Foster G. McGaw Prize Call for Entries Brochure

The 2020 Foster G. McGaw Prize application period is now open. The award recognizes hospitals that have distinguished themselves through efforts to improve the health and well-being of everyone in their communities.


The Prize honors health delivery organizations (hospitals, health systems, integrated networks, or self-defined community partnerships) that have demonstrated exceptional commitment to community service. Any health delivery organization that exhibits the criteria described below is eligible to apply for the Prize, which is one of the most coveted, significant honors in health care.


  • Award Criteria

    1. Leadership The health delivery organization takes a proactive role in establishing the web of relationships needed to address the community's health and social issues and to improve the community's well-being.Examples include initiatives to address nutrition/malnutrition and clean water and noncommunicable diseases (such as diabetes prevention, etc.).
    2. Commitment Individuals and departments throughout the health delivery organization, including governance, administration, and patient care, are involved on an ongoing basis in the organization's community service plan and/or initiatives.
    3. Partnerships The health delivery organization has alliances with the community, including physicians, other health-related organizations, business, and government, to identify and meet community health needs.
    4. Breadth and Depth of Initiatives The health delivery organization’s community service initiatives: (a) exceed the provision of acute medical and health care services; (b) address the community’s major health-related issues; (c) constitute a significant and sustainable ongoing effort by the health delivery organization; and (d) address the community’s major health-related issues; and/or quality of life.
    5. Community Involvement There is a high level of community response to, acceptance of, and participation in the health delivery organization's community service initiatives.
  • Recognition

    In recognition of the outstanding contributions the winner of the Foster G. McGaw Prize makes to its community, the winner will receive:

    • $100,000
    • A trophy
    • Recognition at a special awards ceremony at the AHA Annual Meeting
    • Coverage in AHA News and other health care publications
    • Up to three finalists will each receive $10,000 and mention in AHA News and other health care publications.

    The highest-ranking applications will be made accessible to AHA member health care executives and trustees.

  • Key Dates

    May 22, 2020 Applications must be received online before midnight Central Time on May 22, 2020.

    May - June 2020 Initial review of all applications is conducted by an external panel of health care executives from across the country.

    July 2020 The highest-ranking applications are forwarded to the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee for review. The Prize Committee is composed of nationally prominent executives and academicians.

    August 2020 The Prize committee meets and selects up to four semifinalists for site visits. All applicants are notified by mail of their status.

    September - November 2020 The Prize Committee conducts site visits to the four semifinalists.

    December 2020 The Prize Committee selects a winner and finalists. These health delivery organizations are notified by mail of their status.

    April 2021 The 2020 winner and finalists are honored at the AHA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    How many applications are received each year?

    While the number of applications received each year varies, the average is over 100 per year.

    From where are applications received?

    Applications are received from health care delivery organizations (hospitals, health systems, integrated networks, or self-defined community partnerships) from almost every state in the nation. The applicants represent the gamut in terms of size -- from small and/or rural to large urban/suburban.

    How are applications evaluated?

    Applications are first reviewed by an external panel of leading health care executives. Each application is reviewed separately and independently by at least three members of the external panel. Based on the external panel review, the top-rated applications go to the Prize Committee for further review. The Prize Committee selects the organizations to be site-visited and determines up to three finalist health delivery organizations that will receive a $10,000 cash award and the winner that will receive the Foster G. McGaw Prize and a $100,000 cash award.

    I’ve applied in the past, but was not chosen as a finalist. Should I reapply?

    We strongly encourage you to reapply. Each year, the number of applications varies. Approximately one-third of the external review panel is new each year, and, as a result, your application may face stiffer competition one year, but compare favorably the next year. Your decision to reapply should be based solely on an objective evaluation of the community service programs offered by your health delivery organization. Winning applications demonstrate substantial commitment to meeting the particular health and social needs of the communities they serve, stress cooperation with other organizations to meet those needs, embody innovation and creativity, and highlight programs that can be replicated in other communities with similar needs. Winning health care delivery organizations have reached beyond their four walls to become “one” with the community through substantial programs and strong partnerships, especially those that will serve the poor, the young, and the elderly.

    Can an organization that has previously won the Prize re-apply again?

    No, once an organization has won the Prize, they are ineligible to win the Prize again.

    How can I improve my application this year?

    Your health delivery organization’s commitment to community service will be evaluated on the depth and breadth of its programs. You can help the Prize Committee recognize the value and importance of your programs by giving special attention to the descriptions of each of the five programs you include in your application. For each program, you must describe the impact of the program on the community; provide specific, supporting statistics wherever possible; and depict accurately the way in which the program meets an identified need of your particular community and how it is funded. For example, does this program improve the health and quality of life in your community? How has your organization worked with other organizations in the community to expand its ability to deliver health and social services? Can your program be replicated by other communities with similar needs?

