Governor’s Volunteer Awards

Governor's Volunteer Awards

Nominations are open for the
2017 Governor’s Volunteer Awards

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Please click here to view the press release from the Office of the Governor.

To view photos from the 2016 Award Ceremony please click here.

Please click here to download the printable version of this page.

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Award category descriptions, scoring criteria, and required documentation can be found below. The opening date for the
2017 GVA nominations is Wednesday, February 1, 2017. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, March 31, 2017.

To submit a nomination please click here.

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2017 GVA Categories and Scoring Criteria



1. Governor’s Lone Star Achievement Award

This award recognizes the exemplary service of an individual who has volunteered for a minimum of 15 years. Lone Star Achievers are those rare individuals who recognize a community need and create new systems, programs, and/or processes to achieve positive change. Nominees inspire others to serve their cause through volunteering and philanthropy, often engaging cross sector partners for greater impact.

Performance: Did the nominee devote a minimum of 15 years to their cause? Can they demonstrate measurable impact? Did they forge partnerships and promote an ethic of service and volunteerism? Has the community/organization benefitted because of their work?

Sustainability: Has a lasting difference been made over the years because of the nominee’s commitment? Can the community/organization sustain the change into the future? Is there a succession plan beyond the involvement of the nominee?

2. First Lady’s Rising Star Award

The First Lady’s Rising Star nominee must be 18 years old or younger by October 20, 2017.

This award recognizes the extraordinary contributions of an individual 18 years or younger serving and inspiring his/her community. Nominees should demonstrate leadership, commitment to service and the ability to inspire others to serve. Rising Stars mobilize others to achieve measurable impact on critical issues within their communities. Nominees understand the importance of collaboration and cross-generational partnerships.

Performance: Did the nominee show creativity, leadership, perseverance and commitment through their efforts? Did the nominee bring about positive change within the community? Did they engage and influence others to join their cause?

Sustainability: Will the impact of the nominee’s work continue into the future? Are their efforts sustainable beyond their involvement?

3. Partners in Education Award

This award recognizes an individual or group that demonstrates measurable impact on a recognized need within a public, charter or parochial school(s). The Partner has implemented innovative and/or informed or evidence-based solutions to further educational goals for students. Nominees are committed to long term results and employ an evaluation component for continual learning and improvement of the program or intervention.

Performance: Can the nominee show that if not for their intervention, students would not have achieved specific results? Is there an evaluation mechanism to provide feedback to school and volunteer leadership? Is the intervention collaboratively engaging multiple partners for a more comprehensive solution?

Sustainability: Will the impact of the nominee’s work continue into the future? Are their efforts sustainable beyond their involvement? Can the program be replicated in other settings? Is there a succession plan for volunteers to ensure continuity of the program?

4. Service to Veterans Award

Nominees may include individuals or organizations that have designed program(s) or services to meet the needs of military-connected families or individuals. The exemplary service will show respect for the unique challenges of military-connected families and individuals. The awardee will demonstrate cross-sector engagement including significant input from those served.

Performance: Can the nominee show measurable impact and quantifiable results due to their efforts? Did they engage and influence others to join their cause? Are they providing a service to meet significant needs that otherwise would not be met?

Sustainability: Will the impact of the nominee’s work sustainable beyond their involvement? Is there an evaluation component to allow for continual learning and program improvement? Can the service or program be replicated in other communities?

5. Higher Education Community Impact Award

This award recognizes a college or university that supports and encourages civic engagement and volunteering as a core value. Nominees should demonstrate how students are engaged in intentional cross sector collaboration to address one or more identified needs within the community. The institution is considered a valuable partner in addressing community needs.

Performance: Does the institution engage in a community assessment to determine true need? Has the volunteering/service program had a measurable impact upon the community issue(s) it seeks to address? Are students and faculty intentional about addressing root causes rather than presenting needs?

Sustainability: Will the volunteering/service program continue when current participants graduate or move out of the specific program? Is institutional leadership committed to service as a core value?

6. Corporate Community Impact Award

This award recognizes a private sector entity, including small businesses, for implementing employee volunteer programs that have demonstrable community impact. Nominees have community service as a core value and business strategy. Nominees go beyond episodic volunteering and are committed to long term community engagement. Corporations or other for-profit, private sector entities/businesses are eligible for the Corporate Community Impact Award.

Performance: Has the corporate volunteering/service program had a measurable impact upon a specific community issue? Can the nominee show the impact of sustained volunteering as opposed to episodic volunteering?

Sustainability: Will the nominee’s volunteering/service program continue next year? Is the business entity committed to continuing the volunteer program beyond employee turnover? Is there an evaluation component to inform program effectiveness?

7. Community Leadership Award

This award recognizes an individual, group or organization for strengthening their community through intentional partnerships. Nominees understand the importance of service and developing connections between groups and individuals and forge collaborative solutions to meet local needs. They exhibit a dedication to their communities that inspires those around them to serve. Any individual, group of individuals, faith-based or community organization including civic groups can be nominated for this award.

Performance: Did the nominee leverage their skills and knowledge to bring together representatives from different community organizations to solve a local community issue? Did the solution address not only immediate needs but also root causes of the issues they were addressing?

Sustainability: Did the nominee help create relationships that will last beyond the current collaborative program? Could this model be utilized to solve other community challenges? Will the current program be continued beyond their involvement?

8. National Service “Make a Difference” Award

This award recognizes the exemplary achievement of an AmeriCorps or SeniorCorps member who is currently serving or has served the State of Texas in any of the following categories: AmeriCorps VISTA; AmeriCorps Texas; AmeriCorps National; National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC); or SeniorCorps. The volunteer/member has achieved extraordinary impact above and beyond the scope of their service requirement. The nominee ensures the sustainability of a program or a nonprofit organization by building service capacity, or by improving lives through direct service or capacity building. Members must have successfully completed or be on track to complete his/her term of service, minimum hours requirement, and all other service requirements to be eligible.

Performance: Does the nominee’s work focus on the organization’s long and short term needs? Have they involved other members of the community in their work? Can they quantify their success? Does the nominee clearly exhibit extraordinary service beyond the scope of their service requirement?

Sustainability: Can the program, initiative or recipients of service impacted by the nominee continue benefitting beyond the nominee’s involvement? Can the program, initiative or methodology be replicated elsewhere?
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Required Nomination Documents

Please note: If nomination documents are not submitted as requested, the nomination
may be subject to delay and/or omission from the review process.

  • Each nomination must include three (3) documents:
    • A one-page typed narrative (Microsoft Word or PDF) submitted and signed by the nominator, including information that supports the nomination
    • Two one-page letters of support (Microsoft Word or PDF) describing why the nominee should receive the award
      • Letters of support written by two (2) separate individuals including each supporter’s personal signature
      • Letters of support will not be accepted from a family member or the nominee or the nominator
  • Individuals and groups may be nominated in only one category
  • Volunteer service must have been performed in Texas serving primarily Texans
  • You have the OPTION to submit up to two (2) photographs with your initial submission. Only if your nominee is selected will you be required to submit two (2) high resolution photos of the nominee: one headshot and one photo showing the nominee in service.

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Past Award Winners

Please click here to view the 2016 Governor's Volunteer Award Winners.

Please click here to view the 2015 Governor's Volunteer Award Winners.

Please click here to view the 2014 Governor's Volunteer Award Winners.

Please click here to view the 2013 Governor's Volunteer Award Winners.