John F. Helmer Professional Development Awards



Orbis Cascade AllianceJohn F. Helmer Professional Development Award

The Orbis Cascade Alliance promotes professional development and engagement in support of our strategic initiatives, and announced the creation of the John F. Helmer professional development award program in 2017. The current award program supports the efforts to promote collaboration and learning across the Orbis Cascade Alliance.

For example, funding could support a workshop, a one-day symposium, a collaborative learning program, or a guest speaker/trainer. Alliance working groups and individual member staff are encouraged to submit applications.

The total annual funding for Helmer awards is $5,000, with average award amounts of $2000 or less per project. Projects must be completed within 12 months of the date of the award. All recipients of the award agree to share the results of the project with the Board as well as with the Alliance community. The method of results sharing will be determined by project leaders in collaboration with the Board upon receipt of the final project report. Projects are first and foremost to support personnel working in Alliance institutions. 

Award Objectives

  • To cultivate a strong professional cohort that perpetuates the spirit and practice of collaboration.
  • To contribute to the growth of innovative and creative projects associated with the Alliance strategic agenda.
  • To support development of programs, activities and services that benefit the entire Alliance.  


  • Submit a complete Application by the deadline
  • Preference will be given to projects that most strongly align with the award objectives 
  • Review committee will consider:
    • How much interest is there likely to be in the project content across Alliance membership?
    • How practical is the implementation plan? Do we have confidence that it will be successfully carried out, if awarded?
    • To what extent does the proposal create unique or new opportunities to fulfill the award objectives? Does it offer opportunities that are otherwise unavailable? Is the proposal likely to initiate or forge new partnerships or forms of collaboration? 
  • Agree to prepare a short project report to share with the Alliance after completion of the project 

Application Guidelines

Applications must include:

  • Project Summary: No longer than 2 pages, with a description, objectives, and a clear statement of connection to the award objectives.  
  • Project Leader: Name and contact information of an Alliance member library employee who will take primary responsibility for the project.
  • Designated Financial Contact and Funds Recipient: Name and contact information for an individual who will make reimbursement/disbursement requests and receive award funds.
  • Letter of Support from the project leader’s library dean or director.
  • Letters of Support from any partner organizations that are contributing resources
  • Detailed Budget: Demonstrate how Alliance funds would be used. Provide a breakdown of expenses; in-kind support; individuals to be paid directly; and individuals projected to be reimbursed.
  • Implementation Plan and Timeline: Include detailed plans for any events or other activities. The project must be completed within 12 months of receiving the award.

Please note that the Helmer Award is first and foremost to support personnel working in Alliance institutions.  If a public event is planned, it is important to coordinate registration to ensure that Alliance personnel are given sufficient time to register prior to opening an event up to a larger community.

How to apply

Send your application summary with endorsement and budget to


Submissions are due TBA