Leadership Award - We Raise Foundation

Richard E. Herman Leadership Award

 The Richard E. Herman Leadership Award is an opportunity to lift up the innovative, creative, and committed work of emerging leaders, encouraging and honoring them through a monetary award and support resources.

This year, we want to recognize the commitment and service of one Christian leader interrupting the cycles of poverty, violence, and inequality in the United States, whether through their professional work or as a volunteer. This focus is driven by an understanding that Jesus’ life, ministry, and teachings were incarnational. He lived among the people, with those on the margins of society, sharing in their suffering and pain, but also desiring and bringing about reconciliation and shalom.

Meet Our 2018 Leadership Award Honoree
Olivia Ojeda

About The Award

In recognition of their leadership to interrupt cycles of poverty, violence, and inequality, the honoree will receive the following from We Raise Foundation:
• A cash award of $4,000
• Invitation to The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) Conference –Registration, travel, and lodging is sponsored by We Raise Foundation
• Invitation to We Raise Foundation’s Annual Leadership Convening, a professional development gathering of inspired emerging leaders ready to network, learn, and reflect –Hosted and sponsored by We Raise Foundation

Who We Are Looking For

The honoree will be an emerging Christian leader between 20 and 35 years of age whose professional or volunteer efforts are interrupting the cycles that perpetuate poverty, violence, and inequality in the United States.

The Leadership Award seeks to highlight a leader who works tirelessly for the good of their community. This is someone who cares deeply about the injustices experienced by their neighbors and works alongside people for solutions that transform communities. This award recognizes a leader who has spent significant time in the community, listening, developing, and growing together. Rooted in the Gospel, this leader’s work is a reflection of their love for Jesus to recognize the Imago Dei in their neighbors.

The honoree will be chosen by a panel of practitioners who have professional experience recognizing effective leadership as well as an understanding of the challenges of systemic poverty. Collectively, the panel will value realistic and authentic approaches to solutions that are informed by the wisdom and experience of the local community and grounded in the assets of that community.

More Information

Who is We Raise Foundation? We Raise Foundation, formerly Wheat Ridge Ministries, has a long history of equipping bold Christian leaders as they serve the needs of their community. The primary way we do this is through our two grant programs. Our Emerging Leader Grant program, which is specifically focused on ministries led by young adults, has awarded 84 grants in excess of $600,000 in the past seven years.

Who is Richard E. Herman? Richard E. Herman served as the fourth president of We Raise Foundation, formerly Wheat Ridge Ministries, from 2006-2015. He joined Wheat Ridge in 1992 as vice president and was appointed vice president/chief operating officer in 2002. Rick’s enthusiasm for and commitment to emerging leaders in his work continues on through this award.

What is The Christian Community Development Association? The Christian Community Development Association’s mission is to inspire, train, and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities. Learn more about CCDA at ccda.org. Learn about the CCDA Conference here.

How To Apply

Apply before the July 15th, 2019 deadline!

We Raise Foundation encourages leaders of color to apply.

Applications are considered complete when an essay addressing the five questions below (5200 character limit) and two references are submitted. References will be notified the same day as the essay is submitted and are due on July 17, 2019. Competitive essay submissions include stories and specific numbers to describe the scope of the work.

  • Who are you? (Include your name, location, age and your work).
  • How has your service and leadership within your community interrupted the cycle of poverty, violence and inequality?
  • How is this work a reflection of your calling to follow Jesus?
  • What creative problem-solving, new approach or narrative shift have you employed in your community
  • What inspires you to continue this work?

We suggest you compose your essay in a word processing tool such as Microsoft Word to ensure you don’t go over the character limit and then copy and paste it into the form.

Do you know someone who would be a great fit for this award? Nominate them today and they will be encouraged to apply!

Questions? Please contact our Program Department via email at or call 800.762.6748.

2018 Expert Panel


Oscar Benavides
Vice President of Strategic Initiatives
Five Two

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Noel Castellanos
Christian Community Development Association

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Marco Dodd
Assistant Director

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Lisa Sharon Harper
Founder and President

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Erna Kim Hackett
Executive Pastor
The Way Berkeley

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Dr. Mary Nelson
Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute

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Donnita Travis
Founder and Executive Director
By The Hand Club for Kids

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Past Recipients



Olivia Ojeda



Justin Beene



Kristian Blackmon

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