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Nomination Information

About the Dorothy Richardson Resident Leadership Award

The Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership honors the spirit and life work of Dorothy Richardson, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania resident who refused to allow her neighborhood to succumb to the long-term effects of decay and lack of public and private investment in the mid-1960s. Dorothy's vision of how to revitalize and preserve her neighborhood resulted, more than 40 years ago, in a new kind of community/government/private sector partnership, the first "Neighborhood Housing Services."

Dorothy's success changed the nation's approach to urban redevelopment and spawned the new field of community-based development. The model of partnership she pioneered became the foundation for today's NeighborWorks America network.

First awarded by NeighborWorks America in 1992, the Dorothy Richardson Award was created to recognize and support resident and community leaders across our network for the essential role they play in strengthening communities.

Selection is based on nominees' proven ability to share a vision, stay focused and determined, inspire their neighbors, and bring people together to create positive change.

Goals of the Dorothy Richardson Resident Leadership Award

  • Celebrate the legacy of Dorothy Richardson and honor individuals who exemplify her approach to community leadership.
  • Recognize, honor and promote the accomplishments of resident leaders whose work has resulted in positive change in their communities.
  • Highlight leadership efforts that engage a diverse group of community residents.
  • Inspire other residents to step forward in their communities.
  • Highlight the role that community-based nonprofit organizations play in working closely with resident leaders to create vibrant and strong neighborhoods.
  • Underscore the vital role played by resident engagement and leadership in the NeighborWorks network's approach to community development.

Eligibility criteria

  • The individual must be nominated by a NeighborWorks network organization and must live and/or work in a community served by that organization.
  • The individual must have demonstrated commitment to a specific project, initiative or issue area with a tangible outcome within the last 1-5 years.
  • Individuals currently employed by NeighborWorks network organizations are ineligible.
  • This is an individual award. Although an important criteria for selection is the individual's collaborative work with others, group submissions are not eligible for consideration.

Selection criteria

  • Demonstrated active involvement in the community.
  • Demonstrated the impact of their accomplishments and success of their volunteer leadership in the community in which the  NeighborWorks organization operates. Examples include:
    • Assisting in community stabilization efforts.
    • Contributing significantly to either promoting foreclosure prevention or increasing awareness of foreclosure scams.
    • Offering aid to a family and/or community that experienced the devastating effects of foreclosure.
    • Assisting in promoting a “green” lifestyle with environmentally-friendly solutions.
    • Increasing the number of active residents.
    • Developing partnerships with residents, governments and businesses.
    • Forming neighborhood associations or building effective relationships to bring together segments of the community through community building and organizing strategies.
  • Demonstrated a continuing commitment to support and promote resident leadership that can enhance or complement the NeighborWorks organization’s  initiatives


Each year, NeighborWorks America recognizes five resident leaders with this award and provides $5,000 to the sponsoring NeighborWorks organization.