John W. Gardner Leadership Award Recipients

This national award, established in 1985, honors outstanding Americans who exemplify the leadership and ideals of John W. Gardner (1912-2002), statesman and founding chair of Independent Sector (below). Working with a selection committee of national leaders who are Independent Sector members, we present the award annually to one or more individuals whose leadership in or with the nonprofit community has helped transform, mobilize and unify people, institutions, or causes that help create a nation where all can thrive.

Below: Award recipients from 1999 to 2021.

Angela-Glover-Blackwell_0153_gray_mj_d
Founder in Residence, PolicyLink (2018 Gardner Award recipient)
Graves-8-X3
President and CEO, National Women's Law Center (2020 Gardner Award recipient)
Haggerty-Rosanne-small
President and CEO, Community Solutions (2017 Gardner Award recipient)
1999-Lois-Gibbs-BW-Photo
Founder, Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (1999 Gardner Award recipient)
Bryan-Stevenson-12-19-17
Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative (2016 Gardner Award recipient)
Michael-Brown2-12-19-17
CEO and Co-Founder, City Year (2015 Gardner Award recipient)
Alberto-Ibarguen-12-19-17
President and CEO, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (2014 Gardner Award recipient)
Connie-Rice-12-19-17
Founding Co-Director, The Advancement Project (2013 Gardner Award recipient)
Jeff-Skoll-12-20-17
Founder and Chair, Skoll Foundation (2012 Gardner Award recipient)
Bill-Drayton-12-22-17
CEO and Chair, Ashoka (2011 Gardner Award recipient)
Colin-Powell-12-2-17
Founder, America's Promise Alliance (2010 Gardner Award recipient)
Alma-Powell-12-22-17
Founder, America's Promise Alliance (2010 Gardner Award recipient)
Dr. Gail C. Christopher headshot
Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity (2021 Gardner Award recipient)
Geoffrey-Canada-1-5-18
President, Harlem Children's Zone (2009 Gardner Award recipient)
johnapowell800x800
Director, Othering & Belonging Institute (2021 Gardner Award recipient)
Robert-Greenstein-1-5-18
Founder and Executive Director, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2008 Gardner Award recipient)
Susan-Berresford-1-5-18
Philanthropy Consultant, New York Community Trust (2007 Gardner Award recipient)
Johnetta-Cole-1-5-18
Director, Smithsonian Museum of African Art (2006 Gardner Award recipient)
Robert-L.-Payton-1-18-18
Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University, (2003 Gardner Award recipient)
Raul-Yzaguirre-1-18-17
President Emeritus, National Council of La Raza, now UnidosUS (2004 Gardner Award recipient)