Dr. Wylie Jordan has been part of the Foundation’s community of givers nearly since its founding in 1977. In fact, he was a board member for Recording for the Blind – one of the first organizations to receive a grant from ACF. Over the years, he became increasingly impressed with the volunteers on the Austin Community Foundation board and other nonprofit boards in the community and began to think about how volunteerism should be recognized.
In 1999, Dr. Jordan suggested the creation of the Jordan Award to recognize individual(s) for volunteerism by means of a grant to the organization in which they volunteered. Additionally, each year’s winner was presented with an engraved silver tray honoring their dedicated and hard work. Recipients were encouraged to keep the tray on display in their home for the next year, which served as a conversation starter about ACF and giving back to the community.
The award has evolved over the years. Today, we invite nonprofits to apply for the Jordan Award, rather than nominating individuals. Foundation staff comes together to review the applicants and discusses how each organization effectively leverages the time and talents of volunteers to affect positive change in our community. Staff recommends the top candidates to the Foundation’s Board Chair, who then selects the winning recipient. Each year, one organization is granted funds through the Jordan Award for their strategic or innovative use of volunteers.
“The review process really helped me think about how I can volunteer more,” says Lexi Bruner, donor relations coordinator at Austin Community Foundation. “I’ve been wanting to get more involved in the community and reading through applications really gave me a sense of the diverse volunteer programming our city has to offer.”
Two decades later, we can’t help but be amazed knowing the spirit of the Jordan Award is continuing to inspire the next generation of philanthropists.