Call for Entries for Awards Program Honoring Excellence in Foundation Communications


Do you have a powerful story to tell about how your foundation has used communications to advance your mission or achieve its organizational goals?

If so, you are encouraged to enter the newly revamped Wilmer Shields Rich Awards program that honors excellence in foundation communications.  Entries are due December 14.

Under the revised program, a partnership of The Communications Network and the Council on Foundations, up to three organizations will be selected in April 2013 for effectively using communications to help their organizations achieve their goals and further their missions.

In past years, the Wilmer Shields Rich Awards honored foundations and corporate giving programs for exemplary communications products—annual reports, newsletters, and more recently, websites.

The Network and the Council have re-imagined the program to showcase the benefits to foundations that integrate strategic communications into their operations to achieve greater impact and effectiveness.

Full details about the awards program are here and an online application form is here. Applicants are asked to provide information about a particular project and the role communications played in advancing their organization’s work and what was achieved as a result.

Among the questions asked are:

  • Why did your organization undertake this work? What were you trying to accomplish?
  • Why did you think integrating communications would be essential to achieving your organizational or program goals?
  • How did this effort fit into the overall communications strategy for your program and/or organization’s mission? Was it an extension of ongoing work or was it a standalone activity?
  • What did you accomplish and do you think you would have achieved the same results without strategic communications?

Entries, which are due by Decembe 14, will be reviewed by a panel of approximately 20 judges drawn from private, family, and community foundations and corporate giving program as well as communications consultants and non-communications staff members from foundations, such as program and evaluation officers. Judges will evaluate entries on the overall accomplishments and how the work of the winning organization serves as a model for the overall field of philanthropy. To give equal weight to all organizations that enter, judges will put an emphasis on the thoughtfulness of ideas and quality execution, not the size or scope of the work.

For questions about the awards program, contact Evelyn Gibson, the Council’s director of awards programs, at 703-879-0691 or, or Bruce Trachtenberg, executive director, Communications Network, 212-731-2268 or

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