Celebrate the efforts and contributions of your board

Announcing the results of our 2020 award competition!

Our winning nominees made it through each phase of the selection process, rising to the top in a very competitive pool of candidates.

    Congratulations to our 2020 Winner 
... and to our Honorable Mention  


Click on their logos to read what this award means to them, what they’ve learned through the application process, and what advice they have on striving for excellence in board leadership.

The Center extends a special thanks to our presenting sponsor CohnReznick for their generous support, to BoardSource for their helpful support and to our hard working Selection Committee for volunteering many hours of their time.

Coming to a digital screen near you!

To celebrate and learn from their achievements, the Center is planning a 4-part series of Video Shorts. The series will include interviews with leaders from these award-winning organizations. Hear their insights, challenges and what steps they took to transition into highly successful nonprofit boards.

Scheduled for release this summer.
Watch your email for dates and details!

About the Board Leadership Award Competition

With support and input from area experts, the Center created this award in 2011 to recognize and spotlight outstanding leadership from nonprofit Boards of Directors in the Greater Washington area.

The award recognizes the role boards play in building and sustaining successful organizations. By executing their fiduciary and leadership responsibilities, board members ensure their organization is well led, well supported and responsive to the people and communities it serves.

The Center’s 2020 Board Leadership Award is presented by

with additional support from

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.

“Putting this application together gave us a moment to reflect, appreciate, and recognize how robust our Board operations are now, the effort that went into getting to this place, what is still left to do, and - more specifically - what tasks the Board must undertake to continue its growth into the future. All of these practices documented in one place is a great resource for our current Board and will undoubtedly be extremely valuable to new Board members.” —DC Scores

“The Board Leadership Award provides recognition for the outstanding commitment, passion and leadership that the board members and staff have provided to the YWCA over the last few years. It has allowed the board and staff to better understand the requirements for successful board leadership, innovation and partnership and to see the important role they play in the sustainability of the organization.” —YWCA National Capital Area

"Having gone through the [award application] process, we have learned that we want this review to be part of the way we conduct business moving forward. In this way, review of our management processes now reflects the culture that the management team itself helped to create: one of transparency, openness to critique, and tireless dedication to continually improving. The Board Leadership Award will help our donors realize that their investment with A-SPAN is well-managed, and well-placed.” — Arlington Street People's Assistance Network

The competition is open to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in the Washington metropolitan area. The Washington metropolitan area is defined as:

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland: Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.
  • Virginia

Two-thirds of the Board members must have served on the Board a minimum of one year as of the application due date. All examples and explanations used in the nomination must have occurred during the Executive Director or Board members’ tenure, and must not exceed five years past. Internal nominations must be made in cooperation with the current Executive Director. External nominations must be made in cooperation with the Board Chair and the Executive Director.

Winners of this award must wait a minimum of three years to re-apply.

One winner is selected and will receive a $10,000 grant, community exposure and training opportunities for the organizations’ board and executives from BoardSource and the Center’s Training Hub.

Up to two organizations are also selected as honorable mention recipients and receive a $1,000 grant each, as well as communication exposure and training opportunities for their board members and executives from the Center’s Training Hub.

The Board Leadership Award nomination fee for nonmembers is $150.  There is no charge for Center members.

The competition incorporates a three-part judging process that includes a part one written application and fact sheet, a part two interview for semi-finalists, and a part three site visit for finalists.

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

As a Center member, you can access successful practices shared by the Board Leadership competition participants in the members-only Resource Center.

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 Sean Sweeney, Director of Education & Special Programs.