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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

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The Philip J. Rutledge Social Equity Leadership Award

The NAPA Panel on Social Equity in Governance established the Phillip J. Rutledge Social Equity Leadership Award in 2021 in recognition of the contributions of the late Fellow Philip J. Rutledge. The NAPA Standing Panel on Social Equity in Governance focuses on issues of fairness, justice, and equity in a variety of public contexts, including, but not limited to: education, policing, welfare, housing, and transportation.

With this award, the Panel recognizes and honors the contributions of Philip J. Rutledge to NAPA and the entire social justice community. His work with NASPAA was also instrumental in helping to infuse social equity into the curriculum of NASPAA accredited programs, and his visionary leadership and unceasing efforts were a catalyst for making social equity one of the pillars of Public Administration.

Academy Fellow Philip J. Rutledge (1925-2007) was a Professor at O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and at Howard University. Among his many professional accomplishments, he was President of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) as well as a senior official in the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The Award winner will be selected based on his/her exceptional contribution to the NAPA Standing Panel on Social Equity in Governance and social equity in public administration. An award nominee must be an elected NAPA Fellow in good standing and must have served on the Standing Panel on Social Equity in Governance for at least five years. Nominees must also have a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and as well as demonstrated evidence of achieving social change with an emphasis on developing and promoting concrete actions with lasting impact.

To date, we have selected two winners. In 2021, our inaugural award winner was Dr. Blue Wooldridge, Professor Emeritus at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Immediate Past Chair of the NAPA Standing Panel on Social Equity in Governance. In 2022, the second winner was Dr. Gail Christopher, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity and an Academy Fellow.

The announcement of the Philip J. Rutledge Social Equity Leadership Award third winner will be made at the 2023 Social Equity Leadership Conference, cohosted by The Public Management Center, School of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Kansas. The winner’s biography and photograph will be published on the NAPA website.

How to Nominate

Download the nomination form and submit it to Charles Menifield, via email at by May 15, 2023.

2023 Social Equity Leadership Conference

Join us on June 12-14, 2023 at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center conference center. This year, the Social Equity Leadership Conference - Social Equity in Action, will focus on putting social equity policy, practices, and processes into action.

2023 Themes: Urgent equity challenges; generational shifts; leveraging technology; political context; tools and strategies for sustained; intentional organizational social equity action.

Learn More and Register

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