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Highland Park Awards: Call for Nominations

City of Highland Park Invites Nominations for 2024 Awards
Nominations due December 31, 2023; Winners to be recognized at a ceremony in April

November 1, 2023 – The City of Highland Park is now accepting nominations for several awards honoring the outstanding achievements and contributions of community members and organizations. Nominations for the 2024 Highland Park Awards may be submitted online via the City’s website at through December 31, 2023.

Anyone may nominate an individual member of the Highland Park community or a Highland Park business or nonprofit organization for an award; nominators should carefully review the award descriptions and nomination requirements before submitting their nomination. The recipients of the Arts, Environmental, and Humanitarian awards will be selected by the City Council with input from City advisory groups. Nominations for the Character Counts Pillar Awards will be reviewed by the Character Counts Steering Committee, a joint endeavor of the City, the Park District of Highland Park, North Shore School District 112, and Highland Park High School.

The City has also opened submissions for the annual Capture the Heart of Highland Park photography contest, open now through December 31, 2023. The Cultural Arts Advisory Group selects the winners in three categories: arts & architecture, environmental, and daily life. Community members are invited to choose the “community favorite” photograph. Winning photographs are displayed throughout the City over the course of the year. For the first time, in 2024, the photography contest winners will be recognized as part of the annual awards ceremony.

In April 2024, the City will host an awards ceremony to recognize the winners. Details will be posted to the City’s website at when available.

The City of Highland Park Awards are:

Arts Award

The Arts Award recognizes outstanding achievement in, or contributions to, the visual, performing, literary, and digital arts in Highland Park. Nominations will be reviewed by the Cultural Arts Advisory Group. In 2023, Rhoda Pierce was recognized for her decades of public service as an arts administrator, advocate for the cultural arts, and community leader, particularly in her capacity as the longtime executive director of the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Environmental Award

The Environmental Award recognizes individuals and businesses who have made substantial contributions to improve the environment or who have pursued significant and impactful projects to enhance sustainability in Highland Park. Nominations will be reviewed by the Sustainability Advisory Group. In 2023, Park District of Highland Park Natural Areas manager Rebecca Grill was honored for her more than 19 years of service to improve and expand Highland Park’s natural areas, enhance public nature education programs, and engage hundreds of residents through volunteerism.

Humanitarian Award

The Humanitarian Award is presented to an outstanding Highland Park individual who has rendered significant, sustained service to the Highland Park community. Nominations will be reviewed by the Human Relations Advisory Group. In 2023, the City Council recognized the entire Highland Park community for the many individual and collective acts of service and generosity that emerged in the aftermath of the Highland Park shooting, including through donations, volunteerism, art & cultural projects, social service supports, and more.

Character Counts Pillar Awards

The Character Counts Pillar Awards recognize community members of all ages who have demonstrated the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. In 2023, more than 30 community members of all ages were honored for their exemplification of the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

For more information about the Highland Park Awards, including lists of previous winners, visit