Key Takeaways

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

  • For the the 2021 Awards, programs must have been conducted in a senior center between July 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021.

  • Top award winners of each general category and top virtual program will be announced in March.  

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.

The 2020 Programs of Excellence Awards applications closed on January 15, 2021. Top award winners of each general category and top virtual program will be announced in March.  

If you have any questions about the awards or the selection process, please email

2019 Programs of Excellence Winners

After reviewing 80 nominations, the NISC Committee selected eight award winners and eight honorable mentions. This years’ highlighted category was the Arts. Each program is proof of the important work that happens at senior centers.

Community Development, Leadership and Intergenerational Programs

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

Cultural Programs

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

Fundraising Programs

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

Health and Wellness Programs

  • 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

Nutrition Programs

  • 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

Technology Programs

  • 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 Program Award Winner

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

How to apply for NISC's Annual Program of Excellence Awards

The 2021 Programs of Excellence Awards applications will open in the Fall of 2021. Programs must have been conducted in a senior center between July 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021. Judges will look for programs that are innovative, creative, and easily replicated. Award categories are:

2021 General Categories:

  • Community Development, Leadership, and Intergenerational – Programs that increase community involvement in senior centers, enhance diversity appreciation and understanding, and develop strong leaders and volunteers
  • Cultural Programs – Programs that showcase performing and visual arts, music, and literature
  • Fundraising – Programs designed to generate revenue or in-kind sponsorship for the senior center
  • Health and Wellness – Programs designed to improve the health of seniors through screenings and education
  • Nutrition – Programs geared to improving nutritional health or combating malnutrition
  • Special Events – Programs designed as one-time events or projects; may be intergenerational, thematic, seasonal, or patriotic
  • Technology – Programs that teach the use of technology or use technology in program delivery

2021 Highlighted Program Area: TBD

There are two applications below. You may apply for an award in the General Category and the 2021 Highlighted Program Area Category. The rules are included in each form once they are available. Due to the potential volume of submissions, each senior center may submit only one entry in the General Category and one entry in the Highlighted Program Area Category.

The General Awards Category: Applications to open Friday, October 1, 2021

The Highlighted Program Area Category: Applications to open Friday, October 1, 2021

All completed nomination forms must be received no later than Friday, November 19, 2021.

2019 Programs of Excellence Manual

NISC members can download the full 2019 Programs of Excellence Manual from NISC Crossroads. Here are directions on how you can access the manual: 

  1. Log on the If you aren’t sure how to log in, please see this page.
  2. Click on the tab near the top labeled “Members Library”.
  3. Open the “NISC Members Only Documents” folder on the page displayed.
  4. Open the folder labeled “1 – Member Benefit Documents”.
  5. Check the box to the left of the Programs of Excellence Manual, and then click “Download” in the toolbar above the files.