Recognition for outstanding nonprofit leadership
Awarded by the Center since 2005 and sponsored by GRF CPAs & Advisors since 2007, the EXCEL Award honors exceptional nonprofit chief executives in our region. The competition recognizes achievement in the areas of innovation, motivation, community building, ethical integrity and strategic leadership.
The call for 2020 nominations is now open!
Let's shine the light on leaders who have inspired us with extraordinary commitment, ingenuity and vision, especially during recent challenges. Download the Nomination Packet and get started today!
About the EXCEL Award
At the Center, we believe the benefits of the EXCEL Award are well worth the time and effort of nomination, but don’t take our word for it. Hear what past participants have to say.
The EXCEL Award is an inspiration for us. The leadership characteristics that it recognizes and encourages are fundamental to the health, vitality and sustained impact of our sector. The Center membership and professional development funds that accompany this honor will enable us to continue to challenge ourselves, improving our skills and positioning us even better to lead CCH into its next phase.—Community Coalition for Haiti
Being highlighted by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement is a tremendous honor for us. The metro area is filled with amazing organizations doing unbelievably important work, and for us being on this platform is a great achievement.—Community Foodworks
The EXCEL Award is a mark of distinction. Such public recognition acknowledges our efforts as an institution and assures us – as well as our donors and partners — that we are on the right path, doing good work.—International Center for Research on Women
This award significantly contributes to our efforts to keep our team members informed of advancements taking place in the college access and success space by attending conferences and participating in programs that inform our work of providing support to low income, first generation college students.—College Success Foundation
“Hope for Henry is transforming from a high-performing local organization to one expanding to meet the needs of our country’s sickest kids. This transformation requires new skills. The opportunities afforded through the EXCEL award will give us the opportunity to elevate our skills and achieve our ambitious goals.” —HOPE for Henry Foundation
The competition is open to any chief executive of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the Greater Washington area with an annual budget under $10 million.
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.
Board members, staff members, volunteers, clients and community members may nominate chief executives.
One nominee is selected as the EXCEL winner and is given access to a $10,000 professional development account. The winner’s organization receives a $2,000 cash award to support professional development programs for its staff.
Up to two nominees may be selected as honorable mention recipients. Each of their organizations receives a $3,000 award to support professional development programs for the candidate and/or staff.
There is no fee to submit a nomination for the EXCEL Award.
The competition incorporates a three-part judging process that includes a written nomination and fact sheet, an invitation-only interview, and site visits for finalists.
To learn more about the nomination process download the Nomination Packet.
Meet the winners of the past few years:
Bethany Rubin Henderson, Executive Director, DC SCORES
Sarah Degnan Kambou, President, International Center for Research on Women
Jo-Ann Wallace, President & CEO, National Legal Aid & Defender Association
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 and Special Programs.