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“George Voinovich’s extraordinary success as senator, governor, and mayor was due in great part to his being a pioneering master of collaboration.” James E. Austin, Harvard Business School

Competitors sought for the
2nd Annual Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge

Theme: Collaborative Partnerships

Your NASPAA Institution is invited to join a ‘pitch competition’ in honor of the late Sen. George V. Voinovich who was known for his commitment to collaboration as a powerful tool for public change, as indicated by his posthumously published book, Empowering the Public-Private Partnership: The Future of America’s Local Government.

If your innovative collaborative partnership is selected as one of the three finalists, you will receive:

  • An opportunity to present your program publically at the 2018 NASPAA conference
  • A chance to win a $3,500 award to further your programmatic impact

To apply, interested faculty or professional staff must:

  • Notify Kate Leeman ( of your intent to submit a proposal by close of business, Friday, September 14, 2018. 
  • Have developed an innovative collaborative partnership to enhance students’ education, address an unmet need, and/or improve programmatic efficiency or effectiveness.
  • Create a two-page written overview, telling us what you are doing and how it works. Submission Deadline: September 21, 2018.
  • Be prepared to present your approach at the 2018 NASPAA Conference October 10-13th in Atlanta, Georgia if you are selected for the finalist pool.
  • All collaborative partnerships are eligible, but preference will be given to projects that incorporate elements of social innovation. That is, projects that create new solutions to challenging social or environmental problems by crossing traditional economic sector boundaries through their motivations, participants, funding, processes, or tools. This could include public-private partnerships, risk-based finance, incorporation of lean start-up, human-centered design, social return on investment, etc.

NASPAA’s Executive Director, Laurel McFarland, and Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Dean, Dr. Mark Weinberg, conceived of this competition as a commemoration of their mutual friend and colleague, Senator George V. Voinovich (July 15, 1936- June 12, 2016), whose nearly half-century of public service was a living example of servant leadership. He encouraged others to design and deliver practical solutions to challenging public problems, to expand higher education public-private partnerships, and, most importantly, to educate, mentor and develop people engaged in public service from every sector and walk of life.

Questions and applications
Questions and applications can be submitted to Kate Leeman, Voinovich School Director of Strategic Initiatives, at



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