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Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards

Commissioner's Awards emblemThe Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards recognize excellence among human services providers, counties, tribes, advocacy groups and other organizations that work in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to help people meet their basic needs so they can live in dignity and achieve their highest potential.

Nominate an organization for the award

Organizations recognized with Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards demonstrate significant initiative and/or innovation in serving human services program clients. See below for additional criteria. While individuals also make marked differences in the lives of Minnesotans, these awards celebrate organizations. Please do not nominate an individual.

Award criteria:

  • Supports the DHS mission to help people meet their basic needs so they can live in dignity and achieve their highest potential
  • Contributes to current DHS goals and priority projects
  • Demonstrates best practices
  • Achieves results that impact clients
  • Partners with others in the human services system

Nominations are due by 5 p.m. Monday, April 15, 2019.


Past Commissioner’s Award winners

In 2018, the Minnesota Department of Human Services recognized seven programs from across the state with Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards for their outstanding contributions to human services clients:

  • Franklin Industries and Cedar Mountain Cougar Cub Child Care
  • Life House
  • Red Lake Nation Oshkiimaajitahdah
  • St. Paul Police Department, Cops Autism Response Education (CARE)
  • Volunteers of America, Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis and Jewish Family Service of St. Paul; in partnership with GlobeGlow Consulting & Research
  • White Earth Coordination Assessment Resources & Education (WECARE)

Learn more about their work in these brief videos and in a news release about the 2018 awards.

VOA - Minnesota, JFCS of Minneapolis, JFS of St. Paul, and GlobeGlow Consulting
3:11
The Volunteers of America - Minnesota (VOA), Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis (JFCS), Jewish Family Service of St. Paul (JFS), and GlobeGlow Consulting & Research received 2018 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards for their contributions to human services and their communities. Each of these organizations demonstrated a commitment to health equity and providing culturally responsive care in their work to identify and engage diverse populations at-risk of or facing Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
Cougar Cub Child Care Center
2:50
Franklin Industries, Cedar Mountain Schools and the Cougar Cub Child Care Center received a 2018 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award for their collaborative work to address the need for affordable child care in their community. The Cougar Cub Child Care Center aims to provide children with social, emotional, physical and cognitive opportunities that allow them to develop to their fullest potential.
Life House
2:45
Life House received a 2018 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award for providing disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth in the Duluth area with a place of safety, acceptance and belonging. Life House operates under a "no reject/no eject" philosophy, ensuring no young person is left to fend for themselves on the streets.
White Earth Coordination Assessment Resources & Education (WECARE)
2:44
The White Earth Coordination Assessment Resources & Education (WECARE) program received a 2018 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award for their innovative, family-centered approach to human services delivery. WECARE ensures that families in need receive wraparound services to help them meet their highest potential.
Cops Autism Response Education - St. Paul Police Department
3:48
The St. Paul Police Department's Cops Autism Response Education (CARE) program received a 2018 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award for their work to help police officers serve people on the autism spectrum and their families in ways that traditional law enforcement approaches may not be able to. The CARE program has trained St. Paul Police Department officers to better identify and understand "invisible disabilities," leading to better outcomes for both community members and officers.
Oshkiimaajitahdah
2:48
Red Lake Nation's Oshkiimaajitahdah received a 2018 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award for their work to help Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program participants become self-sufficient while connecting them with cultural programs. Through a wide variety of services, Oshkiimaajitahdah focuses on creating professionals who can lead and support their families through meaningful work.
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