Persons nominating candidates for an award are required to submit a complete nomination package outlined below:

  1. Include a cover/title page which contains the name, address, title, organization, and daytime telephone number:
    • The name of the Award.
    • The nominee.
    • The name of the nominator.
    • The name and job title of two persons who can substantiate the outstanding qualities of the nominee and agree to serve as references (For the Steven D. Ford Memorial Award – one reference must represent the nominee’s local chapter).
  2. Submit a narrative (single spaced, no more than one page) explaining the basis for the nomination. The narrative must include specific examples to support virtues espoused about the person nominated.

  1. Enclose an executive bio, no more than one page, that includes pertinent information such as positions held, volunteer work, honors, awards, and other relevant professional and personal data.
  2. Signed Letters of reference (Preferred but not not mandatory.)

Send the electronic nomination package as a PDF attachment via email to:

Please indicate the nomination in the subject line of the email, i.e. "Attn: Marks of Excellence, Hall of Fame, Steven D. Ford Memorial, Educator of the Year, Yvette P. Harris Membership Award, or Jacqueline L. Whitman Distinguished Service Award."

Nomination packages may also be sent via mail to
200 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite #700, Washington, DC 20001 but must arrive by the submission deadline.

Marks of Excellence Award

The Marks of Excellence Award is bestowed upon an African American Public Administrator who has achieved extraordinary success in the field of public management while demonstrating an unselfish commitment to the community. This prestigious award is NFBPA’s highest honor and is presented annually at the Marks of Excellence Gala during the FORUM.


Eligible candidates include non-elected administrators at all levels of public service in local, state, or federal governments, non-profit institutions, community-based organizations, academic institutions, or related professional groups. Recipients must be NFBPA members.

Criteria for Selection

  • The recipient of the award will be an individual engaged in public administration who has performed several act(s) of public service, which has been conspicuous in its benefit to the greater community, and who has exhibited exemplary leadership and ethical qualities that have inspired those associated with him/her to strive for excellence in performance and service.

  • The recipient has demonstrated by his/her personal efforts that service to the public goes beyond the descriptions of the job assignment and has consistently strived to persevere, create, and invent more efficient and responsive systems that benefit all segments of the population.

Hall of Fame Award

In April 1991, the NFBPA Board of Directors established the “Hall of Fame” Award to “recognize and honor African Americans whose accomplishments in public service are worthy of emulation and who serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others in the nation and world.” The Hall of Fame was created to pay tribute to African Americans who have achieved unprecedented “firsts” in public service. The individuals must be worthy of national/international recognition for his/her life’s work and accomplishments, particularly in the face of obstacles.

Inaugural inductees (1992) were then Governor L. Douglas Wilder, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Thurgood Marshall and Cabinet Secretary Robert Weaver. Recipients since then have included Tom Bradley; Barbara Jordan; Quentin R. Lawson; John Stroger; Coleman Young, Nelson Mandela; Ronald Brown; Maxine Waters; Colin Powell; NFBPA Founders; William H. Gray, III; C. Delores Tucker; Oliver W. Hill, Sr.; Phillip Rutledge; Yvonne Braithwaite Burke; Eleanor Holmes Norton, Shirley Franklin; Henry L. Marsh, III, and Harold Washington. One-year special dispensation was made to honor South African, Nelson Mandela.

Criteria for Selection

  • The nominee’s achievements must have distinguished him/her apart from others and include the design or use of innovative programs which have benefitted the public beyond a single community.
  • The nominee must hold or have held in the past, a high-ranking appointed or elected leadership position in local, state or federal government or a public institution of higher education, not previously held by an African American.
  • The recipient will be of national or global prominence and personify the values of humanity and democracy.

Steven D. Ford Memorial Award

(Formerly Known as the Young Public Administrator Award)

NFBPA is committed to recognizing excellence in scholastic and professional achievement. In an effort to further the goal of “grooming and preparing younger, aspiring, public administrators for senior-level management positions,” NFBPA offers the Steven D. Ford Memorial Award. Only one award is given each year, which is presented during the ELI/Mentor Program graduation at FORUM.


