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The Gilbert and Kathleen Wrenn Award for a Humanitarian and Caring Person honors an ACA member who gives to others without fanfare or expectation of reward other than the personal satisfaction of seeing other people made happier.

2023 Gilbert and Kathleen Wrenn Award Recipient

Keiko Sano

Background and Purpose

Dr. and Mrs. Wrenn created this award as a personal witness to their love and admiration for those who truly care for the welfare of others and who care about social issues and problems.


January 31, 2023 | 11:59pm ET 


Winners were notified the week of February 20, 2023


ACA Awards Committee


  • $1,000 honorarium
  • Complimentary registration for the 2023 ACA Conference and Expo (March 30-April 1, 2023), and recognition during event. Winners will receive further information at the time of award notification. 

Sponsor: Dr. and Mrs. Wrenn provided the initial funding for this award. The American Counseling Association Foundation provided subsequent funding.

Eligibility, Rules and Criteria

The thoughts and intentions of Dr. and Mrs. Wrenn in establishing the award are the principal guide in evaluating award nominations: “Caring is the action of the verb care—action, involvement, doing something about another’s or society’s troubles or problems. A humane and caring person becomes involved in what is happening to others for their sake. ‘To have concern for’ and ‘to be solicitous about’ are synonyms for ‘caring’ and, in a sense, caring means ‘the absence of indifference’ and implies ‘involuntary involvement’ in the welfare of someone else.

“Caring is communicating that you care by saying so, giving time and listening completely. It is rejoicing with another who is happy, as well as being fully with another who is troubled and, accordingly, fitting to the other’s mood. Caring is reinforcing another person. Being available fully, keeping promises and giving of one’s self without expectation of return. Caring is also empathizing with another while effecting a change in the other’s feelings or behavior, not merely expressing concern.

“A humane and caring person expresses concern for social injustices or a sordid situation in our society or the world’s society by throwing one’s self into the situation—time, thoughtful effort, money, exemplary behavior and true concern for change that will improve the lot of those who are starving, abused, imprisoned, discriminated against or powerless.

“The person selected should have evidenced concern about human beings in special ways through caring behavior, documented and generally recognized by peers. The award should typically, but not invariably, be for a person concerned with all humans and their joint welfare, as well as caring for another or others in a personal way. The person selected will have been observed in unselfish involvement over time in a cause or situation that benefits others, not self. The person selected will have been effective in communicating their caring.”

  • Nominations must come from an ACA member.
  • The awardee must be an ACA member.
  • An individual can only be nominated for one award per year.

Nomination Guidelines

The total submission package for this award cannot exceed 16 pages in length. All nomination materials must be combined into one document (all formats accepted), with the nomination letter first.

Nomination letter: In the letter, identify the nominee and the specific award. Explain why you believe the nominee should receive the award by responding to the specific criteria outlined in the nomination guidelines. Keep in mind that the awards reviewers are relying on the information you provide to choose the most deserving recipient for the award. Please address each nomination guideline and make sure your nominee meets the award criteria and requirements. Brevity, clarity and specificity are most important here.

In your nomination submission, take into account the Wrenns’ description of the criteria for the award and briefly:

  • Describe the actions, incident(s) or behavior that illustrates the nominee’s caring in a personal way.
  • Describe the actions or incident(s) that illustrate the nominee’s caring through social action.
  • Describe how the nominee has been unselfishly involved in efforts that benefit others rather than self.
  • Describe how the nominee effectively communicates his/her caring for others.

Supporting materials: Include a nominee biography and a maximum of two letters in support of the nomination from others familiar with the nominee and her or his accomplishments. If there are additional materials (news reports, journal articles, etc.) that you feel help support the nominee’s achievements, please include a copy of them. You may also include a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae (CV) or resume of no more than four pages, highlighting the nominee’s relevant accomplishments, if available. Keep in mind that the total submission cannot exceed 16 pages in length.

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