The Council on Foundations Announces 2014 Recipients of Distinguished Service Award and Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking

The Council on Foundations announced today that Darcy Oman, President and CEO of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia, received the Distinguished Service Award. And, Shelley Trott, Director of Arts Strategy and Ventures for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation received the Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking for innovation and strategic vision in grantmaking.

“Every day, philanthropic leaders look to each other for inspiration,” stated Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of the Council on Foundations. “The tradition of the Council’s awards program serves this need by recognizing and honoring excellence in philanthropy. I’m grateful for the over 1,500 philanthropic leaders who voted in the award selection process. This kind of participation shows the field’s commitment to professional excellence.”

The Distinguished Service Award, philanthropy’s highest honor, celebrates a visionary leader who embodies the qualities that define excellence in philanthropy. During her 30-year tenure, Darcy Oman has built The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia into a progressive force for change and innovation. She has advanced lives in the community through the Richmond AIDS Partnership which supported nonprofit organizations fighting the epidemic. And since 1998, she encouraged the next generation of volunteers and philanthropists through the Youth Philanthropy Project. Darcy also elevated the quality of community foundations through her leadership roles on the Council’s Community Foundations Leadership Team.

“For over 30 years, Darcy Oman has devoted herself to communities across Virginia. Her ongoing commitment to improving community philanthropy enriches the field.”

The Scrivner Award, established in honor of the late Robert Winston Scrivner, celebrates an innovative grantmaker who is making a difference in a creative way by demonstrating collaboration and risk. In her capacity at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Shelley Trott was instrumental in establishing the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), a nonprofit that assists San Francisco arts organizations in securing permanent and affordable space. The model forges strategic funding collaborations through public-private partnerships, and leverages municipal and federal incentives that enable nonprofits to exercise purchasing power with CAST’s assistance. Their impact has led to transformative changes in many San Francisco neighborhoods, specifically in Central Market.

“By advancing the presence of art in innovative ways, Shelley is providing meaningful change in her community and encouraging ingenuity across the field.”

Because of the need to increase transparency and engagement throughout the membership, the Council took significant steps to streamline the nomination process for the Distinguished Service Award and the Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking. When the nomination process was opened in April, members were allowed to nominate their peers and share personal stories on how their candidate embodied the essence of the award.

After receiving several strong applications from the membership, a cross-functional team at the Council reviewed all the nominees and selected seven candidates for the Distinguished Service Award and five candidates for the Robert W. Scrivner Award.

Next, the Council launched an online platform for Council members to narrow the slate to three finalists for each award by voting for their top candidates. Coupled with an active social media campaign and spirited conversation on Philanthropy Exchange, the Council received over 1,500 votes from membership. The finalists were as follows:

2014 Distinguished Service Award Finalist

Darcy Oman, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia
Steve Seleznow, Arizona Community Foundation
Mary Thomas, The Spartanburg County Foundation

2014 Scrivner Award Finalist

Joan Mellor, Medtronic Philanthropy
Sarah Cotton Nelson, Communities Foundation of Texas
Shelley Trott, Kenneth Rainin Foundation

In August, a task force reflective of the Council membership convened to select the final winners for each award. These task forces were chaired by Rip Rapson, President and CEO, The Kresge Foundation, and Geraldine P. Mannion, Program Director, U.S. Democracy And Special Opportunities Fund, National Program, Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Darcy Oman and Shelley Trott will be presented with their awards at the 2014 Fall Conference for Community Foundations. To learn more, please visit

For more information on the Council on Foundations awards program, contact Daria Teutonico at

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