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Nomination Information

About the Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership

The Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership honors the spirit and life's work of Dorothy Richardson, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania resident who refused to allow her neighborhood to succumb to the long-term effects of decay and lack of public and private investment in the mid-1960s. Dorothy's vision of how to revitalize and preserve her neighborhood resulted, more than 40 years ago, in a new kind of community/government/private sector partnership, the first "Neighborhood Housing Services." Dorothy's success changed the nation's approach to urban redevelopment and spawned the new field of community-based development; the model of partnership she pioneered became the foundation for today's NeighborWorks America network.

First awarded by NeighborWorks America in 1992, the Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership was created to recognize and support resident and community leaders across the NeighborWorks network for the essential role our organizations play in strengthening communities. Selection is based on a nominee's proven ability to share a vision, stay focused and determined, inspire their neighbors, and bring people together to create positive change.

This is a highly inclusive award and we encourage a broad diversity of nominees. Please consider nominating youth and young adults.

Those selected to receive the award and their nominating organization receive:

  • Scholarship and travel costs to attend the Community Leadership Institute where they will be recognized at a special awards ceremony. 
  • A $5,000 grant to the nominating organization to support resident leadership development. 
  • Support from NeighborWorks America to tell the story and promote the impact of the awardee and resident leaders in community development.
Contact our Community Building and Engagement staff with any specific questions about your intended nominee's eligibility prior to submission. Once nominations are submitted, we are unable to accept revisions or substitutions. Submit applications by April 5

Goals of the Dorothy Richardson Resident Leadership Award

  • Celebrate the legacy of Dorothy Richardson and honor individuals who exemplify her approach to community leadership.
  • ‚ÄčRecognize, honor, and promote the accomplishments of resident leaders whose work has resulted in positive change in their communities.
  • Highlight leadership efforts that engage a diverse group of community residents.
  • Inspire other residents to step forward in their communities. 
  • Highlight the role community based nonprofit organizations play in working closely with resident leaders to create vibrant and strong neighborhoods.
  • Underscore the vital role played by resident engagement and leadership in the NeighborWorks network's approach to community development.

Eligibility criteria

  • The individual nominee must be nominated by a NeighborWorks organization and must live and/or work in a community served by the NeighborWorks organization.
  • The individual must have demonstrated commitment to a specific project, initiative or issue area with a tangible outcome within the last 1-5 years.
  • Individuals currently employed by NeighborWorks organizations are ineligible.
  • Individuals currently serving as elected officials or running for elected office are ineligible. 
  • This is an individual award; although an important criteria for selection is the individual's collaborative work with others, please be aware that group submissions are not eligible for consideration.

Selection criteria

Resident leaders are selected for this award based on the impact of their work and on the extent to which they exemplify the following core characteristics. 
  • Vision — A creative thinker able to see a different future and inspire others to action.
  • Community Oriented — Prioritizes community needs; takes action on issues that affect groups of community members.
  • Commitment — Takes strategic risks and refuses to give up in the face of setbacks or obstacles in order to move issues forward. 
  • Partnership — Builds effective partnerships with other residents, the sponsoring NeighborWorks organization and representatives from nonprofit, public and/or private sectors.