Dear AEA members,

As a board, to better serve our members, we have been looking at every aspect of our organization with an explicit focus on identifying areas that are out of alignment with our values. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this need for a deep-dive into the complexity of association programming . This necessitates pausing and revisiting some of our existing programs, processes, and procedures to bring them all into alignment. The Topical Interest Group approval process and the Local Affiliate memorandum of agreement development process are two recent examples. Both of these processes are currently under review and revision until the end of 2020. 

This year, we looked closely at the AEA awards process and determined that it too required re-alignment. The AEA board voted unanimously to pause awards and to improve not only the processes associated with them, but also their meaning and service to the overall Ends Policies for the organization. A task force, which will report to the Board, will be convened to look at awards more closely and craft new and improved processes reflecting who we are and what we stand for.  As a result of this pause, AEA will not be distributing awards in 2020 and looks to reinstate the awards program in 2021

This was not an easy decision. In the end, given our own observations, the Membership Engagement, Leadership and Diversity (MELD) report to the Board of Directors, feedback from the awards committee, and our commitment to living our values, we determined it was the right thing to do.

While AEA views this realignment as urgent and necessary, we recognize that time has already been spent developing materials. If you have already submitted a packet for consideration for the 2020 AEA Awards, please be on the lookout for additional next steps and information regarding your materials from the Awards Working Group and the AEA Board. If you are in the process of completing an awards packet, please pause material collection and notify letter writers of this pause.

Change is never easy. And, at times it cannot be incremental. We look forward to rolling out an awards process in 2021 that more accurately reflects not only who we are now, but who and how we aspire to be in the world.

If you have any questions, please contact us at awards@eval.org .

Sincerely,
AEA Board of Directors