LeadingAge Award

LeadingAge Awards Categories and Criteria

Award of Honor
The Award of Honor is the highest award LeadingAge bestows. It is presented to an individual who, through his or her body of work to the present day, has provided nationally significant, transformative leadership in aging services. The person selected for this award is a visionary leader and builder – someone who, quite apart from personal achievements, has made exceptional contributions to the field and raised the capacity of other individuals and organizations to advance the common good.
  • Individuals whose nonprofit organizations are LeadingAge members are eligible for this award.
  • Nominee’s leadership has been visionary and transformative while empowering constituencies and unifying people and organizations around a common purpose.
  • Nominee has made significant contributions to the nonprofit and philanthropic community and our field broadly, achieving impressive goals over a substantial period of time up to and including the present day.
  • Nominee’s own organization(s) have been transformed by his or her leadership, with positive results that have attracted wider recognition and imitation.
  • Nominee’s cumulative, ongoing achievements and positive influence on the aging services field are exemplary and merit national recognition.

Excellence in Not-for-Profit Leadership Award
This award recognizes organizations that are models of excellence in not-for-profit leadership and exemplify to the highest degree the seven key attributes that, according to Johns Hopkins University research*, characterize high-performing nonprofits and distinguish the sector from any other. The seven attributes are: Productive, Empowering, Effective, Enriching, Reliable, Responsive and Caring.
  • LeadingAge-member nonprofit organizations are eligible for this award.
  • The nominated organization exemplifies not-for-profit leadership and the seven key attributes above to an exceptional degree worthy of national recognition.
  • Nominee advances principles of responsible stewardship, financial integrity and philanthropy to ensure the organization’s future success in meeting community needs.
  • Nominee empowers its constituents and provides opportunities for civic engagement for the public good.
  • Nominee provides programs and services of the highest quality at reasonable cost.
  • Nominee has demonstrated its resiliency by fostering growth and change for the better in good times and challenging times.
  • Nominee’s accomplishments over time demonstrate significant contributions to the well-being of persons served and to the broader community.
*See What Do Nonprofits Stand For? Renewing the Nonprofit Value Commitment for Hopkins’ definitions of each of these attributes and ways high-performing nonprofits exhibit them.

Innovation Award
This award recognizes organizations for programs and services that are models of innovation and excellence and contribute significantly to the quality of life of the individuals served.
  • LeadingAge-member nonprofit organizations are eligible for this award.
  • The nominated organization shows willingness to embrace and/or create new ideas, take risks and honestly test the results.
  • Nominee can succinctly describe the concept of its innovation; that is, how it progressed from genesis to design and implementation.
  • Nominee can offer evidence of the value of the innovation; that is, its game-changing advantages over any alternatives, the relationship between its cost and benefits, and its economic desirability and utility.
  • Nominee can describe the delivery of its innovation; that is, how consumers have been engaged and how the innovation has been deployed, accepted and validated.
  • Nominee can articulate the actual and potential impact of the innovation; that is, its immediate, measurable impact and its longer-term outlook for sustainability and application by others.

Excellence in the Workplace Award
This award recognizes organizations that demonstrate effectiveness in fostering a healthy workplace culture and an environment that promotes the recruitment, retention and development of staff at all levels of the organization.
  • LeadingAge-member nonprofit organizations are eligible for this award.
  • The nominated organization demonstrates, in policy and practice, that investing in the staff and the workplace environment is critical to the delivery of quality care and services.
  • Nominee demonstrates innovation in its workforce development practices.
  • Nominee ensures that all levels of staff receive education, training and growth opportunities.
  • Nominee regularly assesses staff satisfaction and acts promptly on the results with positive outcomes.
  • Nominee shows noteworthy achievement in staff retention, as evidenced by longevity and professional growth of employees.

