundation decision making.”
Prichard serves on the board of the Venice Community Housing Corporation and the steering committee of GREEN LA. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed her to the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation in 2011. She has served as a senior fellow in the UCLA School of Public Affairs since 2007.