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Celebrating Black History Month, Leadership, & Service

2021 Black History Month Leadership & Service Awards

Black History Month is a part of a living, breathing legacy of the significant contributions of Black leaders and volunteers.

In celebration of Black History Month, nominations are currently being accepted by the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism for the Annual Black History Month Leadership & Service Awards–in coordination with the Banneker-Douglass Museum, the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, and the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

This program recognizes Maryland-based, African American & Diaspora-founded organization or individual that has demonstrated commitment and dedication to Maryland through significant and direct volunteer service. The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism is looking forward to recognizing and honoring Marylanders who continue to rise up and lead Maryland through service.  Learn more about previous recipients: 20202019, and 2018.

Recognize and Celebrate the 2021 Honorees here!


Any Maryland-based, African American & Diaspora-founded organization, individuals, or group of volunteers that has demonstrated commitment and dedication to Maryland through significant and direct volunteer service can be nominated. The nominee’s volunteer service must occur in Maryland and must be for the direct benefit of Maryland citizens and/or the environment.

  • The volunteer service must not be provided for the sole benefit of a for-profit business.
  • Activities relating to political advocacy do not qualify for this award.
  • Self nominations by the organization or group, or nomination of family members/spouses will not be accepted.
  • No more than three nominations will be accepted from any individual nominator.
  • If a nominator submits multiple submissions for the same organization or group, only the most complete and/or most recent nomination will be accepted.
  • Past recipients of the Black History Month Community Leaders Awards/Leadership & Service Awards are not eligible to receive an award again.


Please include contact information for yourself and the nominee in the nomination form. In addition, the nominator must describe the organization’s volunteer service and accomplishments by answering the following questions in 1,000 characters or less each. A copy of your nomination will be emailed to you after it has been submitted, and you will be given access to edit your submission until January 15, 2021.

  • Provide a brief description of what the group/organization does.
  • Describe the need the group/organization meets.
  • Quantitative Data: What were outcomes of the nominee’s volunteerism between January 2020 and January 2021. Provide quantitative data citing number of volunteer hours provided, number of people served, etc., that shows results of the volunteer service activities.
  • Qualitative Data: What made this nominee’s volunteer service extraordinary? Provide anecdotal information, such as stories and quotes to demonstrate the non-measurable impact of the nominee’s volunteerism.

The form submission will be the only information used to select the recipients of the 2021 Black History Month Leadership & Service Awards. Learn more about previous recipients: 2020, 2019, and 2018.

Options to Submit Nomination:

  • Submit a virtual written nomination, here.
  • Print this file and mail your physical nomination response, postmarked by January 8, 2021, sent to:
    • ATTN: The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism – 2021 BHM L&S
      100 Community Place
      Crownsville, MD 21032
  • Alternative Submission Options – Verbal & ASL
    Any nominator may choose to submit the nomination narrative verbally or with American Sign Language. To submit:

    • email a .mp3 file (maximum 3 minutes per answer) to
    • email a .mp4 or .MOV file (maximum 3 minutes per answer) of your ASL submission to


If you’d like to encourage your community to nominate someone for the Governor’s Service Awards, share the following:


Right click and “Save Image” to download the flyer and graphic.

Review, Selection, and Notification

Each nomination received by the posted deadline will be peer reviewed by Maryland community members. The external peer reviewers will score and rank the nominations for the highest degree of meaningful volunteer commitment and service, making a transformative impact in the community. The Governor’s Office on Service & Volunteerism will finalize honorees based on geographic location.

Following a final approval process, the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism will notify each recipient of his/her selection early February. Selected groups and organizations will be honored virtually @MarylandGOSV Facebook and Twitter for the virtual Black History Month Leadership & Service Awards recognition. All selected recipients must provide a digital photograph or video for promotional use on social media, website, and in other recognition materials upon notification of selection.


Contact Joanna Chen, Outreach & Communications Coordinator, Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism, at

Upcoming Dates: Nominations for the annual Youth Service Awards opening in February, held in April.