Our community’s nonprofits lift our most vulnerable populations, endangered lands, and cultural institutions — and CVNL is here to lift them. Through the Heart Events, we help advance the sector by honoring the work of nonprofits and providing award recipients with funds so that they can take their impact to the next level.
Join CVNL and the community by honoring local leaders and their causes. Your nominations will amplify the stories of local nonprofits and the passionate individuals who dedicate their work to advancing our communities.
Here are the eight award categories with corresponding questions. The nomination form will have more detailed instructions. You can also visit the event page for tips on writing strong nominations! Questions? Contact Lauren Johnson, Event Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Award categories and questions
The Corporate Community Service Award will be presented to a business that has fostered and encouraged volunteerism and philanthropy among its employees.
- Briefly write a statement demonstrating the organization’s corporate commitment to volunteerism, community service or civic engagement. How does this align with the business’ culture, values and goals?
- Give examples of programs or initiatives that have encouraged or demonstrated volunteerism, community service or civic engagement (i.e. matching grants, recruitment and placing of volunteers, board service, recognition, or paid time off for service activities).
- Describe the measurable outcomes in Sonoma County that have resulted from programs or initiatives, including number of participants.
- Over the past 12 months, how has the nominee responded to the increased need of the community?
The Volunteer of the Year Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an individual (other than a board member) who has provided exemplary volunteer service to a Sonoma County nonprofit organization.
- Using examples from the past 12 months, describe how the nominee has shown dedication and commitment to the organization or its constituents.
- Illustrate how the nominee made a significant, positive impact on the organization or the community it serves during the past 12 months.
- Briefly state the organization’s mission and services offered. How long has the nominee volunteered for the organization, including the number of years served and type of service?
The Excellence in Board Leadership Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an exceptional volunteer member of a Sonoma County nonprofit board of directors.
- Using examples from the past 12 months, describe how the nominee has made a significant, positive and measurable impact on the organization.
- How has the nominee demonstrated leadership, dedication and exhibited best practices in nonprofit governance during the past 12 months?
- Describe how the nominee has supported a collaborative relationship with the executive director, constituents and/or the community.
- Briefly state the organization’s mission and services offered.
The Excellence in Innovation Award and $5,000 will be presented to an individual, organization or partnership that has developed new, creative and effective strategies for advancing solutions to critical issues in our community.
- Briefly state the nominee’s mission and services offered.
- How has the nominee elevated the field by advancing new approaches, concepts, initiatives, strategies and/or structures that inspire breakthrough thinking and serve as a model for others?
- Describe how the innovation reflects responsiveness, good management practices and effectiveness.
- What makes it innovative? Provide a specific example or story that demonstrates utilization of innovation in this practice.
- Explain how the level of excellence is assessed and measured: include emerging evidence or results if possible.
Up to five Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards of $1,000 each will be presented to full-time middle or high school students serving a Sonoma County nonprofit in the community, education or faith environment.
- Provide the school and grade of the nominee.
- Using examples from the past 12 months, illustrate how the nominee has made a significant, positive impact on the organization.
- Using examples from the past 12 months, describe how the nominee has demonstrated dedication and commitment to the organization, its constituents and/or the community.
- Briefly state the organization’s mission and services offered. How long has the nominee volunteered for the organization, including the number of hours served and type of service?
The Excellence in Leadership Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an executive director who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and whose vision has inspired meaningful and lasting change benefiting the organization and community.
- Briefly state the organization’s mission. Provide date of hire for the nominee. To qualify, the nominee must have held their current position for a minimum of three years.
- Describe the programs, strategies and services the nominee implemented to advance the mission of the organization. Include measurable outcomes.
- Describe any extraordinary challenges the nominee has overcome and how these challenges were addressed.
- What has the nominee done to ensure the organization’s sustainability?
- How has the nominee exemplified excellence in leadership and served as a role model among their peers and the community?
The Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence Award and $5,000 will be presented to an organization that has demonstrated exemplary service to their constituents.
- Briefly state the organization’s mission and services offered.
- What community need or problem is addressed? Explain how the organization benefits the constituents/community.
- Describe the measurable outputs and outcomes that have resulted from the program(s).
- How has the organization demonstrated excellence in programs, financial performance, board and volunteer involvement or resource development?
- Describe and provide examples of efforts that have been made to ensure organizational sustainability.
The Lifetime Achievement Award and $5,000 for the individual’s nonprofit(s) will be presented to an individual who has made a positive and notable difference during their career by significantly contributing to address a cause, issue or discipline. This is the only nomination category where additional material is accepted.
- Describe the nominee’s body of work and length of time working consistently, visibly, and persistently to address a cause, issue or discipline.
- How have they addressed or advanced the cause, issue or discipline? Provide up to 3 specific examples, with dates of occurrence, of the nominee’s significant contributions (i.e. strategy, teaching, program design, approaches, etc.).
- Describe the nominee’s leadership history, such as participation on committees or workgroups, with examples of contributions that addressed their cause, issue or discipline.
- How does the nominee’s story inspire others to higher standards or raise awareness in addressing a particular cause, issue or discipline?