Robert Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking

The 2018 Winner

A head shot of Brennan Gould

The Council congratulates Brennan Gould, president and CEO of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, the 2018 winner of the Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking! 

Brennan was nominated for her work on the Heal Charlottesville Fund, a fund created after the white supremacist rally and attacks in Charlottesville in 2017. Although the impacts of the grants from the Fund have only begun to be seen, the grantmaking process under Brennan’s leadership was thoughtful and innovative, and focused on regional issues with racism and included the voices of people of color throughout the process.

About the Award

“Possessed of pioneering vision and courage, he characteristically pointed out the way, encouraged us to consider it and led us along its path...On his work, Bob frequently explored a cause before it was popular, deftly identified its most promising leaders and assisted in its earliest struggles…Providing early and profoundly effective support for emerging causes was the hallmark of his career.”
~Richard Chasin, Past President, Rockefeller Family Fund (1981–1992)

The Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking was established in 1984 as a tribute to the creative legacy of the late Robert Winston Scrivner, former staff associate of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and first executive director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, by a number of his friends and colleagues.

This prestigious award honors outstanding creativity. It is presented annually to a grantmaker who, with a combination of vision, principle, and personal commitment, is making a critical difference in a creative way and has demonstrated collaboration, risk, and innovation in the sector.

In accordance with the wishes of the donors, the Council on Foundations administers the award program. A selection committee carefully reviews each nomination and determines the award winner. The award, a specially-commissioned sculpture, is accompanied by a cash prize of $10,000 to be used for the recipient's ongoing professional enrichment and development in the field of grantmaking.

Through your nomination, you can acknowledge the work of a trustee, staff member, or colleague who has made a critical difference in a particularly creative way. 

Nomination Process

In order to nominate someone for the Robert W. Scrivner Award, nominators must:

  • Complete the online nomination form.
  • Upload a statement of endorsement from the grantmaker's CEO or board trustee in the supplementary materials section.

Award Criteria

The criteria for this award correspond closely to Robert Scrivner’s belief that philanthropy should address emerging societal issues and retain the flexibility to change directions as conditions warrant. Judges will evaluate entries based on the following:

  • Creativity: Does the highlighted achievement of the nominee represent a creative departure from past grantmaking practices? Did the nominee take an innovative and inspirational approach to grantmaking that is responsive to a critical need?
  • Risks and Commitment: Has the nominee demonstrated the ability and willingness to take risks by being flexible, nimble, courageous, and enterprising? Was the nominee committed to overcoming challenges and learning from inevitable setbacks/missteps that come with innovation and experimentation?
  • Impact/Outcomes: Has the nominee made a notable difference in the communities or causes served by his/her grantmaking? Has the nominee analyzed the results of her/his efforts and shared the outcomes so that future work can build upon these accomplishments?
  • Leadership: Has the nominee's work influenced or shaped the way that their institution or the field approaches or conceptualizes grantmaking in a particular area? Has the nominee built new networks or contributed to existing networks to help move the needle on critical issues?



Watch the 2017 Awards presentation to learn more about past winners and the criteria the panel is looking for.


Eligibility Requirements

All of the following requirements must be bet at the time of nomination:

  • Individual or organization must be nominated by a Council member, although Council membership is not required to win;
  • Previously nominated individuals may be resubmitted but must be accompanied by current nomination materials. Members of the Council's board of directors are not eligible for nomination.
  • Former board members must have completed their board service at least one year prior to their nomination.
  • Members of the individual award review committees are ineligible for the award they are reviewing. Awardees must be willing to share details of their program with the sector through Council communications channels.
  • Awardees are requested to be in attendance to physically receive their award. Nominees must be practicing grantmakers. 
  • All entries for the Scrivner Award must inlcude a letter of endorsement from a CEO or board trustee.

Benefits for Award Winners

  • The Council will honor award winners in a special ceremony each year.
  • The award winner will gain additional recognition among their peers through a profile on the Council's website and blog and potentially through Council-led programming. 
  • The Council will issue a press release, which the awardee's organization can use to announce the honor to their community, donors, and other stakeholders.
  • The award winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 to be used for the recipient's ongoing professional enrichment and development in the field of grantmaking.