Winners picked for the Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation; Brooklyn-based job training program to receive $35,000 prize

The Drucker Institute has announced this year’s winners of the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation.

The “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program, which enables unemployed and low-income New Yorkers to start careers in the TV and film industry, was awarded the $35,000 first-place prize. Co-sponsored by Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, a nonprofit organization, and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the program offers four weeks of free training in both “hard” and “soft” skills followed by two years of job placement and career advancement services.

This year’s runner-up ($7,500) was Rx Partnership in Richmond, Va., which distributes free medication to the uninsured through health centers around the state. Additionally, DIGNITY Programs—operated through Catholic Charities Community Services in Phoenix—was given the third-place award ($5,000) for its innovative efforts to help former prostitutes rebuild their lives. In all, more than 340 organizations applied for these honors.

“Long before it was fashionable, Peter Drucker taught us that nonprofit organizations are often leaders in innovation—doing things with a creative spirit and effectiveness that most businesses can only hope to emulate,” said Rick Wartzman, director of the Drucker Institute. “This year’s winners underscore just what Peter was talking about.”

The Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation has been given annually since 1991 to recognize existing programs that have made a real difference in the lives of the people they serve. Consideration is based on Drucker’s definition of innovation—change that creates a new dimension of performance. Cash prizes are designed to celebrate, inspire and further the work of innovative nonprofit organizations in the United States.

The “Made in NY” PA Training Program impressed the judges, in part, because of the success it has achieved in a relatively short period of time. The program was launched only last year; it has since certified 101 individuals as “Made in NY” PAs and has placed every single one of them into the production workforce. Additionally, several of the program’s graduates have already moved into higher positions.

The Production Assistant Training Program builds on a well-known marketing campaign. The “Made in NY” Incentive Program offers film and television productions a combination of tax and marketing credits, along with various customer services, for shooting in the Big Apple.

“By partnering with the mayor’s film office, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations was able to take advantage of the ‘Made in NY’ brand and use it to help serve those who are truly in need,” Wartzman said. “Drucker wrote that any successful organization needs to do two things constantly to thrive: innovate and market. ‘Made in NY’ earns high marks on both counts—and we hope, given that cities and states all over the country have film commissions of their own, others will take notice of this program and use it as a model.”

According to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the “Made in NY” PA Training Program also addresses a growing market need, as New York City last year had the highest number of television and film shooting days in its history. Additionally, the program targets widespread unemployment and lack of career opportunities among young African-American and Latino New Yorkers. Ninety-seven percent of those who have gone through the program are people of color, and all are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We’ve had so much success because we’re helping people develop skills the employer really wants,” said Katy Finch, the Program Director of the “Made in NY” PA Training Program. “The staff has a production background, so we really understand what happens on a set.”

“PAs are the first point of contact that residents have with film and television shoots on our city streets,” said Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. “The ‘Made in NY’ PA Training Program is committed to providing well-trained PAs from diverse backgrounds for the hundreds of films, television shows, and commercials that come to New York each year. These talented graduates further the goals of smooth relations between productions and communities. We’re very proud the program has already accomplished so much.”

The Drucker Institute will honor the winner and two runners-up on Nov. 19 in New York at a gala dinner co-hosted by the Leader to Leader Institute. The dinner will be preceded by an all-day conference, “Creating the Future of Nonprofits: Opportunity and Innovation in the Social Sector.”