Hobart Jackson Diversity and Inclusion Award
This award recognizes an organization that has effected positive change through a significant commitment to diversity and inclusion. The award honors the late Hobart Jackson, an early officer of LeadingAge and founder of the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged.
  • LeadingAge-member nonprofit organizations are eligible for this award.
  • Nominee demonstrates positive change in advancing the interests and inclusion of a diverse population including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, language, culture, sexual orientation and differently abled.
  • Nominee takes action to identify and address systemic barriers to diversity and inclusion and models a learning, working and living environment that is inclusive and welcoming.
  • Nominee demonstrates significant commitment to diversity and inclusion with respect to residents, staff and the development of future leaders.
  • Nominee’s diversity and inclusion achievements are noteworthy and innovative, as evidenced by actions and outcomes.
  • Nominee’s practices offer lessons others can learn from to expand diversity and inclusion further in the aging services field.

Dr. Herbert Shore Outstanding Mentor Award
This award recognizes an individual who has enhanced the leadership development of others. Leadership development requires mentors to conceptualize, shape and guide learning experiences grounded in contemporary leadership theory and practice. LeadingAge and other organizations have formalized programs for this purpose. However, this award recognizes a person who has served with excellence in a career or volunteer position and is now making a difference in the leadership development of others.
  • Individuals whose nonprofit organizations are LeadingAge members are eligible for this award.
  • The mentor is nominated by individual(s) with close knowledge of his or her exceptional accomplishments in leadership development of others.
  • The nomination reflects that the mentor has facilitated his or her protégés’ participation in professional activities and leadership development opportunities both in the workplace and outside the workplace (i.e. regional, state, national organizations).
  • Nominee’s impact is demonstrated by testimonials from protégés.
  • The nomination offers examples of protégés’ accomplishments that have been influenced by the mentor.

Trusted Voice Award
This award recognizes a LeadingAge member organization (or nonprofit coalition in which member(s) participate) that has advanced the LeadingAge mission to be “the trusted voice for aging in America,” as evidenced by exceptional work to improve social, political and economic systems and make America a better place to grow old.
  • LeadingAge member organizations, individuals, or coalitions they lead or participate in, are eligible for this award.
  • Nominee’s actions demonstrate outstanding commitment to positive change in one or more of the following areas: affordable senior housing preservation and new construction; quality nursing home care; removal of barriers to Medicare/Medicaid; and financing of long-term services and supports.
  • Nominee has advocated and actively encouraged others to advocate on aging services issues with local, state and national policy makers.
  • Nominee has earned trust by voicing reliable information to consumers, policy makers and other influencers to further their understanding of aging services and garner support for positive change.
  • Nominee’s efforts are noteworthy and merit national recognition.

RWJF Award for Health Equity presented by LeadingAge
Through this award, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and LeadingAge seek to recognize an individual or team of two individuals who have successfully implemented a systems change approach within the past two years to reduce health disparities and move toward health equity. The award comes with a $3,000 prize (shared equally if winner is a two-person team). Please read the Official Rules for this award when applying.
  • Individuals or teams of two whose organizations are LeadingAge members are eligible for this award.
  • Nominee's work shows alignment with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's vision for building a Culture of Health and achieving health equity.
  • Nominee's work demonstrates success in changing systems that impact health outcomes in one or more of the following areas: access to quality care, education, employment, income, community environment, housing, and public safety.
  • Nominee's work has provided a solution to improve outcomes for groups most affected by health disparities.
  • Nominee has successfully implemented a systems change approach to reduce health disparities within the past two years.

Joan Anne McHugh Award for Leadership in Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Nursing
This award recognizes a Director of Nursing or Assistant Director of Nursing who creates a supportive and engaged workplace environment by displaying excellent leadership skills while managing nursing and frontline staff. The award winner will receive a $1,000 prize, to be used for professional development.
  • Nominee demonstrates creative and innovative approaches to leadership in LTSS nursing.
  • Nominee values and respects all levels of professional caregivers, and models and promotes this attitude among peers.
  • Nominee facilitates meaningful collaboration among interdisciplinary team members.
  • Nominee has created or implemented practices at the organization to improve the workplace environment and support nursing and frontline staff in areas such as staff empowerment, job orientation, training and career development, information sharing, and effective supervision and management support.
  • Nominee has been instrumental in improving the recruitment and retention of the nursing and frontline staff.
  • Nominee assists caregivers in understanding their relationship to the organization’s mission and goals.