The Nancy Burgess-Hall Award recognizes and honors a member or ally of the disability community who demonstrates a strong commitment to protecting and advancing the rights of people with disabilities through civic engagement. The award recognizes an individual who demonstrates significant and collaborative efforts to create systemic change for Floridians with disabilities.
The Nancy Burgess-Hall Award is presented yearly by the Access the Vote Florida Coalition in honor of Nancy Burgess-Hall, an involved, dedicated, and respected member of the Access the Vote Florida voting coalition and impactful advocate for the disability community, her local community, and many advocacy organizations.
Nominees must demonstrate a strong commitment to the advancement of civic engagement opportunities for people with disabilities. Nominees may not be a prior recipient of the award. Anyone can submit a nomination. Self-submitted nominations are accepted. The award is not age-restricted and youth are encouraged to apply.
For full consideration, the following must be submitted, via the nomination form on this page:
- Nomination: Basic information form and a nomination letter of 500 words or less addressing how the nominee meets the criteria outlined below.
- References: Contact information for at least 2 individuals who can speak to the nominee’s accomplishments.
- Letters of Support (Optional): Letters in support of the nominee, addressing the criteria below. No more than 1 page per letter.
- Supporting Documentation (Optional): Other documentation of the nominee’s accomplishments in support of the criteria below. Examples might include but are not limited to: Event Flyers, Letters of Recognition, Public Announcements, Social Media posts, Certificates of Achievement.
- Interview: Top candidates will be contacted for a virtual interview with the award committee.
Please use specific examples to describe the nominee’s merits for receiving the award. Nominees should have demonstrated some level of success in their endeavors at this point in their careers. Letters should address, as precisely as possible, how the nominee has consistently shown outstanding or extraordinary performance in the following areas:
Civic Engagement: Individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues impacting the disability community. Civic engagement can take many forms, from individual volunteerism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. It can include efforts to directly address an issue, work with others in a community to solve a problem or interact with the institutions of representative democracy.
Inclusiveness: Willingness to involve all people and ensure equitable access to opportunities and resources.
Cross-Collaboration: Ability to work with and alongside other individuals, agencies, and organizations for the good of all disabled Floridians.
Dedication: A demonstrated long-term commitment to advancing the participation of the disability community in civic activity and advocacy.
About Nancy Burgess-Hall
Nancy was a born activist. From childhood she was surrounded by family and friends who were openly civically engaged and invested in making the world a better place. It was in grad school, while attending a disability-related legal rights conference, that her advocacy connected her to her lifelong advocacy partner and husband, Doug Hall.
As an educator, Nancy helped many young people with communication disorders during her long career as a speech-language pathologist in the Volusia County School system. A highly effective advocate herself, together she and Doug made a formidable team. The two of them did truly trailblazing work in Florida even before implementation of the ADA, achieving a marked impact in the state. It is because of Nancy, Doug, and other dedicated activists, that we have accessible voting, media, and transportation available today in Florida.
Doug and Nancy experienced disability differently. At two years of age, Nancy was diagnosed with severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and eventually spent much of her life in a wheelchair. Doug became totally blind at age eight as the result of an accident. Nonetheless, they reinforced each other in their advocacy endeavors. Nancy dedicated a lot of time and effort to disability causes, and she offered support and care to individuals as well. It was because of her dedication and solidarity that she was beloved and respected throughout the Florida disability community.
Nancy was both a leader and a doer. She actively contributed concrete, practical support for her advocacy undertakings, from creating and editing key documents for multiple organizations, and serving on various advisory councils and boards, to documenting events with her photography, and providing transportation in her wheelchair accessible vehicle.
She was the recipient of numerous awards and commendations from both local and state agencies and organizations. Among many others, she received recognition from the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), from the Halifax Council of the Blind, and the Volusia County Department of Elections. The Florida Council of the Blind presented her with three prestigious statewide awards and, since her death, will be annually awarding the Nancy Burgess-Hall Advocacy Scholarship.
With her extensive knowledge, experience, and expertise in disability organizing and advocacy, Nancy was a vital asset to the Access the Vote Florida (ATVFL) coalition. While truly an intellectual leader, she knew and recognized the importance of coalition-building, and of empowering others to grow and learn. Nancy will be remembered as a well-respected, trusted, and influential leader within the ATVFL Coalition and the broader Florida disability community. By her example, she continues to provide a memorable model for effective advocacy.
Click here to open the Nomination Form. It will open in a new tab or window.