Aliceann Wohlbruck
Impact Award

The Aliceann Wohlbruck NADO Impact Award (formerly the Innovation Award) honors significant advances in community and economic development, including but not limited to small business finance, energy and infrastructure projects, housing and human services, sustainable development, workforce development, and more. The Impact Awards are named after Aliceann Wohlbruck, NADO’s first executive director. For 24 years, she was a tireless champion for regional approaches to economic development in rural communities. Awards winners leverage their awards to provide regions with additional resources and to help explain the important work they do. NADO staff uses the award-winning projects to share these collective works on Capitol Hill and with federal agencies. They’re also used in peer-to-peer training and information sharing among membership.

Benefits for Impact Award Winners

Positive local and national attention

  • Award-winning projects gain national recognition via, NADO News, and are often featured in NADO Research Foundation reports and case studies.
  • NADO’s legislative and research teams tap into the great resource of Impact Awards for testimony to Congress and as examples to share with federal agencies.
  • Awardees receive an Impact Award certificate and a press release to announce the award to regional partners, stakeholders, and media outlets.

Showcase your success and network with peers

  • A special roundtable reception showcases award-winning projects during NADO’s Annual Training Conference. Winners are often included in best practice sessions. 
  • In addition to the roundtable reception, awardees have ample opportunities to talk with peers about their award-winning projects and share best practices.

Community and organization recognition

  • Winning an Impact Award gives awardees numerous opportunities to build their organization’s reputation within their communities, and among, regional stakeholders, funders, and potential clients. It also recognizes staff for dedication and hard work.


  • Only NADO members can apply for the award.
  • If multiple regional development organizations, such as members of a state association, wish to apply for an Impact Award for a collaborative project, the current NADO member submits one application on behalf of all. 
  • Only three applications per organization may be submitted. Projects must show substantial quantitative or qualitative results in the region. For a competitive application, address one or more of the following:
    • uniqueness and level of impact; 
    • ability to be replicated;
    • long-term viability and significance;
    •  inventive partnerships and collaborations; 
    • and/or creative funding mechanisms.


Check back for this year’s application, which opens in May and closes in July. 

We look forward to hearing about the impactful work in your region. Follow NADO News and our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.

Questions? Contact Brett Schwartz at [email protected] or Ciara Ristig at [email protected]


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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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