    Our health delivery organization is a small one with limited financial resources. Can we really “compete” against the larger organizations?

    Absolutely! Applications are not judged on the dollar value of the health delivery organization’s contribution, but on the creativity employed in meeting the demonstrated needs of community members, on the depth and breadth of programming, and on the organization’s commitment to bringing needed services to those segments of their population that have no other advocate--the poor, the young, the elderly, and any other disadvantaged groups. Initiative in forming strong community partnerships is tantamount to expanding the health care delivery organization’s ability to deliver quality health and social services. In fact, five rural health care delivery organizations have won the Foster G. McGaw Prize to date: Bladen County Hospital Rural Health Network, Elizabethtown, NC (1997), Copley Hospital, Morrisville, VT (1987), Franklin Regional Hospital, Franklin, NH (1991), Kaweah Delta Health Care District, Visalia, CA (2000); and Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, Windsor, VT (2011).

    When is the deadline for submission of the 2020 Foster G. McGaw application?

    The application must be received online before midnight Central Time on May 22, 2020.

  • How to Apply

    A complete application consists of one (1) electronic copy of the following information:

    NOTE: The application must have at least 1 margins and be typed in a font size no smaller than 12-point Times New Roman or an equivalent font.

    1. Completed application cover page.
    2. Executive summary of your completed application, including a list of the programs you are highlighting in the application.
      Maximum of one (1) page in length, single-sided.
    3. A brief overview of the health delivery organization, including a description of the organization’s structure, facilities, services, and market share.
      Maximum of one-half page in length, single-sided.
    4. A brief description of the community served by the organization, along with the community’s major significant health and social challenges. The description should include population size, general demographics, major employers, and key community health assessment findings. Also, describe the approach the organization uses, in partnership with the community, to determine major health and social needs.
      Maximum of one (1) page in length, single-sided.
    5. Your organization’s story. Describe its commitment to and passion for improving health and quality of life in its community. In this section, include the following subsections (please include subheadings):
      • Overview. Describe the basis for your organization’s commitment to community service.
      • Leadership. Describe your organization’s role in establishing the relationships needed to address the community’s health and social issues and improve the community’s well-being. Examples include initiatives to address nutrition/malnutrition, clean water and noncommunicable diseases (such as diabetes prevention, etc.).
      • Commitment. Explain the depth and degree of community service commitment throughout your organization, including, but not limited to, governance, administration, and service delivery areas.
      • Partnerships. List partnerships with others to meet community needs, including alliances with physicians, other health- related organizations, businesses, government, social services, etc.
      • Breadth and Depth of Initiatives. Explain the overall impact of the programs and activities in addressing the most significant challenges to improving community health and quality of life. Please describe how the outcomes and range of these innovations are contributing to population health goals.
      • Community Involvement. Describe the community responsiveness to and participation in the organization’s community service initiatives.
      • Sustainability. Describe the overall level and continuity of the organization’s financial and other support for community service initiatives. (Be specific about funding and ongoing sources of support.)
        Maximum of three (3) pages in length, single-sided.
    6. Descriptions of five (5) innovative community service initiatives that best exemplify how the organization is living its passion to improve health and quality of life in its community. All of the initiatives must have been operational for at least three years. Three must have been operational for at least five years. For each community service initiative, provide the following subsections (please include subheadings):
      • Overview. Provide a brief description of the initiative, length of operation, how it meets the unique needs of the community, and how it effectively uses community resources.
      • Impact. Provide statistics, such as the number of people served, number of visits, and quantifiable improvements in health status.
      • Lessons Learned. Briefly explain lessons learned in the implementation of the initiative.
      • Future Goals. Describe plans for maintaining or expanding the initiative.
      • Operating Expenses for Past Fiscal Year. List the initiative’s total operating expenses for the most recently completed fiscal year, also specifying the value of in-kind contributions, if any.
      • Funding. Itemize the major sources for the initiative’s funding and support, including the specific amount of dollars and in-kind resources contributed by the applicant and by other organizations.
        Maximum of one (1) page in length, single-sided, for each initiative described.

    In addition to sending in an electronic copy of the information above, please submit an electronic copy of the following:

    • Health delivery organization’s audited financial statement from the most recently completed fiscal year. Also include a specific statement on the amount of community benefit the organization provides (for example, a non-profit organization might use the descriptions included in its Form 990 filing).
    • Most recent annual report and/or community benefit report.
    • List of current board of directors/trustees, including titles and affiliations.


Questions? Please contact AHA Office of the Secretary at 312-422-2700, or email

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