2021 Request for Nominations

The 2021 Awards cycle is closed. Check back soon for 2022 details.


Association of Northeast Extension Directors’ (NEED) Exceptional Local Program Awards (ELPA) are given annually in recognition of three Extension programs—one winner and two runners up—that deliver local impact that represents the work of individuals or teams. The purpose of the AAEPs is to celebrate exceptional programs that are delivered at the community level, respond directly to local issues or needs, and engage program planning and assessment throughout.   

WHAT IS A PROGRAM: For the purposes of the ELPA, an Extension program is defined as a group or series of presentations, workshops, functions, demonstrations or other events and activities that form a comprehensive outreach, community coordination, or education curriculum, methodology or process that—along with associated resources—facilitate learning and/or behavioral change in audiences over time. For example, a conference developed and offered to address nutrition needs for teens would be an event rather than a program. The conference, however, may be one of many components that make up an Extension Teen Nutrition Program. 

PROCESS FOR SUBMITTING NOMINATIONS: Each NEED member, including 1890 ex-officio members, may endorse and submit one ELPA nomination per cycle for a program as defined above. Only NEED members may endorse and submit nominations. Extension personnel are encouraged to bring programs to their NEED member for consideration by providing them a nomination package as outlined below. Self-nominations are encouraged. Previous ELPA winning programs cannot be resubmitted. Programs submitted, but not selected, during past cycles can be resubmitted. Nominations will be managed, reviewed, and recommended for the ELPA by the NEED ELPA Review Committee.

AWARD ELEMENTS: The contact person for winning ELPA nominations will be notified by email of their commendation. The winner and two runners up will be honored on a region-wide webinar, during which they may present their program to all NEED directors, administrators, and other invited guests. These presentations will be recorded and posted to NEED’s website alongside the program’s abstract. Selected programs will also be highlighted in a news story posted to NEED’s website and will receive a cash award to be used towards the program or associated professional development (the winner receives $1,000 and runners-up $500). Cash awards to selected multi-state programs are made to the submitting entity.

ABOUT MULTI-STATE PROGRAM APPLICATIONS: Programs designed and delivered to address issues in multiple states may be submitted. The NEED member submitting a multi-state program should inform the other state’s extension director or administrator prior to submitting the nomination.


A complete nomination shall include a cover page and nomination narrative as described below.  

COVER PAGE: The cover page shall include the name of the program; the institution submitting the nomination (lead institution if multi-state); the name, title, address, phone, and email of the contact person for the program; and an abstract (no more than 150 words) of the program. Nominations on behalf of a multi-state program must also include a list of primary out-of-state collaborators including their names, titles, and locations.

NOMINATION NARRATIVE (up to three pages): Please use the nomination narrative to make a case for your program. Narratives must be written in font Times New Roman, size 12 or larger, single spaced. Competitive nominations will address each of the five criteria below.

  1. ISSUE STATEMENT:  Briefly describe the issue and the reason for the program and what was done to address the issue (please describe as if you were presenting to the public).
  2. NEEDS ASSESSMENT: Clearly present the way you came to understand and validate the issue/need. This should include detailed reference to validating data/experiences, stakeholder input and engagement, research, and indicators. The best nominations will identify the program’s audiences/customers/stakeholders and clearly describe the process(es) used to obtain their input and buy-in to program development and implementation.
  3. PROGRAMMATIC APPROACH AND DELIVERY: Explain the key components of the Extension program including scholarship and resources developed with special emphasis on any collaborative components. For this award, scholarship is defined as “creative intellectual works that are validated by peers and communicated” (additional detail available here).  For each resource, include why it was needed and the effect it had. Present any relevant partnerships.
  4. EVALUATION AND IMPACTS: Identify the evaluation methods used and the significant immediate-, mid-, and long-term impacts, outcomes and results achieved by the program. The best nominations will make the connection between identified needs and impacts achieved.
  5. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT: Explain the way you have and/or will use program evaluation, stakeholder input, and ongoing needs assessments to improve the program and/or inform the improvement of other programs. Identify lessons learned and how they will be used.

Endorsed nominations must be submitted by the associated NEED member as a single PDF, font Times New Roman, size 12 or larger, single spaced.

Endorsed nominations must be emailed to NEED Executive Director Ali Mitchell Dunigan at [email protected] under the subject line “2021 NEED ELPA Nomination” by 11:59PM on May 1, 2021. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. All questions should be directed to Ms. Dunigan by email. You will receive a “confirmed receipt” reply from Ms. Dunigan within one week of receipt. If you do not receive a confirmation, please resend your submission.