Kris Sinclair Leadership Award (Final Year!)


The Kris Sinclair Leadership Award is given to an ACSO Organizational Member that demonstrates recent and measurable leadership initiatives by its staff and/or board in one or more of the following areas: finance, governance, staff development, audience development, education, or community engagement.

The use of the $5,000 award funds is restricted to a specific purpose: to invest back in the capacity and skill building of the awardees’ staff and board. The way the awardee makes this investment is open-ended and up to the most relevant needs of the Organization.

Some examples of ways you could use the award include, but are not limited to, paying for staff/board members to attend conferences (other than ACSO’s Annual Conference) or other kinds of training opportunities, holding a board retreat or board-specific professional development, or hiring a consultant to help with planning or strategy.

This award is made possible by the Kris Sinclair Fund for Professional Development that consists of contributions intentionally made in Kris Sinclair’s name to support professional development and technical assistance offered by the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO). Sinclair was the executive director of the Association for 31 years and provided members with technical assistance, professional development opportunities, and consultation on myriad orchestra management topics. This is the final year for this award as the fund will be spent down after the 2021 award has been given, so don't miss your last opportunity to apply!


Applicants must be current ACSO Organizational Members at the date of the application and must remain a member in good standing throughout the award period.

Deadline and How to Apply

Through an online application, Organizations must:

  • Demonstrate how, through “above and beyond” efforts by staff and/or board, it has achieved recent, measurable successes in one or more of the following areas: finance, governance, staff development, audience development, education, or community engagement.
  • Describe how the award funds from Kris Sinclair Leadership Award will be used to invest back in the development of its staff and board. The awardee may ultimately use the funds to build staff and/or board capacity in a different way than initially indicated, but should let ACSO know if the plans change significantly.

Applicant Organizations will be reviewed on the impact that their recent accomplishment had on the overall viability of their organization, in addition to a compelling case for the Organization’s use of the award funds. Phone interviews with finalists may be requested.

The winning Organization will be asked to submit a final report by September 30, 2023 detailing the use of the funds and the impact of receiving the funds. The winning Organization may also be called on to provide future Conference or webinar reports and/or testimonials on the impact from its Kris Sinclair Leadership Award.

Click here to fill out the award application. Applications close on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Once you begin the application, you will need to complete it in its entirety, as the portal will not allow you to save partially completed information or edit your response once it is complete. You can preview the questions here but you must complete the final report online.)

The ACSO Awards Committee will complete its review and selection process and the winner will be notified by late June 2021 and the public announcement to the field will be made in July. ACSO will provide the winning organization with a press release that can be customized to send to local media. The recipient will receive a cash award of $5,000.

The awardee will be recognized at ACSO’s virtual Annual Meeting during the 2021 Annual Conference Online (Aug 2-6).

Questions? Contact ACSO at [email protected] or 800-495-2276.