2021 CSDA Award Nominations

Individual Awards


Board Member of the Year

Nominations may be submitted for Board Member of the Year based on experience, effectiveness, and leadership. Examples must be submitted that illustrate the rationale for the nomination. Nominations should include participation in and contributions to CSDA both locally and statewide, Special District Leadership Foundation achievements if applicable.

Criteria

Eligibility Criteria:
  • Current board member of a California special district
  • District must be a member in good standing of CSDA
Evaluation Criteria
  • Participation in and contributions to CSDA
  • SDLF recognitions and accreditations.
  • Experience as a board member
  • Achievements on behalf of the district
  • Service and leadership in other professional, civic, or charitable organizations

General Manager of the Year

Nominations will be accepted for the general manager believed to have exhibited exceptional experience, effectiveness, and leadership in his or her district. Illustrative examples must be submitted with the nomination demonstrating how the individual has excelled and brought substantial benefit to the district and/or public. Nominations should include participation in and contributions to CSDA both locally and statewide,

Criteria

Eligibility Criteria:
  • Current board member of a California special district
  • District must be a member in good standing of CSDA
Evaluation Criteria
  • Participation in and contributions to CSDA
  • SDLF recognitions and accreditations.
  • Experience as a board member
  • Achievements on behalf of the district
  • Service and leadership in other professional, civic, or charitable organizations

Staff Member the Year

Selected from nominations by special district board members/trustees or district management staff. Nominations should include length of service to the district and specific accomplishments during employment. Nominations should include participation in and contributions to CSDA both locally and statewide, Special District Leadership Foundation achievements if applicable.

Criteria

Eligibility Criteria:
  • Current staff member of California special district (not a general manager)
  • District must be a member in good standing of CSDA
Evaluation Criteria
  • Participation in and contributions to CSDA
  • SDLF recognitions and accreditations
  • Achievement on behalf of the district
  • Service and leadership in other professional, civic, or charitable organizations

Ralph Heim Exceptional Outreach & Advocacy

The criteria for this award include a demonstration of exceptional engagement with the public, State Legislature, U.S. Congress, and/or other key stakeholders to promote the individual’s district and the entire special district community, particularly on matters related to CSDA’s legislative advocacy and public outreach efforts. Additionally, the individual may have initiated or contributed to significant grassroots, media, government relations, or community engagement efforts that are appealing and include creative, persuasive, and highly relevant content.

Criteria

Eligibility Criteria:
  • Current board or staff member for a California special district
  • District must be a member in good standing of CSDA
Evaluation Criteria
  • Demonstration of exceptional engagement with the public, State Legislature, U.S. Congress, and/or other key stakeholders to promote the individual’s district and the entire special district community, particularly on matters related to CSDA’s legislative advocacy and public outreach efforts
  • Initiated or contributed to significant grassroots, media, government relations, or public outreach communications efforts that are effective and include creative, persuasive, and highly relevant content
    • Additional consideration will be provided to nominees that have actively participated in CSDA’s legislative Calls-to-Action, Take Action Month, Special Districts Legislative Days, and other efforts to strengthen the voice of all special districts.
    • Similarly, preference will be given to nominees that have participated in CSDA’s Districts Make the Difference public outreach campaign, Special Districts Week, and other efforts to raise awareness and understanding of all special districts.

William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence

The most prestigious honor bestowed by CSDA, the award celebrates distinguished, ongoing service and exceptional contributions to special districts and the communities they serve. The criteria for this award include a demonstration of significant leadership for, or in partnership with, special districts regionally or statewide. Individual may be a special district official or a stakeholder who has worked intimately with special districts over an extended period. Individual must be actively identifying and implementing programs and/or partnerships that benefit special districts regionally or statewide, dedicating time, efforts, and/or career toward the advancement of special districts and advocating on behalf of special districts regionally or statewide over time. This award is open for nominations from CSDA Members, CSDA Staff, and consultants. Selection of the recipient will be by the CSDA Board of Directors. The CSDA Board reserves the right to not award each year if they so choose. In addition, active CSDA Board Members having served three or more terms are eligible to be nominated. CSDA Staff are not eligible to receive the award.

Chapter Awards


Chapter of the Year
Chapters are an integral part of communication, advocacy, and education efforts throughout the State. CSDA will present an award to one affiliated chapter nominated for its effectiveness in legislative and community outreach, involvement in CSDA programs, and/or creativity with engaging special district leaders and supporting them in better serving their communities. This award is chosen by CSDA staff and may not be awarded each year.

