January 02, 2017


Nomination Process

What is the nomination deadline?

We are no longer accepting nominations for the 2023 Citizens Awards. Next year's application portal will open in March 2024.

Who is eligible to apply?

The Citizens Awards are open to businesses of all sizes, trade associations, and chambers of commerce who lead or partner on corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Please note: past winners are not eligible to submit an application for two years in the category for which they won. For example, 2020 award winners are not eligible to apply for the category in which the company won until 2023. Immediate past winners are, however, more than welcome to submit nominations in new categories!

Does a company have to nominate itself or can a third-party submit a nomination on a company's behalf?

Any entity may nominate itself, or a third party may nominate a business, Chamber of Commerce, or trade association. Given the public announcement of the finalists and winners, third-party nominators should ensure the nominated entity is aware of the application and prepared to participate in awards activities.

What if my program could fit in multiple categories?

This is very common, as corporate citizenship programs often address societal issues that are intertwined. You are not limited in the number of nominations you can submit, so we recommend nominating the program in each of the applicable categories. We do recommend tailoring your answers to address the respective category. However, a company can only be named a finalist in one category.

What makes a strong nomination?

Here are a few tips from past winners and judges:

  • Review the quality of the project based on its goals, metrics, and results. 
  • Analyze how well the project is integrated into the company’s mission and how it adds value back into the company. 
  • Prove impact—show how the program affected the targeted people and/or communities. Show the impact through data – metrics and measurable results. Show how the program has benefitted the company and its employees. 
  • Include all types of contribution—financial, intellectual, employee, in-kind, etc. 
  • Understand shared value—at its core, shared value is about doing well by doing good. Include any information that shows shared value was considered as you built your program. 
  • Show us your stakeholders—be sure to share the key players who shaped, validated, and engaged in your work. Stakeholder engagement is a way to illustrate the thought and strategy behind a program or initiative. 
  • Emphasize how your whole company has integrated sustainability and corporate citizenship into its operations (for Best Corporate Steward Awards). 
  • Be mindful of the word limits—tell your story succinctly. 
  • Ask fellow colleagues or others who are not as familiar with the project as you are if the nomination makes sense or if there are any gaps. 
  • Provide a narrative—telling a story which paints a picture can strengthen your nomination. 
  • Be candid. Let your passion come through. Judges appreciate honesty.

Should I nominate a new program or one that has existed within the company for many years?

For the programmatic categories, the nomination should focus intensively on a single initiative within a larger business or corporate citizenship strategy. For the Best Corporate Steward category, the nomination should focus on the company's overall corporate citizenship strategy and commitment. Please note, the metrics documenting the program's proof of positive impact must be limited to the years 2019 - 2023.

Is there a fee to nominate a company?

There is no fee to submit a nomination.

Do you accept additional support materials?

We do not accept additional support materials. A strong, well-written nomination should be able to convey all of the information needed to reach a decision. Should a nomination be selected as a finalist, then we will ask for additional materials such as project photos and videos.

Can the answers be saved so the nomination can be completed and submitted at a later date?

Yes, they can. Once you have created a profile and begun the process of nominating a company, your answers will be automatically saved throughout the editing process. You may log out and log back in and start right where you left off. This also allows you to share the nomination draft with others who may need to review it before submitting the final nomination form. 

Judging and Selection Process 

How is my nomination scored and who are the judges?

Nominations are scored based on a weighted rubric giving more value to the strategic development, execution, and proof of positive impact of the project. 

There are two rounds of judging—the finalist selection round and the winner selection round. The finalist selection round is judged by subject matter experts, corporate citizenship professionals, government representatives, and community leaders who review all of the applications in a single category and select the finalists. The winner selection round is judged by business and societal experts selected by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to review the finalist nominations and select the overall winner. Past judges have included CEOs, non-elected senior government representatives, and university professors. 

What is the finalist selection process? 

During the finalist selection round, eight (8) judging committees review and score all of the applications in a single category to determine its finalists. 

  • Eight committees will be convened to review all applications in a single category. Each committee is comprised of: 
  • The top applications in each category, as designated by the judging committees, will move on to the finalist round. 
  • Note: 
  • Finalists for each category are announced in early Fall.

What is the winner selection process?

During the winner selection round, eight judging committees review and score the category finalist nominations to determine one winner per category. 

Winner Selection: 

  • Winner selection committees are comprised of thought leaders and executives in the category’s respective field. There is one private-sector representative per committee; this person’s company is also a former Citizens Award winner. 
  • If the average of judges’ scores result in a tie between two category finalists, a forced ranking will be based on the judges’ qualitative response and the points awarded for the highest weighted questions within the nomination form (see *Note above). 

Finalist and Winner Announcement 

When are the Citizens Awards finalists named?

The U.S. Chamber Foundation will announce the finalists of the Citizens Awards in September. The nominations ranked highest in each category will earn this recognition, pending verification of their eligibility. 

When are the Citizens Awards winners named?

The U.S. Chamber Foundation names the Citizens Awards winners during its annual Business Solves Conference & Citizens Awards Ceremony in November. 

We ask that every finalist company attend the event to be present when the winners are named.

Can I sponsor the Awards?

Yes! This program would not be possible without the generous support of companies that believe in using their skills and resources to create a better world. There are multiple opportunities to support this program. Contact Rebecca Mousseau to learn more.

Will the U.S. Chamber Foundation provide communications support for the finalists and winners?

Yes, in advance of both the finalist and winner announcements, the U.S. Chamber Foundation will provide a communications toolkit to help companies communicate their awards status to their stakeholders. The toolkit will contain sample media materials, graphics, social media messaging, and more.