Rozsa Award for Excellence in Board Leadership















The Rozsa Award for Excellence in Board Leadership (“Board Leadership Award”) celebrates a Board Chair who has shown excellence in leading the Board of Directors of an arts organization. The Board Chair leads through the effective governance practices they put in place to support the organization’s artistic mission AND through the effective relationship they have with the rest of the board, executive director, artistic director, members, funders, and public.

The Rozsa Foundation defines the Board Chair (who is sometimes called the President of the Board) as the individual who is the head of the executive of the board. The Board Chair does not just lead the board meetings but leads the board within the organization and establishes a strong working relationship with the Executive Director and/or Artistic Director. The Board Chair is not to be confused with the staff roles of CEO or Executive Director.

In the case where an individual is active in both roles, please apply for the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management.

There are two stages in the nomination process. In Stage One, nominations are reviewed by Rozsa Foundation jury chair and staff to approve eligibility. In Stage Two, nominations are reviewed by the Board Leadership Award Jury to evaluate outstanding achievement in each of the Award Criteria. 

NOTICE: After a great deal of deliberation, the Rozsa Foundation has made the difficult decision not to hold the Rozsa Awards in 2020 or 2021. We are undertaking an evaluation of the awards with the goal of advancing equity within our own work and the arts community, and recognizing excellence in our community more broadly. We are looking forward to gathering once more to celebrate together.

- The Rozsa Team



Please note that a potential nominee who does not meet one (1) of the stage one eligibility criteria (eg. 500K operating budget or have been volunteering with the organization for three years) may still be eligible. Please contact us prior to nominating.

The nominated Board Chair Individual (“nominee”) must:

  • Be a person, not an organization.

  • Be a Board Chair of an Alberta registered charity with a budget of at least 500k.

  • Have been volunteering with the affiliated arts organization for a minimum of three years and been in the leadership position as Board Chair of the affiliated arts organization for at least one year.

  • Be willing to become a potential member of the Jury and attend the deliberation sessions of the Board Leadership Award in subsequent years.

  • Be willing to address public sessions on key board leadership practices throughout the year following their receipt of the Board Leadership Award (e.g. at the Rozsa Arts Leadership programs) and announce their selection in their season’s brochure and/or on their website.


The affiliated Arts Organization (“organization”) must:

  • Be a not-for-profit with a charitable registration number.

  • Have been in operation for a minimum of three years.

  • Have a well-defined cycle of activities, the content of which must have a distinct arts focus.

  • Be an individual company (or an arts service organization that supports other individual companies) to offer presentations that are publicly advertised of work by artists or creators of art to the public, either to participate in or to experience: that is, to have exhibitions, staged performances, workshops, publications of works, or other programming.  

  • Be deemed to make a meaningful contribution within the arts sector and to the artistic life of their community.

  • Employ business processes and practices that reflect ethical principles and values.


The nominators (“nominators”) must:

  • Be a board member of the nominee's organization (first nominator) and be the Executive Director or Artistic Director (or equivalent) of the nominee’s organization (second nominator).

  • Both sign and submit the online nomination form together.


Not Eligible:

  • Organizations may not nominate both a Board Chair (for the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Board Leadership) AND Executive Director (for the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management) in the same year.

  • Organizations who are directly affiliated with and receive the majority of their funding from any single level of government may not be nominated.

  • Board Chairs of post-secondary educational institutions may not be nominated for their work with students and/or faculties that offer Arts performances or exhibitions.

  • Nominators must not be a family member of the nominee.

  • Past recipients of the Rozsa Awards (both the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management and the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Board Leadership) cannot be nominated again for the same award for three years.

  • Nominees and nominators must not have a formal association with the Rozsa Foundation, Rozsa family, or any of the Rozsa Award partners.



The Board Chair nominee (“nominee”) will be chosen for outstanding achievement in the eight Award Criteria as outlined below. All nominations for the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Board Leadership (“Board Leadership Award”) must meet all eight (8) Award Criteria.

Please ensure that the narrative throughout your nomination package is succinct, relevant, and directly addresses each of the Award Criteria by providing specific examples.  

The nominators including the Board Nominator (first nominator) and Executive Director or Artistic Director or equivalent (second nominator) are to collaborate to provide a written paragraph addressing each of the eight (8) Award Criteria. Additional supporting documentation will also be requested.

1. Board Chair is the champion for the organization internally ensuring that the artistic vision and mission are being prioritized and not drifted from.

2. Board Chair is an ambassador for the organization externally by promoting them in the community and by being involved in fund development and advocacy efforts.

3. Board Chair meets regularly with the Executive Director/Artistic Director and they have a strong and engaged working relationship with productive tension.

4. Board Chair leads productive board meetings that address required business and allow for generative discussion in which all board members are actively engaged.

5. Board Chair ensures suitability and accountability of all board committees, policies & procedures, committee reports, and that the strategic plan is current and regularly reviewed.

6. Board Chair ensures that there is a process for board recruitment and training, terms of references, self-evaluation, and succession planning for board members and the Executive Director/Artistic Director, and that the board reflects the diverse communities the organization serves.

7. Board Chair manages opportunities and risks and knows when to step out of operational concerns and when to step in to guide the organization through challenges.

8. Board Chair promotes transformational impact within their organization by serving as a role model. They inspire board and staff to work together towards a common vision.



Stage 1:


1.  Please send an email to Geraldine Ysselstein, Arts Leadership Director at BEFORE April 30, 2020 to indicate that you will be submitting a nomination for the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Board Leadership (as well as use the opportunity to ask any questions).  

2.  Nominators must submit the Stage 1 application via our online nomination form by May 15, 2020. The Stage 1 Submission determines the nominee and organization’s eligibility for the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Board Leadership.


3.  All applicants will receive acknowledgment of receipt of the Stage 1 application and will be told the following week if they are eligible to move to Stage 2 (the week of May 18, 2020).


Stage 2:

1.  If successful in the Stage 1 Submission, nominators of eligible candidates will be invited by the Rozsa Foundation to Stage 2 where they will submit detailed information regarding the eight (8) Award Criteria and provide supporting documentation (letters from individuals external to the organization).

2.  Nominators of affiliated arts organizations will receive a direct link to the Stage 2 application. Please be advised Stage 2 will be due June 12, 2020. 


3.  In the Stage 2 submission, the nominators will highlight qualitative and quantitative examples of specific projects, initiatives, or activities in which the nominee has been notably successful. They will explain how the nominee exceeds their organization’s expectations with respect to all criteria and describe the overall transformational impact of the nominee’s work providing specific examples. Please summarize by describing the major goal, opportunity or challenge that the organization successfully addressed with the leadership of the Board Chair. Additional letters of support will also be requested.



PLEASE NOTE: Late submissions will not be considered.


If you have any questions about the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Board Leadership, please contact Ayla Stephen, Granting and Awards Manager at