Criteria

Eligibility Criteria:
  • Affiliated Chapter of CSDA
Evaluation Criteria
  • Effectiveness in legislative and community outreach, member education, and creativity with activities on behalf of all districts in the chapter’s territory and/or an ongoing commitment to engaging special district leaders and supporting them in best serving their communities

District Awards


Small District = budget under $10 million and Large District = budget over $10 million

Innovative Program/Project of the Year (Large and Small District categories)

The criteria for this award include originality of program/project, tangible and positive results produced, and a documented decrease in district costs or a demonstrated improvement in the district’s quality of service without significantly increasing costs. Additionally, the program/project should be easily adaptable and serve a best practices example for other districts. A broad range of “innovative” programs and projects are eligible, including, but not limited to, new services, offerings, finance, public works, tools, partnerships, and more.

Criteria

Eligibility Criteria:
  • District must be a member in good standing of CSDA
  • District operating budget of $10 million and under for Small District Category
  • District operating budget of over $10 million for Large District Category
Evaluation Criteria
  • Originality of program/project, tangible and positive results produced, and a documented decrease in district costs or a demonstrated improvement in the district’s quality of service without significantly increasing costs
  • Additionally, the program/project should be easily adaptable and serve a best practices example for other districts

Exceptional Public Outreach & Advocacy (Large and Small District)

The criteria for this award include a demonstration of an increase in the district’s visibility with the public, State Legislature, U.S. Congress, and/or other key stakeholders. Additionally, the program may include improvement in district-constituent and/or district-stakeholder communication and evidence of communication pieces, programs, or tactics that are appealing and include creative, persuasive, and appropriate content relevant in communicating the district’s governance, policy positions, and/or program(s)/service(s). Additional consideration will be provided to nominees that have actively participated in CSDA’s legislative Calls-to-Action, Take Action Month, Special Districts Legislative Days, and other efforts to strengthen the voice of all special districts. Similarly, preference will be given to nominees that have participated in CSDA’s Districts Make the Difference public outreach campaign, Special Districts Week, and other efforts to raise awareness and understanding of all special districts.

Criteria

Eligibility Criteria:
  • District must be a member in good standing of CSDA
  • District operating budget of $10 million and under for Small District Category
  • District operating budget of over $10 million for Large District Category
Evaluation Criteria
  • Demonstration of an increase in the district’s visibility with the public, State Legislature, U.S. Congress, and/or other key stakeholders.
  • Additionally, the program may include improvement in district-constituent and district-stakeholder communication and evidence of communication pieces that are appealing and include creative, persuasive, and appropriate content relevant in communicating the district’s governance, policy positions, and/or program(s)/service(s).
    • Additional consideration will be provided to nominees that have actively participated in CSDA’s legislative Calls-to-Action, Take Action Month, Special Districts Legislative Days, and other efforts to strengthen the voice of all special districts.
    • Similarly, preference will be given to nominees that have participated in CSDA’s Districts Make the Difference public outreach campaign, Special Districts Week, and other efforts to raise awareness and understanding of all special districts.

Excellence in Technology

The criteria for this award include demonstrating the extent a technology related district program and/or project has improved efficiency within the district, service to constituents/community, and/or improved transparency. Additional consideration will be given for submissions that highlight the innovative or unique use and implementation of technology as well as creative partnerships with other agencies or businesses.

Criteria

Eligibility Criteria:
  • District must be a member in good standing of CSDA
Evaluation Criteria
  • Innovative, unique use of technology; and/or
  • Extent technology improved efficiency; and/or
  • Extent technology improved service to constituents/community; and/or
  • Extent technology improved transparency; and/or
  • Creative partnerships in technology to benefit district/constituents/community
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More Information

The district must be a CSDA Member in good standing and must submit the following by May 14, 2021:

  • A completed online Award Nomination Form or PDF Form
  • Executive Summary of nomination not to exceed four pages
  • Optional: up to three attachments of supporting materials not to exceed five pages each
  • Combine these items into one PDF packet/attachment (preferred)
  • Submit your nomination packet awards@csda.net

Questions? 

If you have any questions regarding the awards process, please contact Vanessa Gonzales, communications specialist, toll-free at 877.924.2732 or by email at vanessag@csda.net

Beacon Program and Awards

New this year, CSDA is pleased to announce additional award recognition opportunities through affiliate organization, the Institute for Local Government (ILG). For the past 11 years, the Institute for Local Government’s Beacon Program has provided a framework for local governments to be recognized for voluntary efforts that contribute to more sustainable and resilient communities. ILG is thrilled to announce special districts are now eligible to join the program and apply for awards consideration. 

Learn more and apply to join!