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John W. Gardner Leadership Award
John W. Gardner

The John W. Gardner Leadership Award was established in 1985 to honor outstanding Americans who exemplify the leadership and the ideals of John W. Gardner (1912-2002), American statesman and founding chair of Independent Sector.

The John W. Gardner Leadership Award recognizes living Americans working in or with the nonprofit community whose leadership has been transformative and who have mobilized and unified people, institutions, or causes that improve people’s lives. The award honors visionaries who have empowered constituencies, strengthened participation, and inspired movements.

Award recipients are builders -- people who, quite apart from personal achievements, have raised the capacity of others to advance the common good. Their leadership has either had national or international impact or, if at the regional level, has attracted wide recognition and imitation.

Hear from 2013 Gardner Award recipient Constance L. "Connie" Rice on how to effect large-scale change:

About the Life of John W. Gardner

John W. Gardner was the ultimate builder of ideas and unifier of people and causes. He was an active and distinguished participant in America's educational, philanthropic, and political life.
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About the Nomination Process

Learn more about the John W. Gardner Award and the Nomination Criteria. Click here to find out more about the Nomination Process

2013 Recipient: Connie Rice

Connie Rice Gardner Award

Constance L. "Connie" Rice, the 2013 Gardner Award Recipient, is the co-founder of Advancement Project, a public policy organization that works to engineer large-scale, systems change to remedy inequality, expand opportunity, and open paths to upward mobility. She is pictured here with Irene Hirano Inouye, president of the U.S.-Japan Council, who presented the award on behalf of Bernard Milano, president and trustee of the KPMG Foundation and chair of John W. Gardner Leadership Award Committee. Read more about Connie and hear her thoughts on nonprofit leadership to learn more about her outstanding and innovative role in changing the national field of violence prevention and fighting for civil rights.

Past Recipients

Past recipients of the John W. Gardner Leadership Award include Jeff Skoll, Bill Drayton, General Colin and Alma Powell, and Geoffrey Canada. See them all

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