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Edward A. Smith Program

Edward A. Smith Distinguished Lecture Series and Awards Program

From 1997-2004, nonprofit and community leaders came together to participate in a special day of discourse and learning, including a thought-provoking presentation by a cutting-edge leader who will challenge us to see our community and its opportunities in new ways. This day of learning and awards program was inspired by the life of Edward A. Smith.

The leadership legacy of Edward A. Smith: Courage, Vision and Action

Edward A. Smith was a true visionary, leaving an indelible mark on his entire community through his friendship, guidance and dedication. His contributions were indeed extraordinary. He was a founding partner of a prominent law firm and a founding trustee of countless community institutions including the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He also served as coach and mentor to both Fortune 500 corporate leaders and the young people of his community. Just as importantly, he was a leader who never sought public accolades. He acted out of a sense of service to the community he loved.

Mr. Smith was energized by the challenges facing the Kansas City community and his nation as a whole. He possessed a special combination of sharp intelligence, a wry sense of humor, a deep compassion for others and a genuine interest in their thoughts and ideas. He had the ability to create accord among people and focus their efforts for solving essential community issues.

Like Edward Smith, the four award recipients will have demonstrated essential leadership qualities, fulfilled significant leadership roles and achieved results that will endure even as they move on to other challenges.

Awards Program

The purpose of these biannual, national awards was to honor and continue the legacy of Edward A. Smith, a devoted civic leader and community catalyst, by recognizing and celebrating others across the country who exemplify extraordinary leadership in nonprofit service organizations. The awards honored leaders who have displayed leadership for the long term, not in a single endeavor.

The awardees embody the exemplary leadership modeled by Edward A. Smith. This leadership is characterized by a comprehensive model that reflects three distinct and interrelated dimensions:

  • Leadership Qualities “Leadership is a subtle process of mutual influence fusing thought, feeling and action to produce cooperative effort in the service of purposes and values of both the leader and the led.” ~ Lee Bolman
  • Leadership Roles “In learning organizations, leaders’ roles differ dramatically from that of the charismatic decision maker. Leaders are designers, teachers, stewards.” ~ Peter Senge
  • Leadership Impact “Leaders who strengthen their people may create a legacy that will last for a very long time.” ~ John Gardner

Awards Criteria

  • Vision - sees beyond the here and now and provides clear direction toward a shard purpose
  • Passion - possesses a deep, heartfelt drive for achieving goals
  • Courage - willing to take risks and meet resistance to change with tenacity
  • Wisdom - can see the big picture and has the ability to make the complex simple
  • Ethical Foundation - consistently does what is morally right based on the common values of his community
  • Leader as Designer - acts as an architect in building a framework for the development of ideas
  • Leader as Teacher - helps those around him gain insight into the connection between their action and results
  • Leader as Servant - motivated by a sense of community rather than a sense of self
  • Leader as Innovator - create an environment that encourages new ideas for better serving communities and customers
  • Impact on Systems - generates results that affect institutions and issues in his community, country or even the world
  • Impact on Institutions - creates results that affect an institution’s capacity, growth and service to community
  • Impact on People - produces results that motivate and unify individuals in his community or organization

The awards recognize four exceptional leaders, 2 serving in the greater Kansas City area and 2 from other parts of the U.S. In each category, excellence in both executive and volunteer leadership are honored.

Each of the four winners received $5,000 and a beautiful commemorative award symbolizing dedication to the skills, abilities, and characteristics that are essentials for exceptional nonprofit leadership. There was also an honorable mention category recognizing other nominees who have distinguished themselves as nonprofit leaders.

Award Recipients

2004

Ms. Angela Blanchard, President and CEO, Neighborhood Centers, Inc. National Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Nonprofit Executive

President and CEO of Neighborhood Centers Inc. (NCI), Blanchard has earned a strong reputation as a visionary leader and strategic thinker. Since her tenure began at NCI in 1995, the agency’s budget has grown from $40 million to $122 million while fulfilling NCI’s mission of “bringing resources, education and connection to underserved communities.” NCI collaborates with 150 partners in over 50 service locations to provide services such as Head Start and Senior Service for Independent Living and other community development programs.

Blanchard has spent over twenty years wearing the many hats of a nonprofit leader: growing the size and capacity of NCI and building effective community relationships, while maintaining a commitment to developing the organization’s infrastructure. Her interest in accountability has led her to design organizational development strategies that have proved invaluable to NCI and other organizations. She has been an active speaker on vital issues such as Hispanic education and building strategic vision with community and government leaders. Blanchard has been a committed and innovative public service leader, designer, and teacher, passionate about helping individuals and communities achieve their full potential. This multifaceted visionary leadership has led to her receipt of this 2004 Edward A. Smith Award.

Mr. Al Ward, Founding Board Member of Chicago Communities in Schools National Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Volunteer

Al Ward was a humble, courageous leader whose stubborn determination to make a difference was matched only by the compassion with which he treated others. At home and abroad, his leadership has made an important difference in the lives of children and families. His vision has been to effectively serve students and families in need through a comprehensive, collaborative approach that closely linked and engaged communities and their schools.

Al was a member of the founding board of Chicago Communities in Schools (CCIS). Through his vision, CCIS became a unique organization that today brings resources to thousands of children and families in Chicago. This led to the development of the Midwest regional office of CIS and, today, to a set of community-school programs serving thousands of families in hundreds of schools. In all that he did, Ward demonstrated that he cared deeply about people in need. His compassionate leadership is at the heart of this 2004 Edward A. Smith Award.

