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Nominations for The Willoughby Award


The Willoughby Award honors visionary women leaders in philanthropy who, like Colleen S. Willoughby, have taken the field in exciting, new directions. 


When she founded the Washington Women’s Foundation (WaWF) in Seattle in 1995, Colleen sought to address a philanthropic landscape where women often lacked the confidence to invest broadly and boldly in issues important to them in their communities.  She sought to build a movement that provided women with seats at philanthropic board tables overwhelmingly led by men.  The model she developed and promoted through WaWF and affiliated organizations – collective giving grantmaking – changed the face of philanthropy.  Her groundbreaking approach centered on a collaborative approach to philanthropy and leadership.

This award will be given to one woman in the Philanos network whose experience and affiliation with her collective giving organization has inspired her to take her philanthropy efforts outside the organization, to directly change her community.  She will also be recognized for taking women's leadership in new directions, challenging the status quo – as Colleen did in 1995 – to inspire more women to find and amplify their voices today, tomorrow and the foreseeable future.  

Philanos will present this award at each national conference to a woman in our network whose experience with her collective giving organization has inspired her to be a visionary leader in philanthropy. In years when there is no in-person conference, The Willoughby Award will be presented virtually in the fall.

Award Eligibility

  • A current active member or staff member of a Philanos affiliate in good standing.  
  • A change-maker who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership through her work in the collective giving movement at the local or national level, and aligns with the Philanos vision and mission.
  • Nomination by the ED, President or Chair of an affiliate is accepted.
  • Self-nominations welcomed. Please identify an endorser to participate in the application process.  
  • Individual nominations only.
  • Current Philanos Board members are ineligible.
  • Anyone nominated in 2021 may be nominated again in 2022.


  • Nominations for the 2022 award are open January 1 - August 31, 2022.
  • Each nominator (or endorser if self-nominated) must submit the 1–2-page application answering the following 2 questions. Remember, the Award Steering Committee doesn't know your nominee and her accomplishments like you do so be descriptive.  
    • How has the nominee challenged the status quo in philanthropy and changed its direction and/or priorities?
    • Having been inspired by her experience and affiliation with her collective giving organization, how has the nominee taken her philanthropy efforts outside the organization, challenging the status quo in order to change her community? 
  • Nominators may also submit links to published articles, video or other media coverage of nominee with the application. 
  • Once a nomination is received an individual email will be sent to the nominee with a link for her to submit her response to the above 2 questions.
  • Nominations close August 31, 2022.  Only complete applications will be reviewed - responses from both Nominee and Nominator/Endorser.
  • Applications will be reviewed, three finalists will be chosen by the Award Steering Committee and notified prior to the award celebration.
  • The Willoughby Award will be presented virtually October 11, 2022.
    • During the virtual celebration, we will acknowledge all 3 finalists and announce the winner live.
    • 2022 Nominations are closed. 

    Philanos Commitments

    • $1,000 prize donated to the awardee’s nonprofit of choice
    • Press release for national coverage
    • Promote in the Philanos newsletter
    • Promote on Philanos website
    • Promote on Philanos social media

    Nominator’s Commitments

    • To promote Philanos’ October virtual event to other networks, including her affiliate members
    • Save the date and attend our virtual celebration - October 11, 2022 9am Pacific/12pm Eastern
    • If your nominee is a finalist, you will be asked to help facilitate her Zoom appearance, including a practice session prior to October 11, 2022

    Awardee’s Commitments

    • To acknowledge the award with a statement, video, or another platform of her choice
    • Continue to share your good work

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