State Policy Network

Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement

The Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement celebrate state think tanks doing exceptional work to develop and disseminate credible policy research and ideas that can help states implement free-market solutions that will have national impact. The awards are named in honor of our Network’s most iconic policy maven and a friend to many, Bob Williams.

Who can apply for the awards?

Any affiliate state think tank can apply for any of the four award categories.

  • Projects/wins occurring between June 1, 2019 and June 24, 2020, will be eligible.
  • Nominations will open on April 30 and close on June 24.
  • Only state think tanks are eligible to receive these awards.
  • Nominations can be submitted by any staffer within a state think tank.
  • SPN members are welcome to nominate each other, provided they can fully complete the nomination details.
  • State think tanks can submit nominations in multiple categories. State think tanks can also submit multiple projects/wins in the same category, provided the submissions are for separate, distinct projects or successes.

How are the award winners chosen?

  • SPN’s selection committee will select three finalists in each category. The Network will be invited to vote on the finalists to help choose who should win in each category.
  • 2020 Voting will take place between July 9 and July 24. Voting on the finalists will be open to the public.
  • Votes will be limited to one vote per person/user in each category.

2020 Award Timeline

April 30: Nominations open. All SPN state think tank affiliates are eligible.
June 24: Nomination deadline. 
July 9: 2020 finalists announced, Network voting window opens.
July 24: Network voting window closes.
August 2020: Winners announced at SPN’s 28th Annual Meeting.

Winners in each category will be announced at SPN’s 28th Annual Meeting.

Best Issue Campaign

Recognizes the organization that ran the highest quality issue education campaign. Submissions will be judged based on measures of execution not necessarily if a win was ultimately achieved. Measure of execution include strategic thinking, exemplary use of outreach tactics, ability to reach target audiences, and team alignment.

Nominate your organization for the 2020 Best Issue Campaign award.

See the 2019 Best Issue Campaign finalists.

Most Influential Research

Recognizes the organization whose original research achieved a high level of influence in academia, media, or policy-making arenas. Submissions should describe one piece of research which is either a single publication or a closely related series of research publications (for example, one white paper, a collection of essays on a single topic, or a book). Submissions should also include information about the impact that the research publication made and clearly communicate the measured outcomes and results.

Nominate your organization for the 2020 Most Influential Research award.

See the 2019 Most Influential Research finalists.

Biggest Home State Win

Recognizes the organization that achieved a significant policy win in their home state. Your win can come from any jurisdiction in your home state, local government, executive, judicial, legislative, or etc. Submissions will be judged on the significance of the victory and how important the organization’s contribution was to the victory.

Note: submissions for Biggest Home State Win can also be considered for Biggest Win.

Nominate your organization for the 2020 Biggest Home State Win award.

See the 2019 Biggest Home State Win finalists.

Biggest Win

Recognizes the organization whose effort was instrumental toward securing a significant policy victory this year. Wins can be one state or a multi-state effort; offense or defense; state or national. Submissions will be judged on the significance of the victory and how important the organization’s contribution was to the victory.

Nominate your organization for the 2020 Biggest Win award.

See the 2019 Biggest Win finalists.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required in order to nominate a think tank?

In preparation for your nominations, you may find it helpful to gather the following information prior to filling out each nomination form. You do not have to provide information in every category, but providing as much information as possible will improve the quality of the nomination.

  • Your contact information & contact information of organization (if you’re nominating another state think tank)
  • What problem or opportunity the campaign/research successfully addressed and who was helped. 
  • Details about specific objectives and how specific departments helped contribute to the effort.
  • Links to or copies of campaign collateral – videos, ads, publications, infographics, etc.
  • Information about the impact this success has had on the organization and/or the Network.

Can I nominate more than one organization?

Yes! We’re excited to see the impact so many state think tanks are having in their communities, their state, and even the nation. You are welcome to nominate every  state think tank you believe should be recognized.

Although only one think tank will be selected as the winner in each category, the impressive work of every nominee will be featured on and through other SPN channels.

Can I submit nominations in more than one category?

Please do! You are encouraged to submit nominations for different projects from one state think tank or submit nominations for multiple think tanks. If you’re unsure whether a project should be considered for “Biggest Win” or “Biggest State Impact,” feel free to indicate on your nomination form that you would like the nomination to be considered for both.

Can I nominate my own organization?

Absolutely. State think tanks are encouraged to let us (and the Network) know about your influential achievements.

Can I nominate an organization even if I don’t have all the requested information?

The more information in the nomination we have, the better. If your knowledge of a project is limited to basic facts, consider encouraging the state think tank to nominate themselves. You’ll have an opportunity to vote your support once the nominees are announced.

What types of think tank projects or successes have been finalists in the past?

Finalists have spanned a wide range of issues and outcomes. Check out the 2019 finalists for more details.

About Bob Williams

Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Public Policy

Bob is the founder of the Washington Freedom Foundation and is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of fiscal and tax policies, election reform, and disaster preparedness. Bob is currently the Director of State Budget Solutions a project of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Bob holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Penn State and was a Certified Public Accountant. In that capacity, he served as an auditor at the Pentagon and Post Office for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He served five terms in the Washington State Legislature and was the 1988 Republican nominee for governor of Washington State.