Excellent Emerging Organization Award

The 2016 Excellent Emerging Organization Award application is now available. You can download the PDF application, fill it in electronically, and save it to your computer using Adobe Reader. If you will be completing the application using a Mac device, please contact us for a Microsoft Word version of the application.

Prior year award applicants are encouraged to receive feedback before reapplying. Organizations that applied during the 2015 award cycle can schedule a feedback call with the Axelson Center via email through October 23. If you applied for the 2015 Excellent Emerging Organization Award, but do not seek feedback on your application, your 2016 Excellent Emerging Organization Award application will not be accepted.

2016 Intent to Apply

The Axelson Center encourages organizations interested in applying for the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence or the Excellent Emerging Organization Award submit an Intent to Apply form. Inclusion on this form is not regarded as a completed application and does not guarantee that your organization will receive an award. Also, failure to submit the Intent to Apply form does not preclude anyone from submitting a completed application. The form allows our award committee to better prepare for the review cycle.

The Award

The Excellent Emerging Organization Award was created to honor up-and-coming organizations, whose strength is apparent – even in the early stages of existence. We are looking for organizations that display sound management practices, innovation in programming and leadership capabilities. As an emerging organization we respect that you may not have all the policies and procedures in place, but demonstrating a commitment to excellence and learning is critical.

Eligible organizations are selected on an annual basis by an award committee comprised of Chicago-area nonprofit and community leaders. The winning organization is recognized at the Axelson Center's Annual Symposium for Nonprofit Professionals and Volunteers.


In order to be considered for the award, an applicant organization:

  • Must be a 501(c)3 organization
  • Must have a primary mission focus that benefits Chicago and/or its surrounding communities (includes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will County)
  • Must be in existence for 10 years or less
  • Must have an annual budget that does not exceed $750,000
  • Must have 10 or fewer full-time staff members

Award Benefits

The Excellent Emerging Organization Award aims to strengthen the capacity of the winning organization to improve services and efficiency. The selected nonprofit will receive a capacity-building package valued at over $25,000 and a $2,500 cash award. The 2015 EEO award was sponsored by MB Financial Bank. After an initial in-depth organizational assessment, a capacity building package will be customized to best meet the winning organization's needs.

Next Steps

Read about the 2015 Excellent Emerging Organization Award Winner or view the prior winners of the Excellent Emerging Organization Award and Alford-Axelson Award.

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