Dr. Elbert Cole, Founder and Executive Director, Shepherd’s Centers of America Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Nonprofit Executive

Founder and Executive Director of Shepherd’s Centers of America from 1975-2003, Cole has committed his personal and professional life to designing and implementing improved personal health services for others of all ages to live in a better world. Cole, a United Methodist minister for 49 years, began the first Shepherd’s Center in a church basement in Kansas City. Today there are over 80 Centers in 21 states comprising a network of 15,000 older adult volunteers serving 100,000 people in 2500 community-based congregations.

Cole’s farsighted vision brought many innovations to the personal health care of Shepherd’s Centers, programs such as peer support groups and efforts to support the unique relationship of family caregiver and care receiver. He also introduced to Kansas City the Community Health Council, a model of health information, wellness classes and support referral services designed to enhance the well being of older adults. This successful model has since been replicated in over 80 communities across America.

Cole has devoted himself to a lifetime of public service. He recognizes and celebrates the interrelatedness of mind, body and spirit. His tireless championship of the vision to empower older adults to help themselves and others has led to this recognition and his 2004 Edward A. Smith Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership.

Ms. Mamie Hughes, Community Volunteer Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Volunteer

Mamie Hughes has spent a lifetime acting on the belief that communities should be a better place for all their citizens regardless of age, race and gender. This vision has led her to provide guidance and leadership to such diverse organizations as the Mid-America Regional Council, the Urban League, Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries, and the Central Exchange.

Ms. Hughes has been a tireless leader who has contributed to the success of innumerable community initiatives. Her work has spanned the range from community-wide initiatives to individual mentoring relationships. Among her many notable improvement efforts in Kansas City are the 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District, the Bruce Watkins Drive, and the Kansas City region 911 system. Hughes’ commitment to seeing life as it should be and engaging others to help the vision become reality has led to our celebration of her leadership with a 2004 Edward A. Smith Award.

Mr. Robert H. West, President, Saint Luke’s Hospital Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Volunteer

Robert West has been a volunteer leader and visionary in service to Kansas City for more than three decades, especially in service to St. Luke’s Hospital and the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC).

Through his leadership at St. Luke’s, West has helped raise more than $70 million for the hospital’s endowment and capital campaigns. This funding has enabled the hospital to meet increasing community needs in patient care and embrace advances in medical technology. West’s leadership as a member and leader of the UMKC Board of Trustees has been critical to the advancement of the university’s mission, especially in engaging it with Kansas City’s civic agenda.

West’s significant contributions toward improving the quality of health care, education and community services in Kansas City are the reason for his recognition with this 2004 Edward A. Smith Award.

2002

Mr. William Drayton, CEO and Founder of Ashoka
National Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Nonprofit Executive

Ms. Robin Morrison Steans, Community Volunteer and Founder, University of Chicago
Celiac Disease Program
National Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Volunteer

Ms. Palle Rilinger, Executive Director of MOCSA (Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault)
Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Nonprofit Executive

Ms. Mary Kay McPhee, Community Volunteer
Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Volunteer

2000

Mr. William E. Milliken, Founder and CEO, Communities in Schools, Inc.
National Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Nonprofit Executive

Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, Founding Chairman, Challenger Centers
National Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Volunteer

Mr. Dwayne A. Crompton, Executive Director, KCMC Child Development Center
Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Nonprofit Executive

Mr. David P. Ross, Senior Vice President, Bank of America
Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Nonprofit Executive

Ms. Trish Moore, Director, Johnson County Human Services and Aging Program
Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Volunteer

1998

Rev. Dr. Sid Mohn, President, Heartland Alliance for Human Rights and Human Needs
National Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Nonprofit Executive

Ms. Lindsay Dayton Berryman, Civic and Community Volunteer from Medford, Oregon
National Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Volunteer

Ms. Jan Kreamer, President of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Nonprofit Executive

Ms. SuEllen Fried, Community Volunteer and Founder, Stop Violence Coalition
Kansas City Award for Excellence in Leadership by a Volunteer

Past Lecturers

2000-2004

2004
David Cohen, Co-Founder and Co-Director of The Advocacy Institute
Lecture: Giving Voice to Your Mission: The Secrets of Building Will and Shaping Policy
Read the Summary Report (PDF)

2003
Paul Light, Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution and the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at New York University
Lecture: Pathways to Nonprofit Excellence
Read the Summary Report (PDF)

2002
Rebecca Adamson, Founder and President of First Nations Development Institute
Lecture: Nonprofits as the Community Fabric for a Civic Society

2001
William Ryan, Consultant and Research Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Lecture: Nonprofit Dilemmas: The Struggle Over Values, Capacity and Identity
Read the Summary Report (PDF)

2000
Angela Blackwell, Founder and President, PolicyLink
Lecture: The Power of Grassroots Leadership in Building Community

1997-1999

1999
Robert Putnam, Author and Professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Lecture: The Power of Social Capital in Building Healthy Communities

1998
David Matthews, President and CEO, Kettering Foundation
Lecture: Leadership in a Civil Society: New Perspectives for Building Healthy Communities

1997
Jeremy Rifkin, Author and Lecturer, “The End of Work”
Lecture: The End of Work

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Summary Report: 2004 Edward A. Smith Distinguished Lecture Series and Awards Program Giving Voice to Your Mission: The Secrets of Building Will and Shaping Public Policy - David Cohen (The Advocacy Institute) (PDF)

Transcript: 2003 Day of Learning Transcript - Paul Light (Brookings Institution and the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at New York University) (PDF)

Summary Report: 2001 Day of Learning Nonprofit Dilemmas: The Struggle Over Values, Capacity and Identity - William P. Ryan (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University) (PDF)

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Charity Lobbying in the Public Interest

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Kansas City, MO 64110
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