Eligible candidates include non-elected administrators at all levels of public service in local, state, or federal government, non-profit institutions, and community-based organizations or academic institutions. Candidate must be a member of NFBPA (non-student) and active in an NFBPA local chapter.

Criteria for Selection

This nationally-competitive award seeks to recognize a young administrator, under age forty (40), who has demonstrated above average commitment and success in his/her profession, in the community, and contributed to the overall good of public service.

Educator of the Year

The Educator of the Year Award is bestowed upon an African American Educator who is committed to excellence in the teaching of public administration.


The eligible candidates’ educational commitment must extend to educating students to actively think and be engaged in learning so they are equipped to effectively and ethically manage and lead public and nonprofit institutions.

Criteria for Selection

  • The Educator should have demonstrated a commitment to actively seek out opportunities to further the knowledge and skills of individuals at all levels of professional development.
  • Mentors and cultivates others with the goal of promoting the transfer of knowledge and influence within public administration.
  • The Educator is known to have an ability to recognize and cultivate the abilities and talents of others.

Yvette P. Harris Membership Award

The Yvette P. Harris Membership Award was first presented at FORUM 2008, celebrating NFBPA’s 25th Anniversary. The Award recognizes the NFBPA Chapter having the largest percentage of increase in the Chapter’s membership.


To be eligible, a Chapter must have demonstrated exemplary service to NFBPA as it relates to supporting the sustainability of the organization by implementing an effective member recruitment and retention program.

Criteria for Selection

  • The Chapter must have demonstrated an ability and willingness to work positively, respectfully, and effectively within the community to expand the NFBPA Membership.
  • The Chapter must have shown a significant increase in Membership.
  • The Chapter actions reflect Membership outreach efforts that are creative, innovative, and beneficial to NFBPA.

Jacqueline L. Whitman Distinguished Service Award

This inaugural award was first presented at FORUM 2008, celebrating NFBPA’s 25th anniversary. The award recognizes an NFBPA member who has demonstrated commitment to excellence and service to others.


To be eligible, the NFBPA Member must have demonstrated exemplary volunteer service to NFBPA, which goes beyond the call of duty.

Criteria for Selection

  • The individual must have demonstrated an exceptional ability to foster positive collaboration, communication, and cooperation among the NFBPA Community.
  • The individual must have demonstrated actions reflective of a strong commitment to the mission and goals of NFBPA.
  • The NFBPA Member actively seeks out innovative and creative solutions when confronted with challenges, issues, or the need for improvement.

Byron Brooks
Byron W. Brooks AICP
County Administrator
Orange County
Orlando, FL

Cheryl Orr
Cheryl D. Orr
Co-Managing Director
Institute for Excellence in Public Service

Gregory Vincent, Ed.D
Gregory Vincent, Ed.D
21st President
Talladega College
Talladega, AL

Sharon Sayles Belton
Sharon Sayles Belton
Vice President
Government Affairs and Community Relations
Thomson Reuters
St Paul, MN
Former Mayor
City of Minneapolis, MN
Collin Mays
Collin Mays
Department of Economic Inclusion
City of Cincinnati, OH

Knickeita V. Bullock
Knickeita V. Bullock
Global DEI
Fort Lauderdale, Fl

John Olajide
John Olajide
President and CEO
Dallas, TX

Virgil Miller
Virgil Miller
Aflac U.S.
Columbus, OH

(V. Toni Adams)
V. Toni Adams
Former CPEC Chair

Mike Tripplet
Mike Triplett
U.S. Commercial
Cigna Healthcare

Leslie Goodlow
Leslie Goodlow
Equity and Business Operations Manager
Portland Housing Bureau
Portland, OR

Cynthia Johnson, Ed.D
Cynthia Johnson, Ed.D
Conference Planning and Evaluation Committee
Economic Development Director
Pinellas County, FL