Denise Stennis, a community leader, mentor, and co-founder of Breakin' It Down.

The Denise Stennis Awards

The Denise Stennis Awards pays tribute to the memory of Denise Stennis, a community leader, mentor, friend and a founding member of the Breakin' It Down conference.  Well- known and regarded in the metropolitan Chicago nonprofit community, Denise served a number of social benefit, educational and cultural organizations. She directly influenced countless nonprofit decision-makers, fundraising volunteers, and the work as well as careers of many Chicago area development professionals.  Denise wrote: “I use the word serve as a description of my responsibilities to the nonprofit community. I do not take that responsibility lightly. My love and faith in mankind is a driving force in my commitment to the profession and to those non-profits I have been fortunate to work with.”


The Review Committee selects recipients for the Denise Stennis Awards in recognition of an individual in the nonprofit fund development field and a nonprofit organization who, like the award's namesake, have sustained strategic collaborations by lifting pragmatic, action-oriented and tenacious change makers.  Denise Stennis Award recipients are credited with sustained contribution of leadership excellence and service in their communities , and inspiring others to do the same.


Finalists are selected by the BID Review Committee. The winners  of the award receives  a feature in BID website, FaceBook, press release, and presentation of award plaque at BID Conference in October.  Recipients must be present to accept the  Awards.


See a list of commonly asked questions and  answers below regarding the Denise Stennis Awards.  If you have a question which has not been answered, please feel free to send us an inquiry  via "Contact Us" at the bottom of the page. We'd love to hear from you!  




Nomination Criteria and Requirements

Important Dates

Questions and Answe




Denise Stennis Tribute Awards. Ready to Nominate?

 The Denise Stennis Award is open to  all eligible nonprofit professionals or organizations serving under-represented and underserved communities in the Chicago area Nominations may be made by anyone, e.g., the organization of the candidate, by community members, funders, or members of any of the BID partner organizations. Self-nomination is also acceptable. 


Members of the BID Planning Committee and Review Committee are not eligible.  


The Nomination Period is now closed. Thank you.



Nomination Criteria and Requirements

Nomination Criteria and Requirements

Individual Award

An individual will be recognized for their leadership  and impact in fund development serving under-represented and underserved communities.


  • Nominee has at least seven years’ experience in the fund development field
  • Nominee has demonstrated impact benefiting underserved communities

 

Nominations should also include: 

  • A short narrative (500 word limit) about the individual and why they are being nominated on the online nomination form
  • Two letters of support (1-5 pages long)


Organization Award

A nonprofit organization will be recognized for its leadership in fostering cross-cultural collaborations that improve and/or expand professional fund development services and impact to nonprofits serving under-represented and underserved communities.


  • Track record of fostering collaborations as champion of diversity and inclusion
  • Demonstrated impact in serving under-represented and underserved communities


Nominations should also include: 

  • A short narrative (500 word limit) about the organization and why they are being nominated on the online nomination form
  • Two letters of support from partner organizations and one letter of support from a funder/donor. Letters should be no more than five pages long.


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Nomination Selection

Selection Process

Finalists are selected by the BID Review Committee. The winners  of the award receives  a feature in BID website, FaceBook, press release, and presentation of award plaque at BID Conference in October.  


The Review Committee committee comprises up to five nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, who reflect the real diversity in our field and communities.  Telephone interviews may be added at the discretion of the Review Committee.


 The BID will present these Awards based on qualified applicants only and reserves the right not to present the Awards on an annual basis. 


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Important Dates

Call for Denise Stennis Award Nominations opens         August 1, 2019

Call for Denise Stennis Award Nominations closes         September 16, 2019 (Extended)

Winners of Denise Stennis Awards notified                        September 30, 2019

Winners of Denise Stennis Awards confirm acceptance    October 4, 2019

and attendance at 2019 BID Conference

2019 BID Conference (Columbia College Chicago)           October 11, 2019


PLEASE NOTE: Submissions automatically constitute approval for Breakin it Down to use the information for promotional activities. The individual and organization selected for the Denise Stennis Award may be featured in various promotional materials. Photos and quotes may be displayed for promotional purposes including social media, website, electronic, and printed materials.


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QUESTION AND ANSWERS

See a list of commonly asked questions and  answers regarding the Denise Stennis Awards. If you have a question which has not been answered below, please feel free to send us an inquiry  via "Contact Us" at the bottom of the page.  We'd love to hear from you! 

Who is/is not eligible for awards?

 The Denise Stennis Award is open to all eligible nonprofit professionals or organizations serving under-represented and underserved communities in the Chicago area (city of Chicago and its suburbs).  The BID Conference committee and Awards Review Committee members are not eligible.

Who can nominate?

Nominations may be made by anyone, e.g., the organization of the candidate, by community members, funders, or members of any of the BID partner organizations. Self-nomination is also acceptable.  The BID Planning Committee members cannot act as a nominator or nominate themselves. Additionally, no person who is involved in the decision process of an award can act as a nominator or can be eligible for the award. BID Planning Committee members are also not eligible.

How do I submit a nomination?

Only online nomination forms will be accepted. You can submit a nomination using our online nomination form.   

What is the cost to submit a nomination?

 There is no charge to submit an nomination. 

What are the deadlines to submit nominations?

The nomination period for the Denise Stennis Awards will open on August 1, 2019 and only online nomination forms will be accepted through September 16.   Winners will be notified by September 30 .   An e-mail confirming the receipt and validity of the submitted nomination is normally sent out within two weeks of the submission deadline. 

How do I fill out an application?

Applications  are available online. Before filling out an application, be sure to check out our Nomination Criteria and Requirements section. 

Where do I mail hard copy nomination forms?

Only online nomination forms will be accepted.  Letters of support and images should be scanned and sent to us at hello@breakinitdownchicago.org.

After a nonprofit professional or organization is nominated, what is the next step?

Nominated nonprofit professionals or organizations are notified by email of their nomination.   Individual Award nominees are asked to submit no more than two letters of support from colleagues, peers, clients or constituents.   Organization award nominees are asked to submit two letters of support from partner organizations and one letter of support from a donor/funder.  Letters of support should be no more than five pages long.

What is the application deadline?

The deadline for submitting a completed application is September 16 of the same year.  An e-mail is normally sent out within two weeks of the submission deadline.

What is the selection process?

The Review Committee is responsible for selecting the Denise Stennis Award recipient. At the beginning of October, the Review Committee chooses the Denise Stennis Award recipient through a majority vote. The decision is final and without appeal. The name of the Denise Stennis Award recipient is then announced.

 Recipients must be present to accept the  Awards. 

Are the nominations made public?

The BID Committee restricts disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately.  The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as  any investigations and opinions related to the award.


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