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ASU executive director receives prestigious nonprofit award

February 03, 2014

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance presented professor Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, with the prestigious H. Roe Bartle Momentum Award. The award presentation took place in Chicago, Ill., in January at the annual Alliance Management Institute, an educational conference geared toward students planning a career in the nonprofit sector.

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, formerly American Humanics, Inc., was founded in 1948 by H. Roe Bartle, scout executive and mayor of Kansas City, Mo. The national award recognizes an individual, group or organization that has strengthened Bartle’s vision, and has enabled the Alliance to better fulfill its mission of strengthening the social sector with a talented, prepared workforce.

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance is a national flagship program that recruits, educates and inspires undergraduate students across disciplines for nonprofit service careers. Ashcraft has served since 1984 as the executive director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance at ASU. His leadership over the last 30 years has resulted in a number of noteworthy achievements, including, in part, the development of the nation’s first bachelor’s degree in nonprofit leadership and management, and helping over 400 students to earn their Certified Nonprofit Professional credentials.

Ashcraft has served on several Alliance board committees before beginning his current board term in April 2013. He continues to provide leadership to campus directors that are part of the Alliance network. He is recognized nationally for his applied work in the sector, and he was recently named to The NonProfit Times 2012 Power & Influence Top 50 list.

Ashcraft continues his steadfast work by representing the Alliance at the national level with groups such as the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. He is also a professor of nonprofit studies in ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development, part of the College of Public Programs, and has contributed numerous scholarly articles, book chapters and monographs to advance understanding of the nonprofit and philanthropic studies field.

“The program Dr. Ashcraft has helped build at ASU is the model we all aspire to create. The many programs his leadership has informed around the world stand as testament to the impact of this thoughtful and humble servant. Dr. Ashcraft is a modern-day H. Roe Bartle,” said Robert F. Long, retired vice president of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and distinguished professor of nonprofit leadership at Murray State University. “His long-term commitment to the core principles of service, his tireless dedication to preparing upcoming generations of community leaders and his creative contributions to the [Nonprofit Leadership Alliance] American Humanics program all stand testimony to what this important civil society leader represents,” he added.

In addition to Ashcraft, an H. Roe Bartle Momentum Award was given to Will Conway, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of Mutual of America. The 2014 honorees are significant in that they are the first recipients ever to be awarded with this honor. The honorees were chosen by an awards selection committee comprised of key Alliance stakeholders, including affiliated faculty members, alumni, nonprofit partners, board members and sponsors. The selection of the award recipients was based on specific criteria for each respective award.

“Dr. Ashcraft’s contributions exemplify the criteria established for this honor. While growing the capacity of Arizona’s nonprofit organizations, Dr. Ashcraft maintains a strong commitment to the core undergraduate concepts envisioned by H. Roe Bartle: challenging courses, professional development, networking opportunities and co-curricular experiences to better prepare graduates for a career in the sector,” said Jonathan Koppell, dean of ASU's College of Public Programs. “We are enormously proud of Dr. Ashcraft's commitment to this important work. Under his leadership, the ASU Lodestar Center has become the ‘go-to’ resource for the nonprofit community throughout Arizona. He is also recognized as one of our nation’s most innovative thinkers in this space, providing leadership and addressing the needs of our emerging leaders as they prepare to build effective nonprofits for impact.”

“This was such a surprising honor and I am most humbled by receiving this national recognition,” said Ashcraft. “The credit goes to supportive administrators, innovative faculty, incredible students/alumni, committed funders and inspiring nonprofit sector leaders who see the value in all that we have been able to accomplish.”

For additional information regarding any of the ASU Lodestar Center’s programs, visit, call 602.496.0500 or email

Written by:

Nicole Almond Anderson,

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