Council on Foundations to Award Citi Foundation with 2017 Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Council on Foundations today announced that it will present Citi Foundation with its 2017 Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications at its upcoming Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, on April 25.

Created in 1984 and named in honor of the first executive director of what is now known as the Council on Foundations, the Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications is bestowed upon an organization that has creatively and effectively used strategic communications to further its mission and goals. Citi Foundation will be honored with this award for its 2015 communications campaign to launch a new initiative called Accelerating Pathways, a research effort to understand city-level policies and factors in 35 cities across the globe that enable strong and supportive environments for youth.

“The Wilmer Shields Rich Award recognizes creative, tactical, and successful ways grantmakers communicate with the public in order to drive the philanthropic sector forward,” said Council on Foundations President and CEO Vikki Spruill. “Citi Foundation innovatively used traditional communications tactics to create a multifaceted campaign that serves as a model for other global corporate foundations.”

Citi Foundation’s integrated communications campaign for the Accelerating Pathways initiative cut across multiple communications channels and successfully reached key officials and pre-identified stakeholders, including researchers, advocates, and thought leaders. Their innovative efforts at communicating the necessity for cities to make investments in youth further established the Citi Foundation as a leader in enabling city progress and growth, particularly in the area of youth economic opportunities.

Some key highlights from the first month of launch include: 11 million views of the video that was part of the campaign; 12 million engagements on owned social content; engagement of 12 elected officials; 31,500 digital hub visits; and 88 percent penetration rate across earned media. The report also garnered international media coverage on MSNBC, Fast Company, Politico, US News & World Report, and more. Since 2015, the findings have resonated across the world at convenings with key stakeholders including in New York City, Toronto, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. 

The 2017 Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications will be presented at the Council’s Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, on Tuesday, April 25. To learn more, please visit


About the Council on Foundations

An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations (, founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.

About Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit