A Night of Light > FAQ’s 


Award Descriptions 

Presented to an individual who has done exemplary work in moving the dial on issues in the community through meaningful, impactful programming. This person embodies the cause of your organization, and through their work exudes passion and perseverance to accomplish real change. This person maximizes the potential of staff and volunteers and makes decisions in line with the organization’s mission.

Presented to the partner that best models good corporate citizenship and socially responsible partnerships. This partner will have invested in high-impact and innovative projects/partnerships with a nonprofit that used innovative approaches to advance social good. This project/partnership advanced the mission of the organization resulting in a measurable community impact.

Presented to the board chairperson or board member who has best contributed to the long-term impact of the nonprofit that he or she serves and whose leadership exhibits best practices in nonprofit governance. This individual links bold vision and ambitious plans to financial support, expertise and a clear focus on measurable outcomes.

Presented to the nonprofit CEO/Executive Director who has best demonstrated exemplary leadership and vision. This individual will not only embody the essential characteristics of a leader, but will also have used innovative approaches to achieve measurable gains in employee relations, long-term strategic vision, organizational performance and efficiency. They will also have a strong focus measuring and reporting outcomes in a meaningful way to help further the organization’s mission.

Presented to the nonprofit organization that has best impacted the community through a strategic plan that has furthered the organization’s mission, embedded the mission in the organization’s culture and has used innovative approaches to reach desired outcomes. This organization will have demonstrated strong governance and fiscal management best practices, and transparency in communicating financial information to both the staff and the board resulting in increased funding and sustainability for the future.


  • The organization receiving the $5,000 prize must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating in Texas.
  • Pass through or grant-making organizations are ineligible to apply. The only category in which these organizations are permitted is Nonprofit Partner of the Year and they must be paired with a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit operating in Texas.
  • Organizations or individuals that have won an Award in the past three years (2018, 2017 and 2016) are not eligible to apply. If you were a finalist in these years but did not receive the $5,000 prize, then you are eligible to apply this year.
  • Individual nominees must have served with the organization listed on the application within the past three years.
  • If selected as a finalist, an appropriate representative from the organization or the individual nominee must be present at A Night of Light in November 2019 in Dallas.  Finalist organizations will receive 10 complimentary tickets to the event.

Yes, on the application list the parent organization and your organization name as the applicant organization.

Absolutely – provided that you tailor your application to fit each award. There are no positive or negative associations with applying in multiple categories. Each category is judged by a different judging panel and judges are not aware of applications in other categories.

No. You can only win in one category. In addition, organizations will only be named a finalist in one category.  Your highest score will be used to determine which category you can be named a finalist.   

Programs and Budget Size 

You can submit an application for a specific program or for the entire organization, whichever you think makes the strongest case.

Your size and budget have no effect on your chances to win an award as best practices in nonprofit management and leadership are universal. We ask organizational overview questions on our application to give our judges a clear picture of each organization, along with measurable results of your programs to describe your impact.

Awards Process

The Awards of Excellence are judged by a panel of esteemed leaders from the business and philanthropic communities.

Judges are looking for applications that are a good fit with the award category. They want a compelling story and measurable outcomes that prove you and your organization are making a real difference in the community.

Finalists for each category will be named in September.  Winners will be announced live at A Night of Light. They will be kept secret up until that point.

Winners will receive their check onstage at A Night of Light

No. The $5,000 prize is completely unrestricted.

All finalists will receive a $1,500 Scholarship from CNM. The scholarship can be used for any CNM service.

If you have additional questions, please contact Christy Livingstone at livingstone@thecnm.org or call 214-580-1749.