Community Builder Award

Strong communities are defined by bold leadership, examples of which are celebrated through the Community Builder Award.

The ANCOR Foundation is the charitable counterpart of ANCOR—the nation’s leading community of disability service providers.

The mission of the foundation is to build the commitment and ability of providers and communities to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

At the ANCOR Foundation, we measure the soul of the community by the way it includes all people. We measure it by the attitudes and actions of every community member toward people with disabilities—from providers to businesses to the organizations and people who work together to expand opportunity for everyone.

We also measure the soul of the community by examples of bold leadership. That’s why the ANCOR Foundation created and funded the Community Builder Award.

The Foundation gives this award in recognition of those people, communities or organizations that have had the courage to make inclusion their mission—that is, those who have worked hard so that people with disabilities may participate as valued members of their communities. Winners of the Community Builder Award must represent new ideas and creative thinking based on research and feedback that can inspire others to start a similar initiative.

See previous award winners to understand the kind of leaders recognized with this honor.

Nominate a Community Partner


Established in 2004, the Community Builder Award recognizes outstanding new initiatives that create inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities to live full, meaningful lives as valued community members. Qualifying initiatives should actively seek to highlight the contributions of individuals or groups that lack visibility or are systemically overlooked.

To be considered for the ANCOR Foundation Community Builder Award an application must show:

Mission and value alignment with the ANCOR Foundation

  • The nominee is committed to developing I/DD partnerships.
  • The initiative is person-centered.
  • The initiative encourages active and meaningful community engagement

A culture of inclusivity and belonging

  • Individuals feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns with transparency and confidence.
  • Individuals involved feel valued, respected, accepted, and appreciated for their unique characteristics.
  • Individuals are treated with and treat others with dignity and respect.
  • The initiative demonstrates a use of inclusive language practices.
  • The initiative is supported by individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds.

How the initiative solves a problem or creates a unique benefit.

  • The initiative encourages a culture of curiosity.
  • The initiative provides a new solution to a current problem.

How the initiative can be replicated in other communities.

  • The initiative’s benefits and uniqueness are easily explained.
  • Future community builders can easily engage in the initiative’s opportunities and benefits with little risk or effort.

Any individual, group or organization (such as a town, a state, a civic or religious organization, an employer, a park, a recreational program, etc.) whose commitment and creativity build sustained communities that fully include and value people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is eligible to be considered for the Community Builder Award. I/DD Service Providers, such as those that comprise ANCOR’s membership, are not eligible for this award.

Nominations typically open in the fall and award recipients are recognized at ANCOR’s Annual Conference each spring.

Submit Your Nomination Today

Nominator Benefits

If selected for the Award, honorees will enjoy the benefits of wide visibility, including:

  • Recognition on the ANCOR Foundation’s website.
  • Inclusion in a press release announcing the ANCOR Foundation Award honorees.
  • Inclusion in a short video announcing the award to be played on the mainstage of ANCOR Connect and to be used by the honoree for their own outreach purposes after the awards ceremony.
  • Recognition in the ANCOR Connect program.
  • Designation as an award recipient on ANCOR Connect attendee name badges for the organization’s representatives participating in the conference.

Nominations usually open in the fall and award winners are recognized at ANCOR’s conference each spring.

Due Date

Nominations are due Friday, February 2, 2024.

Decisions & Notifications

  • The ANCOR Foundation Awards & Recognition Committee will review submissions.
  • Preference will be given to nominators who are ANCOR members and/or nominees that have an explicit ANCOR member connection.
  • The committee may request additional documents to support the application.
  • The committee has the right to identify up to three finalists.
  • The committee will interview the finalists virtually.
  • The committee may recognize one award winner per year.
  • The committee will email the applicant of their status within 60 days (about 2 months) of the conference.
  • The ANCOR Foundation will offer the Community Builder Award winner(s) one plane ticket and one hotel room night to ANCOR Connect ‘24 in Santa Fe, New Mexico to formally receive their award.
  • Finalists are expected to participate in an interview (on the computer or in-person) with members of the selection team. Also, a site visit may be conducted by the ANCOR Foundation.

Note: ANCOR provider members are not eligible to receive this award but are encouraged to nominate community partners.

If you have questions about the nomination process, please email Sasha Sencer, ANCOR’s Director of Education & Intersectional Collaboration.