Award of Excellence in Philanthropy


About the Awards

Which Award? Flow chart

Past Winners

Contact & FAQs

CMA Awards

Awards of Outstanding Achievement

Award of Distinguished Service

Fellows of the CMA

Barbara A. Tyler
Award in Museum Leadership

Dr. Shirley L. Thompson
Young Curators Award

Partnership Awards

History Alive! Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Museums

ICOM Canada’s International Achievement Award

Awards for Volunteers

Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

Museum Volunteer Award, presented by the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums


The Award of Excellence in Philanthropy seeks to honour donors to Canadian museums who, through their imaginative understanding of how museums can be made more relevant and sustainable in their work, have proposed and funded ideas that have shifted the way communities can benefit from the rich resources these institutions hold in trust for them.

While it’s a truism that an architect is only as good as his/her client, so we also believe that a philanthropist is only as good as the institution being given the benefit of support. The support is not in financial terms alone, but in innovative ideas that come with the means to expand the richness of the character, operations, and services that museums provide.

Philanthropy that significantly supports two or more museums and donations made within the last 5 years are eligible, as well as projects that link different museums in ways that help them to grow, think more ambitiously, reconsider aspects of their mission, and be attuned nationally and internationally as well as locally.


Nominations are open to individuals, foundations or organizations/companies within Canada.

Note: Sponsorships where the objective includes promotional consideration and where the support is not considered a charitable gift are not eligible. As well, donations of cultural property, while generous, will not be considered.


November 15 each year.


Nominations will be assessed against the following:

  • Impact: Has a significant and positive impact which helps strengthen museums’ goals and activities.
  • Innovation: Promotes new and creative approaches to supporting Canada’s museums.
  • Leadership: Champions museums through initiatives, donations or fundraising efforts for the public good, which extend beyond one’s business interests.
  • Relevance: Demonstrates relevance to the communities served.
  • Vision: Advances a vision of museums and their impact in society.

Nomination Instructions

Nominations may be made by any person or group involved in the philanthropic support being nominated, or by a third party, and must be sponsored by someone with individual or institutional membership in the CMA.

You simply have to complete and submit the nomination form to The form requires the following information:

The criteria are guidelines that the submission should address in the course of describing the reasons for the nomination. We have not set any strict rules as to the shape or extent of the nomination. We propose a document in the order of three or four pages in the form of a letter or essay giving the essential reasons and details for your submission. Supplementary material may also be included.

Nomination Form — PDF              Nomination Form — Word