A new award recognizes faculty members, staff, and graduate students at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development for their work in Georgia’s communities.

At Monday’s meeting of the institute’s advisory board, Fanning Institute Director Matt Bishop named faculty member Lauren Healey and graduate student Tara Gancos Crawford as the inaugural winners of the Sisson Community Leadership Development Award.

Through this award, made possible by the Dan Sisson Community Leadership Development Fund, the Fanning Institute will recognize outstanding work done each year by one faculty or staff member and one graduate student engaged in community leadership programming in underserved communities throughout Georgia.

Healey, a Public Service Associate at the institute, focuses on youth leadership development. She specializes in program design, delivery and evaluation of youth programs, trainings for diverse audiences, and technical assistance to communities.

“I am excited to receive this award,” said Healey. “It’s an honor to be nominated and have my work recognized by the institute.”

Meanwhile, Crawford, a doctoral candidate in the Integrative Conservation Program through the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, is a graduate assistant at the institute working on ways to improve the analytical rigor of program impact evaluations for the Fanning Institute.

“I am honored to receive this award, especially after seeing the institute’s end-of-semester student presentations last month,” said Crawford. “We have many amazing students at the Fanning Institute. Being recognized among so many high-caliber peers emboldens my dedication to my work.”

After presenting the awards to Healey and Crawford, Bishop congratulated them on their work.

“Both Lauren and Tara are very deserving of this award,” said Bishop. “Their work has helped individuals and communities around Georgia. We are honored to recognize their efforts and help them grow professionally.”

Crawford and Healey will each receive $500 from the fund to pursue professional development and continuing education activities.

Healey said she plans to use the funds to pursue certification opportunities that would strengthen the institute and perhaps allow it to offer a new program or service, and Crawford said she wants to put her awards towards training opportunities to help grow her facilitation and dialogue skills.

Bishop emphasized that this award could not happen without the generosity of Dan Sisson, who serves as a member of the institute’s advisory board.

“We sincerely appreciate Dan’s commitment to the Fanning Institute and leadership development,” said Bishop. “With his support, the institute’s faculty and staff will have an opportunity to further develop and expand leadership development to more areas of our state.”

Sisson said he proudly supports the Fanning Institute’s work.

“When I think about the legacy I want to leave for the Sisson name, I thought about community development and leadership education,” said Sisson. “I have seen their importance firsthand.”

Along with receiving the monetary award, Healey and Crawford, as well as future Sisson Award winners, will be recognized through a permanent wall display at the J.W. Fanning Building on the UGA campus.