The Wilmer Shields Rich Awards program has a long and distinguished history. Created in 1984 and named in honor of the first executive director of the National Council on Community Foundations (now the Council on Foundations), the awards program has encouraged foundations and corporate giving programs to produce communications products—annual reports, newsletters, and more recently, websites—to highlight the importance of their work and provide models of excellence to the field of philanthropy.
The Council and The Communications Network, a colleague and partner of the awards program, have recently redesigned the Wilmer Shields Rich Awards to spotlight foundation and corporate giving programs that effectively use communications strategies to achieve goals and further organizational missions. The awards program seeks to educate the philanthropic field about the importance of integrating communications into programs and mission. The Communications Network provides resources, guidance and leadership to advance the strategic practice of communications in philanthropy.
The Council on Foundations and The Communications Network are now seeking entries for the new Wilmer Shields Rich Awards program.
Although your communications efforts may have included the production of publications, websites, or videos, or involved events and activities such as media outreach or presentations, the selection of the winning foundations will not be based on those elements alone. Rather, the judges want to know how the deployment of those tactics as part of a larger strategy helped your foundation or organization achieve specific program or organizational goals.
Judges will evaluate entries based on the following criteria, which are detailed in the submission form:
Enter as many programs as you like but be sure to submit a separate form and fee for each entry. Mail two copies of each entry, two copies of each supporting materials, and a check for the fee ($85 per entry, made payable to the Council on Foundations) to:
Wilmer Shields Rich Awards
Council on Foundations
2121 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
The fee is $85 per entry. Please make checks payable to the Council on Foundations. This fee helps cover a portion of the program’s administrative expenses.
DEADLINE EXTENDED - All entries must be received by December 14, 2012. No extensions will be given.
The Council on Foundations and The Communications Network will assemble approximately 20 judges representative of the types of organizations eligible for this award—communicators from private, family, and community foundations and corporate giving programs—as well as distinguished professionals with additional expertise, including communications consultants and non-communications staff members from foundations, such as, but not limited to, program and evaluation officers.
All decisions are final and not subject to review. Awardees will be selected solely at the discretion of the judges. Three awards will be presented.
Winners will be announced at the 2013 Council on Foundations Annual Conference, April 7-9 in Chicago, Ill. and awardees’ work will be showcased at The Communications Network Annual Conference in Fall 2013.
The Wilmer Shields Rich Awards Program for Excellence in Communications is named after the influential woman who served as executive director of the National Council on Community Foundations (now the Council on Foundations) from 1957 to 1968. During her tenure, Rich championed public accountability by charitable foundations, urging them to effectively communicate their stewardship via publications and other forums. Rich achieved her own distinction by creating a comprehensive foundation directory in 1955, an accomplishment that was subsequently referred to as "the greatest invention since the Geiger counter for discovering valuable ore."
Today, the awards program named in her honor allows us to showcase the ways foundations and corporate giving programs effectively communicate their achievements in order to advance their grantmaking goals.