CASE Commonfund Institutionally Related Foundation Awards

The CASE Commonfund Institutionally Related Foundation Awards recognize individuals who have made valuable contributions through best practices, distinguished service and/or volunteer leadership to the foundation field. The awards are presented each year at the annual CASE Conference for Institutionally Related Foundations.

The award is supported by a gift from Commonfund, which enhances the financial resources of educational and other nonprofit institutions through fund management, investment advice and treasury operations.

Deadline for Nominations

Nominations period is closed and will reopen in Fall 2019.


Senior leaders responsible for the day-to-day management of institutionally related foundations (CEOs, CFOs, COOs, counsels, etc.) are eligible to receive the award.

Nomination Instructions

Please enter through the online system. Include in the nomination package:

  • A complete entry form by the official nominator (self-nominations  will not be accepted) answering entry questions. Each question has a 4,000 character limit.

How long has the nominee worked in the institutionally related foundation field?

Describe the nominee's leadership and accomplishments at his/her IRF. How has he/she made a difference to his/her foundation?

What contributions has the nominee made to the entire IRF field and to professional associations? (leadership roles, contributions to professional meetings, publications and research, etc.)

Please provide any further information on the nominee's qualifications for this award.

  • A curriculum vitae that provides a concise summary of the individual's education, institutionally related foundation experience, relevant awards, publications and other significant contributions (information may be summarized using a biographical format but should focus on institutionally related foundation experience).
  • Letter from nominee's host institution president/chancellor OR foundation board chair speaking to the nominee's impact on the foundation and host institution. A letter from the foundation CEO or executive director can be substituted for nominated CFOs, COOs, counsels or other senior leaders.


The selection committee consists of three prior award winners and two members of the CASE National Committee for Institutionally Related Foundations.

Selection Process

After the deadline, the selection committee reviews the nominations. After the initial review, judges may request supplemental materials.


Judges look for an extraordinary individual who has demonstrated initiative and innovation and who have made valuable contributions to the foundation field.  Judges look for:

  • Exemplary programs, practices and policies that could be adapted by other institutionally related foundations,
  • Leadership roles in professional associations and contributions to professional meetings, publications and research,
  • Innovative approaches to management challenges faced by institutionally related foundations,
  • Advocacy regarding issues of vital importance to foundations and
  • Leadership in professional ethics and accountability.

Award Presentation

The 2019 CASE Commonfund Awards will be presented at the 27th annual CASE Conference for Institutionally Related Foundations on April 3-5, 2019 in San Diego, CA. The award recipient should be available to attend the conference and play an active role in the program.

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