Nonprofit Excellence Awards

Greenlights' Nonprofit Excellence Awards recognize the nonprofits and individuals driving social change through outstanding achievements impacting our communities. Selected by an independent panel, award winners are celebrated at Greenlights' Party for Good where they receive public accolades for their work and a $2,000 cash grant. The application process for the next Nonprofit Excellence Awards will begin in May, 2014.

Nonprofit Excellence Awards

2013 Award Winners

Nonprofit Executive of the Year Award

This award celebrates a nonprofit staff leader whose achievements have resulted in significant impact in the community.

Winner: Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Austin Pets Alive!
Ellen Jefferson has been the Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! since 2008. Dr. Jefferson has led the charge that earned Austin the title of the largest no-kill city in the United States, saving more than 6,000 animals in 2012 alone. Under her leadership at Austin Pets Alive!, numerous, innovative life-saving programs have been created, providing a replicable model for communities throughout the country. Her staff has said that during a time when a large no-kill community seemed like a myth, Dr. Jefferson and Austin Pets Alive! proved that with innovative thinking and progressive programming, it was possible.


Nonprofit of the Year Award

These awards recognize nonprofits that set a high standard for quality, and demonstrate effective strategy, execution and community impact.

Winner – Small category: I Live Here, I Give Here
In its first year, I Live Here, I Give Here's Amplify Austin program helped raise $2.8 million in one day for local nonprofits. I Live Here, I Give Here is committed to engaging the next generation of life-long givers. Along with his staff and board, Tom Spencer, Executive Director of I Live Here, I Give Here would like to thank the 20,000 people who stepped up to make a contribution through Amplify Austin.

Finalists – Small category

Winner – Medium category: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas has demonstrated a pattern of continuous distinction and outstanding quality of service. Brent Fields, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas credits their commitment to quality, and is proud of their board of directors, staff and volunteers for leading Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas to numerous local and national recognitions for their organizational performance.

Finalists – Medium category

Winner – Large category: Meals on Wheels and More
Austin has more Meals on Wheels volunteers than any other city in the nation, providing 3,500 meals each day for homebound individuals in our community. Through effective collaborations and high performing programs, Meals on Wheels demonstrates impact with 92% of clients reporting that Meals on Wheels has improved their quality of life. Dan Pruett, President & CEO of Meals on Wheels and More would like to thank their board and staff who are committed to service.

Finalists – Large category

Community Leader of the Year Award

This award honors an individual who has served our community through exemplary nonprofit board service and overall leadership.

Winner: Libby Malone
Inaugural award winner Elizabeth "Libby" Malone embodies the qualities of a true nonprofit champion. Our entire community has truly benefitted from her service as she continues to inspire emerging leaders to follow in her footsteps. "Libby's dedication to our community is truly remarkable, and this award is a way for Greenlights and the entire nonprofit community to thank her on behalf of the thousands of lives she has touched," said Matt Kouri, Greenlights' President and Executive Director. Read more in an article by Community Impact.

Nomination Guidelines

  • The nomination period closed on June 21, 2013. Nominations will reopen May 2014.
  • Awards are open to 501(c)(3) public charities that are in good financial standing and headquartered in the Travis, Caldwell, Hays, Bastrop, or Williamson counties in Texas.
  • Nominations may be submitted by a third party or by the nominee. Self nominations are encouraged!
  • The nomination form consists of:
    • Narrative (750 words maximum)
    • Letter of Recommendation (authored by someone NOT on the staff or board)
  • Finalists will be notified in advance in order to participate in filming a video for Party for Good.
  • Each finalist organization receives two complimentary tickets to Greenlights' Party for Good on November 12, 2013 to receive the award.

Award Categories

Community Leader of the Year

The Community Leader of the Year award honors an exceptional individual who has served the Central Texas community through exemplary nonprofit board service and overall community leadership. This individual is a true champion of the organization(s) they serve and promotes governance best practices by acting as ambassador, advocate, fundraiser and leader. This individual is also a proven leader outside of his/her primary organization, demonstrating the ability to work across traditional boundaries to advance community and social causes. (During the inaugural year of this award, the winner will be specially selected by our awards panel. We will open this category to outside nominations in future years.)

Nonprofit Executive of the Year

The Nonprofit Executive of the Year award celebrates a current nonprofit staff leader (CEO, Executive Director or equivalent) whose distinguished achievements leading a Central Texas nonprofit have truly "moved the needle" for the organization and have resulted in significant impact in the community. This individual should be seen by his/her peers as a true leader in the community as well. Winner's organization receives a $2,000 unrestricted cash award!

Nonprofit of the Year (3 awards)

  • Small Organization (annual operating budget under $500,000)
  • Medium Organization (annual operating budget between $500,000 and $2 million)
  • Large Organization (annual operating budget over $2 million)

The Nonprofit of the Year award is presented to three Central Texas nonprofits whose exceptional delivery of services to the community sets a high standard of quality and impact. While the organizations serve as exemplary models overall, particular focus may be given to success related, but not limited, to board excellence, programmatic evaluation and impact, fundraising, innovation, and collaboration with other entities. These organizations demonstrate ways in which they set the bar for effective nonprofit strategy, execution, and lasting community impact. Winning organizations receive a $2,000 unrestricted cash award!