ESC Awards Program
Excellence in Community Partner Engagement Award 2024


The Community Partner Excellence Award recognizes outstanding community partners whose work alongside a university partner has documented impacts on focused communities. Recognizing reciprocal partnerships is at the heart of the field, and this award recognizes community partners whose collaborative work with a university has led to improving the quality of life in a tangible way.


Nominees can be from nonprofit, public agencies (federal or tribal governments, state governments, or local government, which includes school districts or other special purpose districts), and non-governmental organizations. They should be engaged in a partnership with a university from any accredited institution of higher education.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. A complete description is presented of the partner organization, including their history and mission.
  2. The history of the partnership and how it has evolved over time is presented, including how the community and academic partners identified principles for partnership and decision-making,
  3. Past and current projects and their impacts are described, including the impact of the partnership on the capacity of the community partner
  4. Plans for the future of partnership, including anticipated future changes and possible next steps are documented.
  5. The application presents lessons learned from and for community partners who partner or would like to with higher education institutions.

In acknowledging that the field of community engagement scholarship is broad, partnerships can be on a variety of impact areas, such as environmental justice (e.g., water, environmental contamination, conservation), criminal justice, transportation, higher education access, K-12 educational improvement, public health and wellbeing, youth political and social engagement, economic justice and/or workforce development, child care, older adult care, emergency medical services, and so on.

Submission Packet

The submission should include:

  • Organization overview (500 words): Describe the community partner and their role in the community, including history, mission, and services provided.
  • History of the partnership (500 words): Describe the history of the partnership with the university or college partner
  • Projects and impacts (400 words): Describe the project or projects that emerged from the partnership and their impact for the target community and for the capacity of the community partner
  • Future of partnership (400 words): Describe future plans that the college or university has with the community partner.
  • Impact of partnership (400 words): Provide lessons learned through this partnership and community partner that can inform others who would like to develop a university-community partnersip.

Submission Deadline and Recognition Process

Nominations for 2024 recognitions are due by March 29, 2024, and are to be submitted electronically via the ESC online portal.

Materials are reviewed by a selection committee identified by the ESC Awards Committee Chair. The ESC Awards Committee and Board receive and approve committee recommendations. All nominees will be notified of their status in May 2024.

Annual Award

$1,000; plaque; one conference registration fee waived