Council Award Programs


Every day, Council members stand at the forefront of innovation, exploring creative ways to advance the common good and finding solutions for complex issues. The Council on Foundations Awards Program was established to recognize excellence in philanthropy and to honor exemplary leaders for their dedication to uplift the sector.

The Council continued this legacy in 2017 with the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award and the Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications at the 2017 Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. The Robert Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking will be presented to Noah Atencio of Community First Foundation on October 10 at Carnegie Corporation of New York in New York City.

Robert Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking

The Scrivner Award, established in honor of the late Robert Winston Scrivner, honors an innovative grantmaker who, with a combination of vision, principle, and personal commitment, is making a critical difference in a creative way. The award recognizes an individual who demonstrates collaboration, risk, and innovation in the sector.

Noah Atencio2017 Honoree – Noah Atencio

The 2017 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking recipient is Noah Atencio, Vice President of Community Impact of Community First Foundation. He led the creation and promotion of The Innovators Society, which funds promising, but not yet proven, approaches to mental wellness. Atencio’s efforts led to measurable growth of five mental wellness innovations in the Denver area, and the creation of a 512-member network committed to accelerating new solutions for mental wellness.

Learn more about Noah Atencio and the Award

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award, philanthropy’s highest honor, celebrates a visionary leader who inspires and embodies the qualities that define excellence in philanthropy, including commitment, courage, entrepreneurship, and impact.

Ronald Richard2017 Honoree — Ronald Richard

The 2017 Distinguished Service Award recipient is Ronald B. Richard, President and CEO of The Cleveland Foundation. Throughout his time at The Cleveland Foundation, his efforts have mobilized and unified people and institutions within the community to produce tangible results to improve people’s lives and raise the capacity of others to advance the common good.

Learn more about Ronn Richard and the Award

Wilmer Shields Rich Award

The Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications spotlights the communications strategies of foundations and corporate giving programs. 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 award is bestowed on an organization that has creatively and effectively implemented strategic communications to further its mission and goals and has provided models of excellence to the field of philanthropy.

Citi Foundation Logo2017 Honoree — Citi Foundation

The 2017 Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications recipient is Citi Foundation, which implemented an integrated, multi-channel communications campaign to launch a new initiative in 2015 called Accelerating Pathways–a research effort to understand city-level policies and factors in 35 cities across the globe that create a strong and supportive environment for youth.

Learn more about Citi Foundation and the Award