Validate outstanding achievement in organizational management

The Advancement In Management (AIM) Award is presented to a Washington, DC, Maryland, or Virginia nonprofit organization for outstanding achievement in organizational management. The process highlights key competencies, promotes sustainable best practices, and recognizes innovation that leads to excellence in nonprofit management.

The AIM Award will hit its 25th year in 2020. In preparation for this notable milestone, the Center has decided not to present this year, but to focus on refreshing and enhancing the award, ensuring it is still timely and valuable to the sector.

Some of the areas we’ll reexamine include: Criteria—is it still relevant? Application—is it intuitive and clear? Selection process—is it objective, thorough, effective? Are the benefits meaningful? Is there a better way to share outcomes and discoveries?

We’ll also take this time to follow up with past winners to see how they have utilized the grant, how the award has made a difference to them, and the impact on their organizations. We’re planning some fun events and educational sessions, so stay tuned!

About the AIM Award Competition:

Why should I compete?

At the Center, we believe the benefits of competing are well worth your time and effort, but don’t take our word for it. Hear what past participants have to say.

“Being in the day-to-day weeds, it isn’t always easy to recognize the big picture. Putting this application together gave us a moment to reflect, appreciate, and recognize how robust our operations are (and what is still left to do!), and the effort that went into getting to this place." —DC Scores

“The AIM award is a helpful stamp of approval, especially relevant for DC funders. We recently received a $930,000 investment from Venture Philanthropy Partners, and our management practices and use of data drove their interest in our organization.” — Higher Achievement

“The AIM Award helped to recognize Sitar’s exceptional management practice while setting a high bar for future staff and leadership. The award continues to provide valuable external and independent recognition and is often leveraged in areas of funding requests to demonstrate Sitar's capacity and strong commitment to being a valued nonprofit partner.” —Sitar Arts Center

What can my organization win?
One winner receives a $20,000 cash grant, national recognition and sector exposure. Up to two honorable mentions each receive a $2,500 grant award and feedback from a selection committee of seasoned experts.
Who is eligible?

The competition is open to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization—regardless of budget size or scope of programming—based in the Washington metropolitan area. The Washington metropolitan area is defined as:

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland:Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, St. Mary's and Prince George's counties.
  • Virginia
Is there a fee to apply?

AIM Award application is free to Center members. The fee for Nonmembers is $150.

How do I apply?

The competition incorporates a three-part judging process that includes a part one written application and fact sheet, an invitation-only part two application, and site visits for finalists.

To learn more about the award process and application details download the Application Packet.

Who has won in the past?
What best practices and innovative solutions emerged this year?
As a Center member, you can access successes, discoveries, tools and templates shared by AIM competition participants in the Resource Center.
How can I join the selection committee?
The selection committee is a group of local leaders in the nonprofit, foundation, corporate and government sectors. The committee’s purpose is to read, review and evaluate all applications for the award. Commitment includes in-person attendance at a minimum of three committee meetings, two site visits and the award ceremony. Participation on the selection committee provides an excellent opportunity to make new connections and see first hand exceptional practices in action. To learn more or express interest in joining the selection committee, contact Taylor Strange, COO.

Thank you to our 2018 selection committee:

Sylvia Ramirez Benatti, Campus Executive Director, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
Marcus Braxton, Chief Operating Officer, Capital Partners for Education
Octavia Stanton Caldwell, Principal Consultant, ROC Consultants
Susan Fiske Koehler, Principal & Founder, 501(C)onsulting Solutions
Michael Freedman, CPA, Founding Partner, Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman
Melissa Grannetino, Engagement Specialist, Foundation Center
Tylar Guerrieri, Banking Officer, M&T Bank
Bethany Henderson, Executive Director, DC SCORES
Kaitlyn Hudgins, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
James Lum, CFO, National Community
Brett Norton, Nonprofit Professional
Kelly Reid, Chief Operating Officer, Atlas Corps
Peter Simpson, Adjunct Faculty, World Learning
Amir Eyal, Managing Principal and CEO, Mylestone Plans