By Lauren Kotkin, Exponent Philanthropy
Most people know the Emmys, Tonys, and Grammys, but have you heard of the Sammies, the “Oscars of government service”?
According to the Partnership for Public Service, the organization that administers the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, the medals are given to “outstanding federal employees who have made a significant difference in the lives of Americans.” It’s fascinating to learn about this year’s Sammie finalists, the work they are doing, and what inspires them to public service.
Given that some 14% of the DC-metro area workforce are federal employees (surprisingly, only the fourth most concentrated of U.S. metro areas), most DC-area residents know at least a person or two who works for the government. I’m not alone in knowing several: a senior grant manager at the IMLS, economist at the ERS, educator at SAAM, statistician at the GAO, attorney at the DOL, managing director at OPIC, and, of course, the familiar face at my neighborhood USPS. It is my own alphabet soup of friends and acquaintances.
At Exponent Philanthropy’s upcoming 2014 National Conference, October 30 – November 1 in Washington, DC, we’ve asked colleagues at Grantmakers for Education, Grantmakers In Health, Grantmakers in the Arts, and Environmental Grantmakers Association (GFE, GIH, GIA, and EGA, respectively – our own philanthropic alphabet soup!) to invite federal colleagues with whom they and their members have emerging or established relationships to join us for topical learning labs on Engaging With Government.