Monday, April 1, 2013
Arlington, VA

The Council on Foundations today announced the 2013 recipients of the Wilmer Shields Rich Awards. A partnership of the Council and The Communications Network, the awards recognize and encourage excellence in communications by foundations and corporate giving programs, and showcase organizations that are effectively using communications to achieve their goals and further their mission.

In past years, the Wilmer Shields Rich Awards honored foundations and corporate giving programs for exemplary communications products—annual reports, newsletters, and, more recently, websites. The Council and the Network have reimagined the program to showcase foundations that integrate communications into their strategic operations to achieve greater impact. The four award recipients were selected from a highly competitive field of entries:

“The Wilmer Shields Rich Award program recognizes those who excel at integrating communications into the important work they do to advance the common good,” said Vikki Spruill, the Council’s president and CEO. “These foundations continue to be leaders in the field, and their ambitious work helps us tell philanthropy’s stories of positive impact to both lawmakers and the public.”

“It was gratifying to see that many foundations recognize that communications is an essential element of effective philanthropy,” said Bruce S. Trachtenberg, executive director of The Communications Network and chair of the Wilmer Shields Rich Awards Selection Task Force. “While each entrant offered a different rationale for why strategic communications matters, one summed it up best by saying communications work is not something that is set apart from the foundation’s program activities but is instead an integral part of the overall work of the organization.”

The award is named after the 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.


The Council on Foundations (, formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include more than 1,700 independent, operating, community, public and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council’s mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.

The Communications Network ( is a national nonprofit membership organization that supports foundations and nonprofits to improve lives through the power of smart communications.