Bollman Award Recipients

Nicholas P. Bollman Award Recipients


The Nicholas P. Bollman Award honors the memory of longtime friend and Funders’ Network co-founder, Nick Bollman, who died in 2007. The values that guided Nick’s life and his work, and his influence on others, personify the values and hopes of the Funders’ Network and continue to provide inspiration. Nick was a beacon of hope for all people who believe strongly in their obligation to improve conditions for future generations without hesitation or expectation of reward. We are proud to recognize leaders in the field who continue Nick’s legacy of advancing thoughtful and progressive solutions to a variety of contemporary problems. The Bollman Award is given out each year at the Funders’ Network annual conference.


Amy Solomon (2016)

This year’s recipient is Amy Solomon, trustee of the Jenifer Altman Foundation and former program officer at the Bullitt Foundation. An inveterate explorer and experimenter, Amy is always searching for new ideas to address intractable problems, while working collaboratively across local, regional, and national perspectives. Described repeatedly as a weaver and connector, Amy has played a masterful role in connecting people and issues, and shaped her philanthropic portfolio to bring inclusiveness and equity to the center of her grantmaking strategy. A leader in our field, Amy is a former board and program committee member of the Climate and Energy Funders Group, Health & Environmental Funders Network, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders, TFN, and Philanthropy Northwest.

Click here to read her acceptance speech.


Lois DeBacker (2015)

Managing Director, Environment, The Kresge Foundation

The Funders’ Network is pleased to announce that Lois DeBacker is the recipient of the 2015 Nicholas P. Bollman Award. Lois is the managing director of the Environment program at The Kresge Foundation, where she leads the Environment team in developing, implementing, and assessing the impact of grantmaking strategies that address climate change.

Lois was praised for embodying the values that guided Nick Bollman’s life and work and for making a real difference in climate change grantmaking, including her work enabling organizations working with low-income communities to better plan for climate change.

Lois was awarded the Bollman Award at the 2015 Funders’ Network Annual Conference.

Click here to read her acceptance speech.


Patricia Jenny (2014)

Vice President of Grants, The New York Community Trust

Patricia Jenny, Vice President of Grants, The New York Community Trust, is the recipient of the 2014 Nicholas P. Bollman Award.

Lauded for working creatively and expansively to solve problems, Jenny was the driving force behind the Local Sustainability Matching Fund and an early supporter of the then-fledgling Funders’ Network. Jenny’s work occurs at “the nexus of community development and the environment where all the thorny issues of the real world play out,” and her interdisciplinary thinking and focus on collaboration are hallmarks of her grantmaking principles.

Jenny joined The New York Community Trust in 1986 and has managed the national and New York City environmental grantmaking program and the local workforce development grants program. She developed two funding collaboratives: New York City Workforce Funders, which is a partner with the city on innovative employment projects, and the One Region Funders’ Group, a New York-New Jersey-Connecticut funders group focused on sustainable communities and transportation issues.

She serves on the boards of the Environmental Grantmakers Association and Health & Environmental Funders Network and formerly served on the board of Cause Effective. She worked with Nick Bollman when they co-chaired the Neighborhood Funders Group in its early all-volunteer days. Later, she championed and supported the Funders’ Network, serving on its board from 2002-2008.

Jenny holds a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a B.A. from Brown University.

The award was presented to Jenny on March 18th at the 15th Annual Funders’ Network Conference in Boston.


Luther Propst (2013)

Founder, Sonoran Institute

Luther Propst founded the Sonoran Institute in 1991 and served as the executive director until December 2012. Under Luther’s vision and leadership, the Institute grew into one of the most innovative and influential nonprofits working in western North America, promoting conservation policies that recognize the needs and aspirations of local communities. The Sonoran Institute helps communities conserve and restore their natural and cultural resources and manage growth and change through collaboration, civil dialogue, sound information, practical solutions and big-picture thinking.

Luther is truly a leader in the area of collaborative conservation. He has pioneered work that is community-based and reflective of local values and stayed true to a vision of environmental advocacy that combines opposition to harmful actions with significant investment in building beneficial long-term relationships and collaboration. Under Luther’s leadership, the Sonoran Institute has collaborated with multiple parties, cutting across sectors to include stakeholders who are often opposed to land conservation efforts.  He has inspired many others to seek a less adversarial approach to conservation work and instead focus on developing strong partnerships by reaching beyond traditional boundaries. Luther truly excels at sorting through complex problems and identifying the opportunities for progress. His wisdom and optimism are inspiring; where many others would see a particular situation as “hopeless,” Luther always sees the silver lining.


