NGen Leadership Award

Do you know an emerging changemaker who has demonstrated transformative social impact through collaborative leadership? Nominate them (or yourself) for the 2018 American Express NGen Leadership Award. The nomination and application period is now open and closes at 11:59 ET on Friday, May 25, 2018.

If you’re a changemaker age 40 or under, this is your chance to share your mission and vision with a national audience. Six finalists will be our guests Nov. 14-16 at Upswell LA, where the winner will be announced during a gala awards dinner.

Past winners have been instrumental in passage of the nation’s first Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, powerfully advocated for the rights and dignity of Indigenous Peoples, led the creation of thousands of safe playgrounds for children in low-wealth communities, and engaged and trained young leaders in the fight to reduce maternal deaths in Uganda.

Selection Process

  • An advisory group of leaders from the charitable community will review applications and select six (6) finalists who will be notified in summer 2018.
    Note: Nominees may be asked to provide additional information during the review process.
  • In mid-August, finalists will submit brief videos introducing themselves and their work for posting on the Upswell website. Voting to select the winner will be open to the public through mid-September. Finalists also will participate in a Twitter Town Hall prior to the close of the voting period.
  • Finalists will receive registration and travel for Upswell LA, where the winner of the 2018 American Express NGen Leadership Award will be announced during a special awards dinner.
    Note: The six finalists must be able to attend Upswell in Los Angeles in 2018 in person.

Supported by

2018 Amex Leadership Academy Logo


Who is eligible for the award?

The American Express NGen Leadership Award honors a highly accomplished charitable community leader age 40 or under who has demonstrated significant impact. To be eligible, you must:

  • Be age 40 or under at the time of application
  • Be a changemaker who has demonstrated transformative social impact through collaborative leadership
  • Reside in the United States (nominees may work or be affiliated with an organization that works internationally or has a globally focused mission)

Note: Independent Sector membership is not required to submit a nomination or to be eligible for consideration for the award.

What criteria are used to select finalists?

  1. Evidence of transformative or significant impact in a community or issue area.
  2. Proven ability to collaborate with other changemakers on action-oriented projects in innovative and inclusive ways.
  3. Proactive identification of need and assessment of progress toward goal.
  4. Demonstrated leadership qualities and dedication to advancing the common good.

What is the nomination process?

If you know a changemaker deserving of the American Express NGen Leadership Award, please complete this short nomination form. Nominees will then receive an email with more information about the award and a link to the application.

Note: Nominees must complete an application to be considered for the award.

What is the application process?

The application includes some basic background questions about the nominated changemaker, and an essay describing the applicant’s work as a transformative and collaborative leader. A letter of recommendation is required, and we also ask that you include a resumé or link to your LinkedIn profile. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 ET on Friday, May 25, 2018.

How are finalists selected?

Submissions will be reviewed by Independent Sector staff and an outside panel of prominent national leaders. Applicants will be notified of their selection status during summer 2018, and six finalists will be invited to share their mission and vision through short videos on the Upswell website. Public voting and engagement will take place in late summer, and all six finalists will be our guests at Upswell, where the winner will be announced.

Still have questions, or need more information?

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NGen Award Winners


Sarah Eagle Heart
Native Americans in Philanthropy

Diana Nambatya Nsubuga
Global Health Corps

Julieta Garibay
United We Dream

Sarah Kastelic
National Indian Child Welfare Association


Sarah Johnson
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Institute of Music

Jeff Edmondson

Ai-jen Poo
National Domestic Workers Alliance

Darell Hammond

Disclaimer: This site is managed by Independent Sector, not American Express.  Information entered will be subject to the Independent Sector privacy policy and terms.