The Council on Foundations has announced the 2016 recipients of its Distinguished Service Award, Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, and Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications.
Ira Hirschfield, president and trustee of the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, and Carol Larson, president and CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, will receive the Distinguished Service Award, which honors visionary leaders who embody the commitment, courage, entrepreneurship, and impact that define excellence in philanthropy. Hirschfield, who announced in January that he will be stepping down at the end of the year, has led the Haas, Jr. Fund for nearly thirty years, helping to establish it as a national leader in the areas of inequality and injustice — perhaps most notably in the successful drive for marriage equality. Larson has served the Packard Foundation for twenty-six years, the last twelve as president, and in that role has helped build collaborative efforts aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change, ensuring that children have the opportunity to reach their full potential, and providing access to quality reproductive health care.
Helen Brunner, an advisor to the Quixote Foundation's media reform program and founding director of the Media Democracy Fund, was recognized with the Scrivner Award for her efforts to protect the public's basic rights in the digital age and to secure universal access to a free and open Internet, including funding and organizing the successful campaign to preserve net neutrality. The Wilmer Shields Rich Award, which recognizes an organization that has creatively and effectively used strategic communications to further its mission and goals, was awarded to the Global Greengrants Fund, which supports grassroots environmental action around the world, for developing an innovative communications strategy that highlights the link between women and climate change, amplifies grassroots voices, and builds capacity in support of action.
"Ira Hirschfield's career has been focused on improving the quality of life for several of our nation's most vulnerable populations, and he has done so with vision and a strong voice," said Vikki Spruill, president and CEO of the Council on Foundations. "Carol Larson is rightfully being recognized for her global philanthropic leadership. Under her leadership, the Packard Foundation has built collaboration among foundations, and her efforts to create a tighter philanthropic community have undeniably improved the quality of all our work."