Claudio Martinez (2012)

Executive Director, Hyde Square Task Force

Claudio Martinez was recognized for his 20 years of tireless service advocating for Boston’s low-income Latino residents and engaging youth to serve and mobilize their communities. Through his leadership, a once crime-plagued neighborhood has been transformed into a diverse and vibrant community that draws immigrants, artists, and professionals and promotes affordable housing, open spaces, and sustainable small businesses.  Under his leadership, The Hyde Square Task Force has received numerous awards, most recently Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builder Award in 2011. Claudio is also being honored for his strong commitment to small and immigrant-led non-profits and his advocacy on behalf of Boston’s “majority minority.”


Dr. Emily Young (2011)

Senior Director, Environmental Analysis and Strategy, The San Diego Foundation

Dr. Emily Young, Senior Director, Environmental Analysis and Strategy for The San Diego Foundation, is the recipient of the 2011 Nicholas P. Bollman Award.

Emily is a recognized environmental leader in the San Diego region, which is renowned for its diverse and complex environmental habitats. Her works fuses the principles of smart growth and climate change issues to address the myriad of challenges facing San Diego’s air, water and land. Known as a unifying force, Emily reaches across boundaries and builds strong and enduring partnerships to achieve common goals. Her efforts have increased the funding, capacity and reach of The San Diego Foundation and its grantees and produced robust on-the-ground results. A leader who inspires real change, Emily also inspires people to imagine that a healthier, safer San Diego is within reach for all.

Emily’s vision has been instrumental in building The San Diego Foundation’s Environment Program. Emily oversees the Foundation’s Climate Initiative and spearheads the Environmental Working Group (EWG), recruiting volunteers with strong environmental expertise to engage deeply on the issues. Thanks to the leadership of Emily and the EWG, the San Diego region has added 28,000 acres of conserved land and engaged more than 2,000 residents and more than 20,000 new volunteers in environmental stewardship.


Hooper Brooks (2009)

Director of International Programmes, The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community

Hooper Brooks was a co-founder of the Funders’ Network and served as chair of its board for the first four years of the Network. He continued to serve on the board for two additional years, stepping down due to term limits in 2006. He was instrumental in charting the course of the Network and inspiring engagement among other funders.

More than anyone, Hooper is responsible for the smart growth field that exists today.  Not only was he a founding funder of Smart Growth America, he supported numerous fledgling state and regional organizations that have grown up to have significant influence on the future shape and character of the places they – and we – care about.  At the Surdna Foundation, Hooper was also an icon in the environmental grantmaking community even while he welcomed community revitalization funders into the movement. He really gets the interconnectedness of urban and environmental issues and funded and networked accordingly. His role as a bridge between environmental and community development funders led to a new conversation in philanthropy, and the creation of the Funders’ Network.  In fact, we first met Hooper at a meeting of environmental and community development funders focused on brownfields issues, a meeting that was hosted by Nick Bollman.  Small world.

Now at the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, Hooper is sharing his talents and creating innovative models of appropriate urbanism across the globe, in diverse locales including but not limited to Britain, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and India.  His visionary leadership and actions truly reflect the values and ethos embodied by the Nicholas P. Bollman Award, which we were pleased to present to our friend, Hooper L. Brooks.


Nicholas P. Bollman (2008)

Nick Bollman, one of the nation’s most prominent and influential regionalists, was a co-founder of the Funders’ Network. The Nicholas P. Bollman Award was established in his honor following his death in 2007.  Nick, a native Oregonian, worked for twelve years for the Irvine and Hewlett Foundations and then became the founder and president of the California Center for Regional Leadership (CCRL). Nick’s intention was to help local governments work together and breed a new group of activists which he named “civic entrepreneurs.” After he left CCRL, Nick moved to Florida, became a senior fellow at the Funders’ Network, and began working for the Network in the arena of climate change. He also consulted for the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University and for the New Voice of Business.

The sudden and shocking death of Nick Bollman left a gap in the Network’s capacity and an empty space in our hearts. Nick was an individual with a rare combination of talents, personal and professional, and one of the warmest and kindest human beings we have ever known. Recognizing an outstanding individual in his memory serves as a slight balm to both the family and friends who still suffer from his loss. Nick was awarded the first Bollman Award posthumously.