Key Takeaways

  • Every year, NISC's annual Programs of Excellence Awards honor and promote the outstanding programs offered by senior centers across the country.

  • First-place and honorable mentions are given in each category.

Every year, the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) honors outstanding efforts made by senior centers across the nation to offer innovative, creative, and replicable programs for older adults. Each program is proof of the important work that happens at senior centers. If you have any questions about the awards or the selection process, please email

The 2021 Programs of Excellence competition is now open!

  • This year’s general categories are: Marketing/Public Relations, Cultural Programs, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Technology, and Hybrid Programming. Submit your application in one general category here.
  • This year’s highlighted category is: Addressing Social Isolation. Submit your application for the highlighted category here.

You may submit one entry only in a general program category. You may also submit one entry in the highlighted category. Cash prizes of $100 will be made to award winners in each of the six general program categories. A $300 cash prize will go to the winner of the highlighted category. These awards are open to all senior centers. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2021.

2020 Winners

Community Development

  • Winner: Senior Activity Center Parade: Developing and Expanding Community Relations, Southlake Senior Activity Center, Southlake, TX
  • Honorable mention: Community First Meal Program, Groton Senior Center, Groton, CT

Cultural Programs

  • Winner: Festival of the Arts, City of Calabasas Senior Center, Calabasas, CA
  • Honorable mention: An Afternoon with Mr. Branch Morgan III: Entertainment Today, but Survival of Yesterday. A Cultural Look from the Past, Essex Senior Center, Baltimore, MD

Health and Wellness

  • Winner: Bridges Health Winona, Winona Friendship Center, Winona, MN
  • Honorable mention: Journaling with Julie, Bykota Senior Center, Towson, MD


  • Winner: Natick Community Organic Farm and Senior Center, Natick Community Senior Center, Natick, MA
  • Honorable mention: The Mini Lunch Program, Milford Senior Center, Milford, CT

Special Events

  • Winner: From Parking Lot to Party Lot! Enriching the Well-Being of Older Adults, Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, Santa Clarita, CA
  • Honorable mention: You’ve Been Flocked, Pikesville Senior Center, Pikesville, MD


  • Winner: PACTV Guide, Duxbury Senior Center | Plymouth Center for Active Living | Kingston Center on Aging | Pembroke Center on Aging | PACTV, Duxbury, MA
  • Honorable mention: Connect with T.E.C.H. (Technology Education and Community Help), Forsyth County Senior Services, Cumming, GA


  • Winner: At Home Grab and Go Events, Dracut Senior Center, Dracut, MA
  • Honorable mention: The Art of Healthy Aging, Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, Norfolk, VA

2019 Winners

Community Development, Leadership, and Intergenerational 

  • Winner: Minds in Motion, The Center at Medfield, Medfield, MA
  • Honorable mention: Community Supper, Cohasset Elder Affairs, Cohasset, MA


  • Winner: Music and Memory at Kavod Senior Life, Kavod Senior Life, Denver, CO
  • Honorable mention: Seasoned Imaginations, Town and Country Senior Center, Tampa, FL


  • Winner: Baker’s Battle, Groton Senior Center, Connecticut
  • Honorable mention: See Them Shine, Edina Senior Center, Edina, MN

Health and Wellness 

  • Winner: UPSLIDE (Utilizing and Promoting Social Engagement in Loneliness, Isolation, and Depression in the Elderly), Tallahassee, FL
  • Honorable mention: The Joslyn Wellness Center, The Joslyn Center, Palm Desert, CA


  • Winner: R.I.S.E. & Shine Breakfast Program, Center in the Park, Philadelphia, PA
  • Honorable mention: From Garden 2 Senior’s Table, Department of Aging Services, Tampa, FL

Special Events

  • Winner: Intergenerational Back to School Block Party, Fleming Senior Center, Dundalk, MD
  • Honorable mention: Ageless Style: An Intergenerational Recyclable Fashion Show, Brandon Senior Center, Brandon, FL


  • Winner: Yoga with Yoni on Facebook Live, Kinship Care Resources Center, Jonesboro, GA
  • Honorable mention: An Interview with Dick Cavett, Mather Lifeways, Evanston, IL

The Arts

  • Winner: Woodbury Ukulele Band, Woodbury Senior Center, Woodbury, CT
  • Winner: Masters in Aging, Winona Friendship Center, Winona, MN