The GPA Pioneer Award recognizes the visionary contributions in grant making by those grant-makers that have impacted their community and the field of grantsmanship. Specifically, it recognizes a grant-maker that has impacted and improved the way grant professionals do their work.
RFP Nomination Process Opens May 1, 2014!
Two awards will be given out – a local award restricted to a grant-maker headquartered within the service area of the chapter hosting the GPA National Conference AND a national award open to any grant-maker, regardless of location. The awards will be presented at the annual GPA National Conference, October 15-18 in Portland, OR.
Only GPA members in good standing may submit a nomination.
Submit your nomination by the deadline and receive an entry to win one of two GPA Memberships* (value $209)!
Once the nomination process opens, you will be able to click the button below to nominate a grant-maker.
*Can be applied towards a membership renewal.
2013 Pioneer Award Recipients
The winner of the 2013 GPA Local Pioneer Award:
Maryland Association of Community Foundations
Maryland is home to 14 community foundations, each serving a region of Maryland in unique ways. Together, as the Maryland Community
Foundations Association (MCFA), we speak with one voice in promoting philanthropy to benefit towns, cities and rural areas across the state. Community Foundations specialize in helping individuals, families and businesses plan and carry out their charitable giving; and in building endowments to serve their regions’ changing needs.
Community foundations build and strengthen philanthropy—and thus, communities—by making it simple and cost-efficient for individuals, families and businesses to establish philanthropic funds and to learn about and invest in the needs of their communities.
Community foundations are permanent sources of philanthropic dollars; they specialize in building civic endowments to serve their regions’ changing needs. Community foundations serving Maryland hold a total of more than $760 million in philanthropic assets, and distributed about $108 million in grants this past year to nonprofit organizations in their communities, addressing a wide range of issues, from education to aging, from arts to the environment. We represent the collective philanthropy of hundreds of donors, including corporate, philanthropic and civic leaders.
Nominated by: Maryland Chapter of GPA
The winner of the 2013 GPA National Pioneer Award:
The Nevada Women's Philanthropy (NWP) is a member driven, pooled fund, large impact grant making organization established to address the needs of the greater Las Vegas community. Our membership consists of philanthropically motivated women, united by a powerful desire to address emerging issues facing our community in the areas of arts, education, environment, social services, and health.
The NWP was modeled after the Everychild Foundation in Los Angeles, in the belief that a group of women can come together and award grants to make a serious difference in the community. All NWP funds are derived from member dues in lieu of fundraising events which can often be costly and require many hours of planning.
Nominated by: Magda Hirsch, GPA Member
2012 Pioneer Award Recipients
The winner of the 2012 GPA Local Pioneer Award:
Ball Brothers Foundation, Muncie, IN
Pictured: Debbie DiVirgilio, GPA President (left) and Beverly Santicola (right)
Ball Brothers Foundation was nominated by Beverly Santicola because of their broad spectrum support in the community, their tendency to work collaboratively, and the fact that they reward professionalism with professional treatment and generous financial support.
Ball Brothers Foundation expends enormous effort to connect applicants, grantees, community resources and national networks and treats all grantees and prospective grantees as equals. Once an organization is funded, the Foundation counts them as one of the family and frequently calls upon them for information about issues specific to their expertise, for feedback on issues that will ultimately affect the grantee and as a cheerleader for them as they move forward with their own action plan. Ball Brothers Foundation also hosts grantees and prospective grantees in lunchtime meetings across specific interest areas as an opportunity to exchange information, and encourage partnerships among non-profit partners.
The winner of the 2012 GPA National Pioneer Award:
Bohemian Foundation, Fort Collins, CO
The Bohemian Foundation was nominated by Stacey Poncelow of the Poudre School District in Fort Collins, Colorado for their collaborative efforts and for the way they truly care about their community. Bohemian was founded in 2001 by Pat Stryker (Stryker Medical) to continue her family's tradition of making the world a better place. As their namesakes did, these Bohemians believe in the worth of every individual and the values of imagination, creativity, innovation and spirit. Their grants are made by involving the citizens of the community in actively working together to serve others.
The Bohemian Foundation listens to the recipients of their funds and is not afraid to modify plans or grants to truly meet needs. The Foundation engages its grantees in on-going conversations to make certain their dollars are having the greatest impact and their staff regularly calls Poudre School District's Grants Coordinator to make sure that all students are having exceptional experiences. The Bohemian Foundation has evolved over its 11 years, showing strong leadership for its specific areas of interest and growing the community of givers. The Foundation seeks to involve citizens in the care and improvement of the community and move citizens into active involvement on pressing community issues, as described in the previous answer about its work on homelessness. The Foundation also seeks to build a community that is creative, innovative, and fun.
2011 Pioneer Award Recipients
The winner of the 2011 GPA Local Pioneer Award:
The Nell J. Redfield Foundation, Reno, NV
Pictured: Kendall Inskip (right) accepted the award from
Linda Lysakowski (left)
The Nell J. Redfield Foundation was nominated by Bristlecone Family Resources because of their broad spectrum support in the community, their tendency to form a partnership with nonprofits, and the fact that they go above and beyond in helping grantees achieve success.
The Nell J. Redfield Foundation has played the role of both an individual leader and a strong collaborative supporter in the Nevada community. The essence of the Redfield Foundation is its belief in the community and its desire to support those organizations that provide much-needed services. The Redfield Foundation has demonstrated these attributes by supporting educational programs, social programs, the arts, and healthcare. These are but a few of the many programs and projects the foundation has supported throughout the nearly three decades it has dedicated to philanthropy.
The winner of the 2011 GPA National Pioneer Award:
United Way of Western Connecticut, Danbury, CT
Pictured: Michael Johnston from the United Way of Western Connecticut (right)
and Sarah Sabin from the GPA Pioneer Award Committee
The United Way of Western Connecticut was nominated by the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation in Wichita, Kansas for the development of the Take Five to Give 5 Campaign. This campaign was created to directly support the increased needs of nonprofits in the Danbury, Connecticut community suffering in the current economy. The United Way of Western Connecticut created a new and innovative approach to fundraising that relied on an online campaign and interactive media such as email, Facebook, Twitter and blog, making them a pioneer in their use of technology. The Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation saw this and worked with the CEO of the United Way of Western Connecticut to adapt their successful model for the federal grant programs they oversee. In this way, the United Way of Western Connecticut has impacted and improved the way grant professionals do their work.
For more information about United Way of Western Connecticut, please contact Michael Johnston, CEO at: (203)792-5330 x222 or at: