Awarding innovation: How to win $5K for your agency

Leaders who demonstrate innovation and passion for their organization and community could earn $5,000 for their agency. Nominations are now being accepted for the Evelyn Wright Moore Award for Innovation Excellence. 

The annual award honors Evelyn Wright Moore, who attended every Wipfli National Training Conference until her passing in 2017. Moore was president and CEO of Brazoria County Head Start Early Learning School in Angleton, Texas, and a lifelong champion of innovation, learning and community service. Through this award, she continues to inspire nonprofit leaders to serve and lead creatively.

The first recipient was Michael Patterson, chief information officer and co-founder of Arkansas Early Learning, a head start grantee organization. Patterson received a $2,500 award for his efforts to reduce staff turnover. He installed Google Minis in classrooms and used voice-assisted technology to reduce the paperwork burden on caregivers.

In 2019, the honor was given to Belva Dorsey, CEO of Enrichment Services Program, a community action agency based in Columbus, Georgia. Dorsey used technology to break down organizational silos. She created a unified database and intake process to cover the agency’s four main focus areas. The concept was later extended into a community-wide Poverty Reduction Coalition. Enrichment Services Program was given $2,000.

This year, the award has increased to $5,000.

Dorsey encourages applicants to think broadly about innovation. “It’s really important to me that people don’t limit “innovation” to technology. You can be innovative without technology being the main focus or the end product you create. You can be innovative in other ways, too,” she said.

The application for the 2020 award includes five brief questions and can be submitted online. Nominations will be accepted until Sept. 10.

To select a winner, a committee of Wipfli associates will review and score the nominations. The nomination with the highest aggregate score will be announced at the Opening Session of the Wipfli National Training Conference and the innovator will receive a $5,000 donation to their agency. Additional details and eligibility requirements are on the nomination webpage.

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